ICSA for law graduates

Currently I am completing my ICSA degree. It is a professional degree qualification, for company secretaries. Meaning that upon completing you will have a convocation, to mark the completion. It saddens me that not many know about this programme. In fact, they will give me a strange look when I told them that I am doing my ICSA.

Taken from Brickfields Asia College website, on ICSA:

The Institute of Chartered Secretaries and Administrators (ICSA) is the leading recognised professional body for Chartered Secretaries and Administrators in the United Kingdom and throughout the world.

As I had mentioned before, ICSA is a professional degree qualification for company secretaries. And mind you, company secretaries are not Personal Assistants (PA). ICSA stands for Institute for Chartered Secretaries and Administrators. In Malaysia, it is governed by the MAICSA, you can visit their website http://www.maicsa.org.my/. The 'ma' stands for Malaysian Association. They have a building located near Mid Valley. So it is like killing two birds with one stone hahaha. If you ever drop by at MAICSA building you can also treat yourself with shopping sprees! This is the address:

Bangunan MAICSA, No. 57, The Boulevard,, Lingkaran Syed Putra, Kuala Lumpur, 59200 WP Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

Since it is a professional degree, it means that this qualification is recognize worldwide. There are foreigners who complete their ICSA here in Malaysia because of the fees. 

The Companies Act requires that every company MUST HAVE at least one company secretary. In fact, in a recent visit to the Companies Commission of Malaysia, I tried to ask for a few forms in order to incorporate a company. The receptionist refused to give me any of it, he said that the forms can only be given to company secretaries. So since I had only passed 4 papers for the programme, I am not qualified hahaha. So you see, that is how important company secretaries are.

I have to thank my colleague for introducing this programme to me. Back then, I hate Company Law, literally hate it! For all the ten years of service as a lecturer I only taught Company Law once. And Mr H would laugh at me because the night before I had class, I would study and burn the midnight oil. Books, statutes and notes flying here and there. 15 minutes before the class, I would sweat and the mood swing would kick in. Mr H knows by then not to engage me in any conversation hahaha. You see, Mr H is an expert in Company Law, he has been teaching it for many semesters, so it is a breeze for him. I always try to avoid taking this subject, so the one time I had to take it, I really had no choice. 

My colleague told me about the ICSA programme and she is a graduate. I became interested, mainly because I am quite bored with the same subjects to teach every semester. So since I also want to widen my knowledge, I asked myself 'Why not?' The first step I did was to teach Corporate Law, which is an advanced subject of Company Law. Yup, advanced! For Corporate Admin students. You can see that I turned all white before going to class, because I am not confident teaching the subject. But let me tell you, it helps me a lot in dealing with the ICSA subjects. So the first thing you have to do before embarking on the ICSA programme is to revise on Company Law or Corporate Law and you will be fine. Seriously!

There are 16 papers altogether in the programme. OK, for law graduates , we are given exemptions for few papers. Therefore, the papers that we have to take are these:

Fast Track Route For Law Graduates

Law Graduates enjoy 10 exemptions and only have to complete 2 subjects by CPE assignment & 4 subjects by examination

2 subjects by assignment

Malaysian Taxation
Financial Accounting

4 subjects by examination

Corporate Governance
Corporate Administration
Corporate Financial Management
Corporate Secretaryship

So, for Malaysian Taxation and Financial Accounting, you just have to attend the seminars, submit the assignment given. Your assignment will be marked and result will be released. It is always easier to complete an assignment rather than sitting for exams right? The seminars for each paper are usually held in 2 weekends, 9-6. Meaning for Malaysian Taxation, there will be 2 weekends seminar, and for Financial Accounting, there will be 2 weekends seminar. You have to attend all these seminars because attendance will be taken. If you don't attend, it will be considered as incomplete, even if you submit the assignment given. At the end of the seminar, you will be given an assignment to submit, usually within 2 weeks time. I had attended the seminars and submitted the assignments for both papers, Alhamdulillah! 
*Note that you can also choose to sit for exam for these two papers if you feel that you can not attend the seminars. For me, assignments are always better than exams, hohoho.

Now where do you attend these seminars? You can choose from the list of Colleges approved by MAICSA. Here, this is the link. Check it out!

*Note that UiTM does not provide seminars for both of these subjects, but provide classes for the 4 subjects by examination.

I attended the seminars in Brickfields Asia College because the timetable suits me. The lecturers there are highly qualified too.

For the other 4 subjects, it is not a requirement for you to attend classes. You can complete it by self-study, as long as you sit for the exams. The exams are usually held twice a year, in June and December. So you just have to plan your timetable.

***It is therefore advisable for you to register near the time when you plan to take the exam. Because the fee is for one year. By registering earlier than the exam date, you are wasting the time span. 

I did not attend any classes when I sat for my Corporate Governance paper due to constraint of time. It is purely on self-study, well if you can say that I study, at all! hahaha. Mr H was angry at me because I only leafed through the pages of my notes 4 days before exam. However, he had to take back his words because I passed the paper with Merit! Hahaha! Alhamdulillah! I told you that revising Company Law/ Corporate Law helps me a lot with this programme. One more thing, after you are registered as MAICSA student, you will be given access to the past years papers, notes and video by the lecturers. Study on these!!!

I recently took the Corporate Secretaryship paper in December 2015. The same time Mr H was admitted to the hospital because of dengue. For this paper, I decided to attend classes. I attended classes in TARC because the timetable suits me. It is held every Saturday, 9 to 1 for 10 times. The lecturer is also a retired company secretary and he has so many real life experiences to share with us. The result is scheduled to be released somewhere in February. Please pray for me!

So, if you are serious about completing this programme, you have to go to MAICSA first and get some information from their staffs. You have to register as a student of MAICSA. After that, you will be given a student number and with that student number you can now proceed to register the seminars or classes, whichever you plan to do first at whichever college you want to. After you had register, you will have to complete all the six subjects in 5 years time. Or your student status will be withdrawn by MAICSA. Well, that is a very long time, I must say. I am sure that all of us can complete it within the stipulated time. InsyaAllah.

For the fees, I am not actually sure because I did not pay it lumpsum, because I am taking the subjects one by one. I think you have to set aside approximately RM 5, 000 for the whole programme. The good news is that you can also withdraw your EPF to cover the fees. That is what I did. You can withdraw from Account no 2. The MAICSA officer can guide you through this. I had experience in withdrawing my EPF fund from Account no 2 in KWSP Shah Alam. The staffs there are friendly and supportive.                                   

*Note that you have to pay separate fees to MAICSA and to the colleges you are registered at. Fees to MAICSA is for being a student and also for the examinations. Fees to the colleges is for the seminars and classes you want to attend.

Just sharing the salary range:

If you need further explanation on this, just drop me a comment here. I will try my best to help you on this. I hope that my explanation can help you to kick start something for yourself, for the year of 2016! Good luck!!!


  1. Hi

    Nak tanya, kalau saya ada Diploma in Accountancy bolehkah mendaftar under MAICSA course PDCA ?

  2. Kalau baca info ni, rasanya boleh.


    Tapi kalau nak confirmkan better pergi ke pejabat MAICSA di Mid Valley tu.

  3. Hi, I have been thinking about getting this professional certification, as throughout most of my working life, I have been dealing most with Company Secretariat matters. But the thing is I am from Sarawak. Kinda bit inconvenient to fly to and fro KL-KCH.

    1. Hi,
      Maybe you can use the self study mode, that way you only have to come to KL for exams.

    2. kuching has a MAICSA liaison office located at Taman Sri Sarawak Mall.

  4. Assalammualaikum Puan Zieda,

    Your posts are all inspiring and I love reading them.

    I was previously a litigation lawyer before I decided to cease practice couple of months ago.

    I am currently on job-hunting mode for in-house position and today I have registered/submitted my form at SSM, applying for a company secretary license.

    I have tried to do some research on the difference between ICSA license and SSM license but I am still lost. Hopefully Puan can assist me on this.

    Thank you so much.

    All the best~!


  5. Hi, I am curious as to whether you will get a student number from bac when you register with them, I just paid for the fees recently but all I got is only a receipt, nothing more. And will they provide you all the study materials when you start attending the taxation class?

    1. I do get a student ID. You need to ask for it. They are not that keen to print it for you because you will not be a student that long there. Study materials are all provided by BAC. You only have to bring yourself, hehehe. You don't even have to bring the notes provided in MAICSA website.

  6. Hi there, thanks for sharing about ur experience on ICSA.

    can i ask u more about ICSA ? For Examination part, we have to take 4 subjects for exam. But can we take the 4 subjects separately within a year ? for eg. 2 subject on June 2 subject on Dec. or 3 subjects on June 1 subject on Dec ?

    secondly, if above apply. can we choose which subjects to take first for exam (among 4 subjects) on June and the rest on Dec ?

    Thanks =)

    1. Hi sorry i missed this comment. Truly sorry.

      Yes, the rule is that once you registered, you have 5 years to complete your ICSA programme and it doesn't matter which subjects you are going to take first. In fact you can take all 4 subjects at once, during one exam session if you are confident, :) There is also no rule on which subjects to take first. As long as you can complete in 5 years time.

  7. Salam, hi Zieda. Sy nak tanya, kalau sy ex student Diploma in Office Management & Degree in Office Systems Tech from UiTM. Sy boleh cuba register utk ICSA tak ? Thank you 😊

    1. Wslm, saya rasa boleh. Cuma pelepasan 10 - 12 subjects diberikan kalau ada Degree. Kalau ada Diploma mungkin pelepasan subjects kurang dari jumlah di atas. Jadi kena ambil banyak subjects lebih dari Degree holder. Tapi tak ada masalah untuk Diploma holder apply buat ICSA.

  8. Hi, can you share more on the procedure for EPF withdrawal and what are the items you can claim from EPF? Thanks!

  9. Hi, I want to do ICSA programme as well, can you share more on the procedure for epf withdrawals and what are the items that you have claimed?


    1. Hi Erica, well come on board :)
      However, I have to tell you that I do not have much experience in withdrawing EPF money for the EPF. I had only withdrawn once for the registration and since then I use my savings for the classes I took and also the exam fees.

    2. ICSA Programmes not registered with MQA. EPF office gave me a No several times.

    3. Dear Zieda & Erica,

      I wish to know about EPF withdrawals for ICSA? my 1st time was using my EPF withdrawal for my EMBA at Asia E University. In regards to payment to ICSA. met EPF officers twice and still a "NO". Apparently, MAICSA or ICSA not registered with Malaysia Qualification Agency. please share with me how you withdraw. TQ.

  10. Hi there. I am a degree holder majoring in hospitality. Is it possible for me to do the ICSA programme?

  11. Hi. I am a degree holder majoring in hospitality. Is it possible for me to do the ICSA programme?

    1. Yes sure, but you should talk to MAICSA on how many papers are exempted.

  12. Stumbled upon your blog on MAICSA when I was searching for comments on it. May I know is there any time frame to complete the Professional Part 1 - CPE Assignment? What if I am pregnant now? Will it affect me to pursue the MAICSA study?

  13. Hi.. Nk tny.. Kalau nak apply icsa program ni perlu mendapakan recommendation drpd majikan ke? Terima kasih.

  14. Boleh juga ambil MBA in corporate governance di puta business school upm. Program ni jv dgn maicsa. Bila grad mba, qualification icsa from maicsa pun dpt sekali. Any field boleh. Cumanya non law, acc or any degree yg mereka listed kena hadir special course. Mcm dkt pbs kalau ramai yg degree tidak dpt pengecualian kursus tu, mereka boleh arrange course tu. Boleh rujuk PBS dan maicsa untuk maklumat lanjut. ��

  15. Hi,

    I baru nak sit for ICSA. How long did you complete all 4 papers ye? And boleh tak you recommend which subjects yg boleh boleh study in one seating. I am planning untuk ambil 2 paper per seating.

  16. Hi. Currently im taking degree in corporate admin. Do u think taking icsa straight after completing my degree is a good move? Were u still working when u took it?

  17. Hi nak tanya, jadi icsa graduate skrg masih relevant ke. Saya law graduate, nak amik icsa course ni nak add value kat CV to work in bank. Do u think it helps?