Criteria guidelines for Fellowship (Armed Forces)

Guidelines on the election of Fellows for candidates serving in the Armed Forces.

Criteria for election to Fellowship

Members of the Armed Forces can apply for Fellowship under any of the published criteria.

The criteria for election to Fellowship are based on demonstration of ‘sustained high level of achievement’ over a period of five years. Candidates need not be Registered Engineers. They should be able to show that their areas of sustained achievement are linked to the scope of the Institution.

For candidates planning to use Criterion one (Leadership) or Criterion two (Responsibility) to present evidence in support of their submission, the following guidance may help in deciding whether their experience at different ranks in the Service is at sufficient level (and duration) to meet the expectations of IET Fellowship.

All substantive appointments to commissioned or Senior NCO ranks recognise proven ability to operate continuously at a high level of performance. There is also a well established equivalence between ranks in the three Services, and it is to be expected that carrying a particular rank in the appropriate field will provide good guidance for the appointment of Fellows. However, whilst it is legitimate and wise to use substantive rank as an important element in the assessment, commercial management techniques are increasingly being used in the armed services and, in some cases, this may result in enhanced responsibility.

At the rank of Captain, Colonel and Group Captain, the ability to operate at a sustained level of performance that merits Fellowship will normally have been well proved, and so any need to demonstrate the full five years might be relaxed, especially in the case where the candidate has superior responsibility for a period in the preceding rank.

At the rank of Commander, Lieutenant Colonel and Wing Commander, normally it would be necessary for candidates to demonstrate that they have operated for five years at a level of superior responsibility. This is likely to mean demonstrating that appropriate sustained level of performance meriting Fellowship has been evident during more than one posting.

For Junior Officer and Senior NCO ranks, while it will be unusual to be able to demonstrate that the level of performance required for Fellowship has been sustained over an acceptable period, there may be exceptional circumstances.

As with all applications, each case will be assessed on its individual merits and, as there are nine Criteria against which candidates can present evidence, Armed Forces can choose any (but preferably not more than two) for which their evidence is strongest.


You will need to provide two referees who are able to confirm you meet all the criteria for Fellowship.

Each of your referees are required to complete a reference form (included in the Fellow application pack) indicating, in the space provided, the category or categories from the full list of criteria that they consider demonstrates your suitability for Fellowship of the IET. Should your referees consider you do not meet any of the criteria above but have another reason to justify the award of Fellowship of the IET, they should provide full details.

Related links:

Who qualifies as a referee?

Apply for Fellowship

Download a Fellow application form

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