What are Company Secretary Courses?

Company Secretary Courses offered by the Institute of Company Secretaries of India or ICSI provide an opportunity for aspiring candidates to realise their dream of a lucrative career in the corporate world. Also, ICSI is the only recognised institute that offers CS courses in India.

An essential and a very important part of any corporate setup, qualified company secretaries are much sought after by public and private companies because of the specialised nature of the job. The role of a company secretary is multifarious in nature, with them acting variously as:

A legal expert in Company Law related matters.

A compliance officer on regulatory guidelines.

An advisor to the board of directors regarding the best corporate governance practices.

An executor of the decisions made by the Board of Directors regarding administrative and strategic management.

A record keeper of various statutory registers that should be maintained by the company.

An organiser of board meetings, annual general body meetings (AGMs), etc.

A liaison officer among the company management, major stakeholders and minority shareholders.

With so many responsibilities bestowed upon them, it comes as no wonder that company secretaries are one of the most highly paid professionals in the corporate sector as well as public sector undertakings and financial institutions. 

Skill Sets Required

Since a company secretary act as the backbone of the administrative setup of an organisation, s/he should have:

Absolute dedication to the profession

Expertise in all matters regarding the functioning of a company

Excellent organisational, interpersonal and analytical skills 

Mastery over the art of communication

A voracious desire to update his/her knowledge as per changing trends and rules that regulate the functioning of Companies

Job Prospects

As per Section 383A of the Companies Act 1956, any company with a paid-up share capital of more than INR 5 crores should employ a full-time company secretary and also any company seeking the listing on the stock exchange should do the same. A qualified company secretary is eligible for recruitment from Grade I to Grade IV in the accounts branch of the Indian Company Law Service (ICLS).

Also, any company with a paid-up capital of more than INR 10 lacs should engage the services of a company secretary as a full-time practice to obtain a compliance certificate. It is also the duty of company secretaries to appear on behalf of clients in various quasi-judicial authorities like tax tribunals and various company law boards

A company secretary can also work as a consultant in the corporate sector or financial institutions. Other jobs that can be taken up after completing company secretary courses in the corporate sector include:

Company Registrar

Chief Administrative Officer

Principal Secretary

Corporate Planner

Administrative Secretary

Capital Market Relations expert

The future growth prospects for company secretaries are also very robust with many making it up to the top of organisations by serving on the board of directors and also occupying the chair of the managing director and chairman.

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Company Secretary: Eligibility, Admission, Examination, Course Duration and Fee

Eligibility Criteria

Those aspiring to qualify as a company secretary have to undergo a rigorous training process consisting of three stages of company secretary courses spanning over three years. Also, a 15-month training program is mandatory to sharpen skills and gain necessary expertise in various institutions recognised by ICSI.

Of the three stages of company secretary courses, the Foundation Program can be undertaken by those who have passed grade 12 or any other equivalent exam other than fine arts. Students who have pursued commerce for graduation and passed with a minimum of 50 per cent marks are exempted from the Foundation course and can straight away enrol for the Executive Program.

Also, the candidates who have qualified the ICAI exam or ICWA exam are exempted from appearing for certain papers that make up the Executive Program.

The final stage is the Professional Program for which the candidate can enrol after graduation and the successful completion of the Executive Program.

Other important conditions regarding eligibility for company secretary courses state that a candidate should be a citizen of India and should have completed 17 years of age before registration for the Foundation course.

Admission Process

Candidates can enrol for company secretary courses throughout the year but examinations are conducted twice a year in the months of December and June. A candidate has to register with the institute before a cut-off date if s/he is planning to take the exam during either of the two months. 

The last date before which a candidate needs to apply is as follows:

For the Foundation Program of company secretary courses, it is the 31st March if one wants to appear for the exam in December, the same year, and 30th September for appearing for the exam in June, the next year.

For the Executive Program of company secretary courses, 28th February is the last date if one wants to appear in both modules in the month of December and 31st May for a single module in December. For appearing in June, the next year, 31st August is the cut-off date for appearing in both modules and 30th November for a single module.

More details regarding registration for Foundation, Executive and Professional programs of company secretary courses are available online on the ICSI website (www.icsi.edu).


The examination will be held twice a year for all three stages of company secretary courses. Though there is no cap on the number of attempts for the completion of Executive and Professional programs, the registration is valid only for a period of five years after which the candidate has to register again with ICSI to continue the CS courses.

The institute allows students to take the exam in English as well as Hindi except for Business Communication, which is a subject for the Foundation Program of company secretary courses.

A candidate is deemed to have successfully passed the Foundation/Executive/Professional Program examination if s/he secures a minimum of 40 percent marks in each paper at one go and an aggregate of 50 percent marks in all subjects put together.


The Foundation Program spans over a period of eight months and can be undertaken along with the undergraduate degree that a candidate is pursuing. The institute offers 30 lectures of 2 hours duration for each subject of the Foundation Program.

After the successful completion of the Foundation Program, the candidate has to wait for the completion of his degree course before enrolling in the Executive Program of company secretary courses. Once the candidate finishes graduation, s/he can pursue the Executive Program and take his exam in two modules or combine both the modules.

After the successful completion of the Executive Program, the candidate can appear for the Professional Program and again can take his exams in one go or in two modules.

There will be 35 lectures of 2 hours duration for each subject of Executive Program and 40 lectures of 2 hours duration for each subject of Professional Program of company secretary courses. Also, attendance at these lectures is mandatory. The candidate can attend the lectures in any of the recognised ICSI sub-centres.

Delivery Type

The course is two-pronged with a distance education mode wherein the institute offers the study materials and a full-time classroom mode where candidates have to attend certain hours of mandatory lectures.

Fee Structure

For the Foundation Program: INR 4500

For the Executive Program: INR 10000 for non-commerce students and INR 8500 for CS Foundation Program passed students.                                           

For the Professional Program: INR 12,000

Examination Fee

Foundation Program - INR 1200

Executive Program - INR 1200 per module

Professional Program - INR 1200 per module


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