NEBOSH International General Certificate in Occupational Health and Safety - FAQs for Learners

What’s changed and why?

Why has the syllabus been updated?

NEBOSH has reviewed the syllabus in line with the normal qualification development cycle. The syllabus content, following extensive research, has been updated to provide learners with the knowledge, skills and understanding required in the modern workplace.

We developed the syllabus following wide consultation with key stakeholders, including Learning Partners, employers, Trade Unions, standard setting organisations, past and present learners.

What are the timeframes?

The syllabus will be launched 30 September 2019 and will be assessed from 11 November 2019. The transitional timeframes are given in the table below. Launch date of new IG (October 2018 specification)

30 September 2019

First assessments for October 2018 specification from

11 November 2019

Last date that new learners can be registered to the November 2014 specification

29 February 2020

New learner registrations to October 2018 specification only from

1 March 2020

November 2014 specifications – registrations for existing learners only from

1 March 2020

Last assessment date for the November 2014 specification

31 March 2022

What are the differences between the November 2014 and October 2018 specifications?

The biggest changes to the specifications are:

• New style syllabus guide that has been designed specifically for you;

• The syllabus wording is easier to understand, more direct and less formal;

• We have separated the assessment criteria from the learning outcomes;

• We clearly set out what will be assessed by examination and by the practical;

• Reduction of 20 hours overall (see below table);

• There will no longer be any shared units between the NG and IG. Each qualification will be standalone;

• The content from the previous thirteen elements of Units NGC1 and GC2 has now been combined into eleven elements.


As the structure of the qualification has changed, there has been a change in the hours. The total qualification hours have decreased by 20. The November 2014 specification has a total qualification hours of 133.

A break-down of the recommended taught, self-study and assessment hours is given in the following table:





Has the grading structure for the qualification changed?

The grading has changed. A ‘Pass’ must be achieved in both units to achieve the International General Certificate in Occupational Health and Safety.

Unit IG1: 45 marks

Unit IG2: Pass or Refer

The qualification grade is based on the result from the Unit IG1 examination. Learners need to achieve a pass in both units (Units IG1 and IG2) before a parchment can be issued. Weighting will no longer be applied to results. The qualification grading boundaries are as follows:

Distinction: 75 marks or higher

Credit: 65 – 74 marks

Pass: 45 – 64 marks

Has the assessment structure of the 2018 specification changed?

Yes - there will only be one examination instead of two. The examination will only assess learning from elements 1-4. The questions will be written in a clear, accessible style with a ‘plain English’ check. There will be a risk assessment that will be marked by NEBOSH. It draws on the common workplace hazard topics in elements 5-11, as well as the process of risk assessment in element 3.

When is the first date that I can sit the October 2018 specification?

The official launch date of the new specification is the 30 September 2019. The first assessment dates are from11 November 2019.

Are qualifications gained under previous specifications of the NGC still valid?

All qualifications gained under former specifications of the National General Certificates are still valid; there are no expiry dates for NEBOSH qualifications.

What do the changes mean to me?

What is the structure of the revised IGC?

New learners taking their first assessments on or after the 11 November 2019 will still be required to take the following assessments:

• Unit IG1: Management of health and safety (two hour written examination)

• Unit IG2: Risk assessment and action plan (workplace based practical application).


What if I originally registered to sit the International General Certificate (November 2014 specification) and have not completed my overall qualification by 30 September 2019?

We will running the current IGC (November 2014 specification) and the new IG (October 2018 specification) side by side. Please see the key date’s table on page 1 for details of the last registration dates.

I am to sit my International General Certificate examinations for the first time from 11 November 2019. How does this affect me?

If you are registering for your first unit assessment it is likely that you will be registered to the October 2018 specification. If you have already taken one or more unit assessments you will remain on the existing November 2014 specification. We will not be transferring learners between the old and new qualifications. You will therefore remain on the November 2014 specification and can continue to sit assessments until 31 March 2022.

How do I know which specification I am studying?

If you are unsure please speak to your Learning Partner.

I have achieved unit/s from the November 2014 specification but need to take or resit unit/s to complete the qualification. What will happen in these circumstances?

Existing learners will be allowed to take assessments for the November 2014 specification up to and including 31 March 2022. This should allow existing learners time to complete their IGC qualification.

If I have already achieved one unit from the International General Certificate (November 2014 specification) will this still be valid?

Yes – Please see the key date’s table on page 1 for details on the last registration dates for the November 2014 specification. If you have not completed your qualification by this time, you will need to take both units of the revised October 2018 specification if you still want to obtain the IGC qualification.

Do these changes affect me if I have already achieved the International General Certificate?

No – your qualification continues to have the same status.

Can I use my successful IG2 unit towards the NGC?

No – In the new IG (October 2018 specification) there will no longer be any shared units between NG and IG. Each qualification will be standalone.

Can I take the assessments in a language other than English?

Examinations for this qualification will be offered in English only.

Transition arrangements

Can I take the 2018 specification assessments instead of the 2014 assessments?

Yes - but only if you have not already registered for an IGC (November 2014 specification) assessment. From launch we will running the current IGC and the new IG qualifications side by side. Learning partners will be able to deliver courses to both specifications. You will need to speak to your Learning Partner to tell them that you wish to study for and take the assessments from the October 2018 specification.

Can I take unit passes over from the November 2014 to the October 2018 specification?

No - we will not be transferring learners between the old and new qualifications. You will therefore remain on the November 2014 specification and can continue to sit assessments until 31 March 2022.

In the new IG (October 2018 specification) there will no longer be any shared units between NG and IG. Each qualification will be standalone.

We are exploring the possibility of allowing learners to use IG1 as an exemption against the Unit IGC1 unit of the ICC or IFC qualifications. We will provide an update in the next few months once we have heard from SQA Accreditation (our qualifications regulator).

Fees / costs

Are the unit registration fees changing?

There has been a change to the registration fee structure. The fees are: Cost

Unit IG1 – Question Paper


Unit IG2 – Practical Part 1


Total for 2 units



Qualification level and recognition

Will the October 2018 specification of the International General Certificate be accredited by SQA?

The NEBOSH International General Certificate is accredited and credit rated by the Scottish Qualifications Authority (SQA - for delivery across the UK. It is rated within the Scottish Credit and Qualifications Framework (SCQF - at SCQF Level 6 with 11 SCQF credit points.

In England the comparable to this is a Vocationally-Related Qualification (VRQ) at level 3 within the National Qualifications Framework (NQF) and Qualifications and Credit Framework (QCF), or an A-Level standard.

Will learners still be eligible for professional membership?

Professional bodies (such as IOSH) will continue to recognise the current specification of the National General Certificate for membership. IOSH have also confirmed that the 2018 specification will also be accepted for Associate or Technical membership.

If you require further information please contact NEBOSH’s Customer Experience Team on +44 (0)116 263 4700 or via email at