Qualified Practitioner Route to STEP Membership

A research and thesis-based route to membership for trust and estate practitioners who have established themselves in their field.
  • This route allows experienced practitioners to demonstrate their knowledge through the submission of three essays of approximately 5000 words in length.
  • Essays will be based on topics that are published annually on the STEP website.
  • Upon successful completion of the QP route, candidates are eligible to apply for Full Membership, which includes the right to use the TEP designation.

Note to applicants: Please ensure you have read the QP route’s important documents before submitting your papers

What are the entry requirements?

Candidates must have either:

  • A recognised professional qualification or vocational degree, and five years' post-qualification industry experience;
  • Ten years' industry experience.

How do I apply?

Complete and submit the Application Form (PDF 242KB)

View our Recognised Qualifications (PDF 64KB) 

Please note that this is not a comprehensive list, if your jurisdiction is not listed, please contact the STEP Office

What is the process once I have been accepted for the QP route?

  • Make sure you are familiar with the QP Rules and Regulations, (PDF 886KB)
  • Select your topic from the published list, complete the Topic Registration Form and send this back to STEP with appropriate payment.
  • Write your paper(s), using the Student Guidance (PDF 272KB) and other resources as aids. Submit to the STEP Office by the relevant deadline.
  • Each submission will need to include a Cover Sheet (PDF 272KB) and a reflective log attached to your papers. Submissions that do not follow these guidelines will not be accepted.
  • Once you have passed all three papers you should then upgrade to Full Membership.

What are the topics?

Full list of topics are available on the QP Topics Page


There are two submission deadlines per year and applications are accepted throughout the year.

July Submission


October Submission


Topics Available

23 January

Topics Available

23 January

Registration Deadline

21 April

Registration Deadline

21 July

Submission Deadline

7 July

Submission Deadline

6 October


30 October


15 January 2018

How much will it cost?

Please send payment with your application to cover both the QP application fee and the annual affiliate membership fee.

A Registration Fee is payable when you submit your Topic Registration Form 

View details of our Fees

Reflective logs

QP students should keep a reflective log, or research diary, while researching and writing essays and these should be included when essays are submitted.

Students can choose the format that they are most comfortable with, but reflective logs should be anonymous and should only have a student number on them.  They should be typed and between 400 and 600 words only.

The inclusion of a reflective log represents good practice in professional development, particularly for Masters level qualifications, and is used to encourage students to critically evaluate their own research practice. A reflective log can be included as evidence of CPD for the year in which a QP student becomes a full TEP.

What should I write in a reflective log?

Reflective logs can be both an easy way of keeping track of the sources that you found and an opportunity for you to think about the theory you are discussing in your essay, how you apply that knowledge in practice and whether you could or would change anything in future.

As an experienced practitioner, you will have accrued years of knowledge through working with a variety of clients to find solutions, but it is rare for practitioners to take the time to reflect on what they have learned or to regularly reassess the full set of solutions available. The writing process encourages some creative thinking and allows you to assess your work from a different perspective.

Some suggested questions for you to consider are:

  •    What was my reasoning for choosing this essay question?
  •    How have I planned my response to the essay question?
  •    Have I had to reassess or change my essay plan in the light of information that I uncovered in my research? Has this also changed how I might approach my work with clients?
  •    What would I do differently if I was to start the process of writing this essay afresh?
  •    What have I learnt while researching for this essay?
  •    How has my thinking changed?

Help and advice

If you have any queries and would like to speak to someone you can either call or email:

Tel :+44(0)20 3752 3700
Email: step@step.org

Important documents

Useful Resources