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The Society currently has three categories of membership which are: Member, Student and Fellow, as well as Life Member/Fellow, plus two elected honorary fellowship categories (Honorary Fellow and Honorary Life Fellow), and Emeritus Fellowship which is in the gift of Council. Lists of those who have received the award of Honorary Fellow and Honorary Life Fellow are given here.The Society is also a body licensed to award Chartered Scientist (CSci) status. The membership for many years has been of predominantly academic members. In fact probably 95% of members are from academic institutions.
Bye-Law 4 states that, "Every candidate (except students) for Membership shall be proposed by two Fellows or Members, one at least of whom shall have personal knowledge of the candidate." Candidates are asked to list their qualifications on the application form. So, in practice, new candidates are effectively peer reviewed by their colleagues who sign the form, and by the Trustees of the Society (the Council) who view and approve the application forms of all new members at Council Meetings.
Students are welcome to join and will receive generously subsidized benefits. The first year of membership is free of charge. (APPLICANTS FOR FREE MEMBERSHIP MUST APPLY BY THE END OF THE CALENDAR YEAR PRIOR TO THE YEAR OF INTENDED MEMBERSHIP. A MAXIMUM OF 150 FREE MEMBERS IS ALLOWED IN ANY ONE YEAR.)
The F.Min.Soc. designation denotes the senior members of the Society. Bye-Law 5 states that, "Members may choose to become ‘Fellows’ if they have the necessary qualifications to be given chartered status in terms defined by the Science Council (UK). Candidates for fellowship agree to abide by the Society's Code of Conduct, must provide evidence of graduate status, and have appropriate professional experience and continuing professional development and must be supported by two sponsors who are Fellows of the Society or have the equivalent of chartered status. This is the Society's senior professional membership category, and those elected to Fellowship may use the abbreviation ‘F.Min.Soc.’". The revised form of this category of membership was established in 2005. Fellows are entitled to apply for Chartered Scientist Status.
According to Bye-law 6(d) Fellows/Members who have paid forty annual subscriptions as Fellows or Members, excluding any paid at a reduced rate before reaching the age of 60, are exempt from further annual subscriptions and become Life Fellows/Members of the Society.
Fellows of the Society are entitled to apply for Chartered Scientist (CSci) status. Members with appropriate qualifications are entitled to apply for both at the same time.
This is the Society’s way of honouring eminent overseas scientists in our field. Up to 20 Honorary Fellows are elected by the Society’s council. These are lifetime appointments.
Honorary Life Fellows
Up to 10 members of the Society may be elected Honorary Life Fellows in recognition of their exceptional contribution to the furtherance of the aims of the Society. Presently there are five Honorary Life Fellows. This category of membership was introduced in 1993.
It will be in the gift of Council to decide whether a member should be granted Emeritus Fellowship. The member in question must have belonged to the Society for a period of no less than 25 years to qualify. Emeritus Fellows will not be eligible for election to the Council but would be entitled to vote in regular elections and at AGMs. Emeritus Fellows will be invited to make contributions to Society activities each year, e.g. the bursary fund.