Accreditation | Qualifications

RCO Qualifications (Certificate)

The RCO Certificate of Accredited Membership (CAM) is an early-level certificate scheme designed to establish and strengthen fundamental skills and musicianship at the organ.

CAM offers the organist a developmental route from the foundation stage (equivalent to around ABRSM/TCL Grade 2) via the intermediate stage (around Grade 4) to the advanced stage (around Grade 6). Each stage of the CAM scheme requests the performance of three solo pieces and asks the player to demonstrate knowledge and understanding of the repertoire performed through supporting programme notes. Stages 2 and 3 also request the performance of an accompaniment.

The CAM scheme is part of the RCO’s Personal and Professional Development (PPD) programme and has the following advantages:

Click on the following links to learn more about CAM and how you can follow the scheme:   

CAM, Requirements Stages 1–3
CAM, General Regulations
CAM, Repertoire Ideas Stages 1–3
CAM, Assessment Criteria Stages 1–3
CAM, Application Form 
Guidelines on Submitting AV and Digitised Material for Assessment
Authentication Form for Submitting Material for Assessment


Figures in brackets give the rates for students.

There are three options for the assessment of the Practical Module (Solo Pieces and Accompaniment, per Stage): 

Assessment by audio-visual submission £63 (£49)
Assessment at an RCO examination centre £99 (£80)
Assessment at a site of the candidate’s choosing £120 (£99)*

*Subject to feasibility. This option will be discussed with the candidate.

Assessment of the Supporting Portfolio (per Stage):

£40 (£28)


Various types of support suitable for CAM may be found through the RCO website:

RCO Qualifications (Diplomas)

Coronavirus / Covid-19 Updates: the College continues to monitor and comply with all Government guidelines in the scheduling of our examination sessions. In addition, we are committed to ensuring that the revised arrangements we are required to put in place do not disadvantage any individual candidate. We will continue to contact candidates directly whenever there is an update, but the latest announcements can also be found on our news page (please click to visit).

The five College diplomas are detailed below, with a link at the end of each paragraph to enable you do download a copy of the current regulations for that examination.

Click here for the complete Diploma Examination Regulations: July 2021 to January 2022.

The College will maintain Interim Regulations for Winter 2022 in order to allow for Practical Examinations to proceed by remote assessment (entailing audio-visual submission) and Written Paper Examinations to proceed as open-book assessments (entailing the submission of scanned files of worked papers). Some in-person examining will be possible for organ pieces only (i.e. not tests) at the London centre. This is optional, and a request can be made during the online application process.     

The Interim Regulations should be read in conjunction with the document Diploma Examination Regulations: July 2021 to January 2022. Note that the schedules announced in the Interim Regulations are final and supersede timetables published in the above-mentioned Diploma Examination Regulations.

Here are the Interim Regulations with the associated protocols instructing candidates on how to submit materials for assessment:

Interim Regulations for Practical Examinations by Remote Assessment (Winter 2022)

Protocol for AV Submission of Diploma Practical Examinations

Interim Regulations for Written Papers by the Open-Book Method (Winter 2022)

Protocol for Digital Submission of Diploma Written Papers

The relevant declaration forms will be sent to candidates once an application to sit an examination has been made.

Click here for the complete Diploma Examination Regulations: July 2022 to January 2023.

Colleague (CRCO)

The award of the Colleague indicates a standard of reliable and confident musicianship in public performance. It also indicates confidence in basic keyboard skills, most of which are invaluable in a liturgical context, and proficiency in those aural and written skills (fundamental musical grammar and knowledge of repertoire) which support practical musicianship. The Colleague is aimed at the amateur player with some experience of playing in public and at the developing student. Read more.

Associateship Diploma (ARCO)

Associateship of the College indicates a standard of professional competency in organ playing technique, essential keyboard skills and interpretative understanding. It also indicates accuracy in aural perception and fluency in those written disciplines (standard stylistic techniques and analysis of performance and historical issues in relation to organ repertoire) which support practical musicianship. Read more.

Click here for additional guidance. Specimen material for the revised ARCO is available in the Purchase Past Papers area of this site.

Fellowship Diploma (FRCO)

Fellowship of the College indicates a standard of professional expertise in organ playing technique, advanced keyboard skills, and interpretative understanding, which at this level will be stylistically well informed. It also indicates accuracy in advanced aural perception, and accomplishment in those written disciplines (advanced stylistic techniques and analysis of performance and historical issues in relation to organ repertoire and its broader musical context) which support practical musicianship. Read more.

As a substitute for one of the works included in Lists B, C, and D, candidates may choose a work relating to either the current set work(s) or historical period (questions 3 and 4 of FRCO Written Paper II respectively). Bach may not be selected when either the set works or the historical period focuses on this composer or his period. Transcriptions will be not be accepted.

If selected as an option, the onus will be on the candidate to choose appropriately for the examination. Examiners will take into account the technical and interpretative suitability of the free-choice work for a programme assessed at this level. Candidates are reminded of the marking criteria under ‘FRCO programme Planning and Stylistic Projection’ on p. 23 of the Diploma Regulations. Three photocopies of the score of the free-choice work must be provided for the use of the examiners. They will be retained by the examiners and then destroyed after the examination.

Click here for additional guidance. Specimen material for the revised FRCO is available in the Purchase Past Papers area of this site.  

Choral Directing Diploma (DipCHD)

The award of the Diploma in Choral Directing indicates a standard of professional expertise in choral conducting technique, rehearsal and interpretation. It also indicates accomplishment in those written disciplines (advanced stylistic techniques and extended choral arrangement) which support practical musicianship, as well as an extensive knowledge of the choral repertoire, and a thorough understanding of vocal and choral technique, and of the administrative and psychological management of singers and choirs. Read more.

Licentiateship in Teaching (LTRCO)

Licentiateship of the College indicates a standard of professional expertise in teaching the organ to students at elementary, intermediate and more advanced levels. It indicates a reflective and methodical approach to the practice of teaching, and shows clarity of purpose in the setting of study objectives, the planning of lessons, the development of technique and the encouragement of musicality. An understanding of student needs, aspirations and learning patterns will be demonstrated, as will competence in those administrative skills needed to organise a teaching practice. Read more.

Assessment Criteria (Diplomas)

For the criteria used by examiners click here.

Examiners' Instructions (Diplomas)

For the Examiners' Instructions (2016) click here.

Academic Dress, Presentation and Prizes (Diplomas)

For details of academic dress, diploma presentation and examination prizes click here.