Qualifications - Diplomas

Accreditation | RCO Diplomas

The College's diplomas remain as highly prized today as they were more than a century ago, not least because they continue to demand the combination of technical and interpretative skill with stylistic, analytical and historical understanding that marks out the truly accomplished musician.

Examination Year 2024-2025: CRCO, ARCO, and FRCO Diplomas

The organ diploma examinations in the Examination Year 2024-2025 (Summer 2024 and Winter 2025) will be held according to the general and diploma-specific regulations listed here. Assessment criteria are also downloadable in this section for Examination Year 2024-2025. 

RCO Diplomas, General Regulations, Summer 2024 and Winter 2025

Diploma of Colleague (CRCO), 2024-2025

Diploma of Associate (ARCO), 2024-2025

Diploma of Fellow (FRCO), 2024-2025

RCO Diplomas, Assessment Criteria, Summer 2024 and Winter 2025

Candidates aiming to sit all or part of their chosen diploma in either Summer 2024 or Winter 2025 are asked to note the following:

  1. There are two sections to each diploma: the Practical Examination (comprising two parts: Organ Performance and Keyboard Skills Portfolio) and the Written Paper(s).
  2. The regulations for each diploma outline some revisions to the handling of sectional entries and exemptions.
  3. The Organ Performance parts of the Practical Examinations have varying regulations concerning in-person examination at an RCO examination centre and remote assessment through audio-visual submission.
  4. There are no changes to the repertoire lists in the Organ Performance parts of the Practical Examinations. The lists introduced in 2020 remain in place until further notice.
  5. At FRCO, the Organ Performance part comprises two components: Recital and a new Quick Study task. Specimen material for the Quick Study is available in the Examinations Resources menu on the Resources & Support webpage (log-in required). The Quick Study component replaces the Programme Planning and Stylistic Projection component and mark.
  6. At all diploma levels, the Keyboard Skills Portfolio (previously Keyboard Skills Tests) sees some amendments to the regulations and to the type of material set. At CRCO, a new test has been introduced (Score Reading in three parts) and the option choices and mark schemes in that diploma have been revised accordingly. Specimen papers for the Keyboard Skills Portfolio at all diploma levels from Summer 2024 are available in the Purchase Past Papers area of the Members’ Area of the RCO website (log-in required). The Keyboard Skills Portfolio part of the Practical Examination is by audio-visual submission only at ALL diploma levels.
  7. There are no substantive changes to the Written Papers, though regulations and types of material in use since Winter 2021 under interim and varied measures have now been consolidated for future sessions. All the written paper materials available in the Purchase Past Papers area of the Members’ Area (log-in required) remain relevant, and of particular use are the papers set from Winter 2021. Guidance sheets are available in the Examinations Resources menu on the Resources & Support webpage (log-in required). The Written Paper(s) section of the diploma examination is by digital submission only at ALL diploma levels.

Examination Year 2024-2025: DipCHD and LTRCO Diplomas

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.