Frequently Asked Questions

1. General information about the Professional Diplomas

Q: Who are the Professional Diploma programmes for?
A: The professional diplomas,as the name suggest are designed to recognise expertise in people who are already working in the creative arts industries. They provide recognition for high level achievement in either performance, teaching, or creative enterprise.
Note that it is not a requirement for candidates to be active in the music or performing arts industries, just that the level of performance expected is commensurate with this. The practical and vocational nature of the qualifications is intended to enable candidates to use their real-world professional practice when preparing their assessment submissions, where it is possible and feasible for them to do so.
Q: How do I join the Diploma programme?
A: Visit our online entry section and complete your entry online.

Please note however that RSL Professional Diplomas are externally assessed and are not taught by RSL in the form of a course. It is recommended candidates contact a suitable trainer or mentor who can provide them with opportunities for learning and practical application of skills.
Q: How much do the Diplomas cost?
A: The price of a Diploma varies depending on which level the candidate is taking. View all fees.
Q: Are there any entry requirements?
A: There are no entry requirements for these qualifications. However, candidates should be aware that there will be an expectation of technical knowledge and understanding covered in previous qualifications.

Applicants for the Teaching pathway must be 18 years of age or older at the time of certification, and must send a scanned copy of their birth certificate/passport/other proof of date of birth with their entry. Applicants under 18 years of age choosing the Performance or Creative Enterprise pathways may choose elective units from the teaching pathway, so long as there are no legal restrictions or safeguarding implications, for example the need to have obtained a Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) check if they are unable to do so.

It is recommended however that candidates have some experience of teaching theory and practice prior to taking units with a teaching and learning focus as these units will require evidence of the candidate’s teaching practice.
Q: What prior learning do I need to take a Professional Diploma?
A: Learners are not required to have any recognised prior learning for these qualifications. However, learners should ensure that they are aware of the requirements and expectations of the qualifications before entering for an assessment.
Q: Do I need a Level 4 Professional Diploma in order to take a Level 6 Professional Diploma?
A: No, but the qualifications are designed to progress from Level 4 to 6, meaning that it may be more suitable to undertake Level 4 before moving onto Level 6.
Q: What is the standard of the Professional Diplomas? What other qualifications are they equivalent to?
A: The descriptions ‘Level 4’ and ‘Level 6’ refer to the UK education and qualifications framework. Level 4 is equivalent to the first year of an undergraduate degree and Level 6 is equivalent to the final year of an undergraduate degree.

Although this gives an indication of the level of demand (difficulty or standard) of the qualifications, it should be noted that they are not the equivalent of a full degree. This is to do with the size of the qualification (expressed as ‘credits’) rather than the level. A year of full-time study typically carries 120 credits whereas each of RSL’s diplomas is worth 40 credits (so roughly equivalent to one term of study).

Candidates should note that there is a clear differentiation in expectations of standard between Level 4 and Level 6. For the national standards, please see Ofqual’s level descriptors here (scroll down to ‘Level requirements (including level descriptors)’).

Candidates taking performance-based units should note that the standard of performance expected is equivalent to the level of the diploma being taken and should therefore exceed Grade 8 standard which is Level 3.
Q: What external recognition do the Professional Diplomas have?
A: RSL’s Professional Diplomas are regulated by the qualifications regulators in England, Wales and Northern Ireland. They do not confer a license to practice or qualified teacher status.

They may be considered as Approved Prior Learning (APL) by institutions offering courses of study at Level 4 and above.
Q: Are there any provisions for candidates with special educational needs and disabilities?
A: Yes. All assessments are designed for candidates to complete the required standards in the ways that suit their individual learning styles. Candidates can tell us any specific adjustments needed by emailing us at regarding special considerations and we will do everything we can to make the qualification as accessible as possible. View all of our Policies and Regulations relating to this area.
Q: What equipment do I need to take the Professional Diplomas?
A: This depends on your choice of pathway and optional units. Please look at the content of the assessment in order to understand the specific requirements for each unit.
Q: I'm based outside of the UK – can I take a Professional Diploma?
A: Yes, all assessment is based around submission of evidence to our bespoke online entry system. This can be accessed anywhere in the world.
Q: Is there any expiry date for the current Professional Diploma syllabus??
A: No. Current specifications are valid until further notice. For any substantive change in syllabus, there will be a crossover period of at least 1 year after the new syllabus is launched, when the old syllabus will remain valid.

2. After registration and preparing for a submission

Q: Do I need to approve the repertoire I want to use in my submission
A: All repertoire should be agreed at least 6 weeks in advance of the submission of the video with RSL. Chosen repertoire will be checked to ensure that it is comparable to the standard of the indicative repertoire lists and approval will be given once this check is complete.

You must submit complete programmes and may send in only one complete programme for approval at any time. We are unable to consider approval of individual pieces. RSL will aim to approve programmes within 15 working days. If RSL is unable to approve programmes within this time you will be notified accordingly.

If the proposed repertoire is agreed, RSL will issue a permission statement, which will remain valid for six months. You should submit the evidence for this unit within this timescale. (Note that this does not affect submission times for non-performance units).

If the proposed repertoire is not agreed, RSL will contact the learner by email. The learner should then change piece(s) as necessary and re-submit the whole programme (or replace the whole programme with pieces from the relevant repertoire list).

In approving programme proposals, we do not consider either timing or balance. The approval is simply in terms of technical and musical difficulty, and it is the learner’s responsibility to design an appropriate and balanced programme that complies with the stipulated timings.

RSL cannot accept responsibility if you submit evidence for this unit before requesting approval for your programme. RSL’s decision on approval of any item or programme is final.
Q: Does RSL have lists of suggested repertoire?
A: Yes. Indicative repertore lists are included in the Resource Pack which is made available to candidates after they have registered.
Q: How do I submit my portfolio of evidence?
A: All written submissions should be uploaded as pdfs. Please include your name, unit number and word count.

Video submissions should be uploaded in mp4 format and file sizes compressed to below 1GB. Please include your name and unit number in the file title.
Q: How long do I have to complete my diploma?
A: You must upload all evidence within 12 months of your initial registration. This includes any resubmissions. After this time you will need to re-register to take your diploma again.

Evidence for units requiring repertoire approval must be uploaded within 6 months of the date of approval. Depending on timescales, repertoire may need to be approved again for a resubmission.
Q: Can I submit assessment material in languages other than English?
A: Level 4 and 6 Professional Diplomas are regulated qualification assessed in English. Submission in other languages should be translated in accordance with Policies and Regulations
Q: Can I reference laws, customs and audience expectations outside of the UK within my submission?
A: Yes, however these qualifications were designed by experts in the UK so any information regarding other territories should be referenced within the submission and support documentation provided.
Q: Is the assessment formative or summative?
A: When you upload your submission to RSL it will be assessed as a final summative assessment. If you do not pass you have one more chance to re-take the unit (at an additional fee). If you do not pass the re-sit you will not obtain the full qualification. For formative assessment you should work with an independent tutor or learning provider who will help you meet the requirements.
Q: Are there any adaptations in relation to the Covid-19 pandemic?
A: There are no standard adaptations in place. This includes audience requirements, practical teaching evidence, and evidence limits. Candidates who feel that the Covid-19 pandemic has affected their ability to meet any stated requirements may apply for Special Consideration (see the policy here).
Q: How long will it take for my work to be marked?
A: Once a unit is submitted, it will take no later than 6 weeks to be marked.

3. After I receive my result

Q: If I’m unhappy with my grade for a unit, what can I do? Can I re-take an assessment if I fail or want to improve my grade?
A: There are two options:
(i) If you are unhappy with the assessment decision that has been made (ie. you think it is incorrect), then you can make user of our enquiries and appeals procedure. The policy, application form and contact information can be found here. The policy details the various options available, including an informal review, clerical check, re-mark, or investigation and report. The fees can be found here

(ii) You can rework your original submission further to the feedback received from your assessor and then resubmit it. Units can be re-assessed either in their entirety or for an individual learning outcome. This is limited to one resubmission only, which must be submitted no later than 12 months after the initial registration. See Fees and Dates for more details (note the fee is the same per unit regardless of the number of learning outcomes being re-assessed).