Rockschool Limited Level 3 Qualifications for Music Practitioners (QCF)

  • England
  • Northern Ireland
  • Wales

Rockschool Limited (RSL's) qualifications for Music Practitioners are music industry qualifications that will equip students with the skills, knowledge and understanding for entry to employment in the music industry, or progression to further study at a higher level.  The qualifications aim to offer practical structured learning with the flexibility to specialise in different disciplines directly relevant to employment within the music industry, including composition, performance, business, and technology.

Education context

RSL was set up in 1991 as Rockschool Limited to offer qualifications in rock and pop music – an area not covered by the traditional music exam boards.

Beginning with offering graded examinations in a range of instruments, RSL entered the vocational qualifications market in 2005 with its Music Practitioners Qualifications, with the aim being to produce the most industry-relevant music qualifications available.

Since 2005 the qualifications have been regularly rewritten to ensure optimum industry relevance and take into account new trends in music technology and music business, in particular.

These versions of RSL’s Music Practitioners qualifications were designed within the parameters of the QCF and as such are credit bearing, comprising both mandatory and optional content.

The qualifications are categorised as Tech Levels by the Department for Education, and meet the interim requirements of the Performance Tables for 2017.

RSL has designed new Subsidiary Diploma and Extended Diploma qualifications which meet the full requirements for Tech Levels, and appear on the DfE Performance Tables for 2018. These have different Qualification Accreditation Numbers.

Awarding organisation
  • RSL
Qualification codes
600/6607/6 (RSL Level 3 Certificate For Music Practitioners (QCF))
600/6611/8 (RSL Level 3 Extended Certificate For Music Practitioners (QCF))
600/6613/1 (RSL Level 3 Subsidiary Diploma For Music Practitioners (QCF))
600/6609/X (RSL Level 3 Diploma For Music Practitioners (QCF))
600/6612/X (RSL Level 3 Extended Diploma For Music Practitioners (QCF))

There are five different sizes of Music Practitioner qualification at Level 3:

  • Certificate – 15 credits
  • Extended Certificate – 35 credits
  • Subsidiary Diploma – 90 credits
  • Diploma – 120 credits
  • Extended Diploma – 180 credits

Each qualification can be undertaken in one of four pathways:

  • Performing
  • Composition
  • Technology
  • Business

The pathway defines the mandatory content within the qualification, with optional units making up the additional credits required to achieve the qualification.

All units within the qualification are at Level 3, and all units contributing to the required credit value of the qualifications must be passed.

Units can be completed throughout the academic year, with the final overall grade being calculated based on the grades awarded to each unit.

Subject areas
  • Music
  • Level 3

UK Level 3 qualifications regulated to the QCF

A levels are Level 3 qualifications regulated to the RQF

Level 3 is equivalent to SCQF Level 6


The qualification is graded Pass, Merit, Distinction and Distinction* (P, M, D, D*).

The overall grade is calculated based on the aggregation of unit grades within the qualification.


The full qualifications are internally assessed and externally moderated.

Internal assessment is conducted through the setting of briefs which adhere to the assessment criteria of the unit specification.

Student submissions are assessed using the grading criteria, which are specific to each unit.

Contribution of assessment components to overall grade

Qualifications are 100% internally assessed and externally moderated.

The qualifications comprise a ‘Core’ (mandatory) unit, plus a selection of optional units which carry variable credit values.

The ‘Core’ unit equates to 15 credits, meaning mandatory content can range between 100% and 8% of the qualification, depending on the total credit value of the qualification.

Resit arrangements

Evidence may be resubmitted during the registration period.

Units can be retaken during the specified assessment period. The centre can set the assessment, and offer resubmission opportunities with a frequency determined internally.

Guided / notional learning hours
Certificate (15 credits / 150 TQT): 90 hours
Extended Certificate (35 credits / 350 TQT): 210 hours
Subsidiary Diploma (90 credits / 900 TQT): 540 hours
Diploma (120 credits / 1200 TQT): 720 hours
Extended Diploma (180 credits / 1800 TQT): 1080 hours
UCAS Tariff points

RSL Level 3 Extended Diploma for Music Practitioners

Grade Points
D* 168
D 144
M 96
P 48

RSL Level 3 Diploma for Music Practitioners

Grade Points
D* 112
D 96
M 64
P 32

RSL Level 3 Subsidiary Diploma for Music Practitioners

Grade Points
D* 84
D 72
M 48
P 24

RSL Level 3 Extended Certificate for Music Practitioners

Grade Points
D* 28
D 24
M 16
P 8

RSL Level 3 Certificate for Music Practitioners

Grade Points
D* 14
D 12
M 8
P 4
Key issues for UK HE admissions

Tech Levels are designed to support progression to employment, an apprenticeship, or higher education.

Progression to higher education is generally within the vocational area of the Tech Level and related disciplines, and may be to a foundation degree.

The exact curriculum studied may depend on the choice of optional units taken.

Applicants holding Tech Level qualifications may not have experience of external and synoptic assessment.

Timing of assessments and results

Students are assessed throughout the duration of their course. The vast majority will complete the course by end of June, with results issued in late July and submitted to UCAS in early August.

Qualification dates notes

These qualifications are current, with some of the qualifications in the suite being revised for the RQF and made available for the first time in September 2016.

Certification information

Certifications are reported on a quarterly basis to the relevant regulators.

Progression information

RSL’s Music Practitioners Qualifications promote progression to both higher education and employment.

As well as developing skills relating to many different music industry roles and further study in that area, they also imbue students with a range of transferable skills which can be applied to study of a wide variety of other subjects.

Further information

Further information on our Level 3 Music Practitioners Qualifications can be found at: