From the first diploma awarded in 1910, examinations have been at the very heart of the College’s mandate. Examinations provide recognition for achievements at various levels in organ performance and musical knowledge. For more details, including dates, fees, exam requirements and resources, select one of the following diplomas or certificates:
This exam is suitable for intermediate-level players who may have passed the Service Playing exam, or who have had several years of organ study; it can serve as a stepping-stone towards the Associateship exam. The practical section of the exam includes organ repertoire, simple keyboard skills, and hymn playing; the written paper has questions on harmony, analysis, and organ literature. No prerequisites.
This exam is suitable for more advanced players, with an expected level of performance comparable to that required for an undergraduate degree in organ. The practical section of the exam includes organ repertoire, intermediate keyboard skills including basic improvisation, and more advanced hymn playing; there are two written papers, with questions on analysis and counterpoint as well as organ literature, history, and construction. No prerequisites.
This exam is the College's highest academic distinction, assessing a wide range of practical and theoretical skills; the expected level of performance is comparable to that required for a graduate degree in organ. The practical section of the exam includes organ repertoire and advanced keyboard skills including improvisation in larger forms; there are two written papers, with questions on analysis, counterpoint, composition, and arranging, as well as organ literature. Prerequisite: Applicants must hold the Associate diploma of the RCCO, or the equivalent diplomas from the Royal College of Organists or the American Guild of Organists.
Choral Conducting (Ch.RCCO)
This more advanced choral exam is suitable for candidates who have more extensive professional experience conducting choirs at an advanced level, and requires some formal knowledge of conducting technique. In addition to conducting a choral rehearsal, candidates will be tested on keyboard skills and will complete two written papers including questions on harmony, analysis, and composition as well as choral techniques, history, and literature. No prerequisites; candidates already holding the Fellowship diploma (FRCCO, FRCO, or FAGO) are exempt from Paper I.
This exam is a more comprehensive test of service-playing skills, including solo repertoire, hymn playing, and choral accompaniment; a candidate who passes this exam is equipped to play for services in many smaller churches. The Service Playing exam may be taken in person in the spring, or at any time of year by recording. No prerequisites.
This entry-level exam tests basic skills in accompanying hymns and solos for worship services; it may be taken at the organ or the piano. The Worship Accompanist exam may be taken in person in the spring, or at any time of year by recording. No prerequisites.
This exam is a test of the fundamental skills required for directing choirs in worship services; candidates must conduct a choral rehearsal including an anthem, a hymn, and a psalm. The written exam includes harmony and analysis as well as questions about liturgy and choral directing. No prerequisites.
Complete examination details are available on the following pages:
Congratulations to all successful candidates in the 2023 examination session!
List of Fellows of the College by ExaminationDetails of the College Academic Dress