ISM | What do you mean by ‘level four or above qualification'? Jump to main content

What do you mean by ‘level four or above qualification'?

One way of joining the ISM is through our 'qualified route'. You can join through the 'qualified route' if you have music-related qualification at level four or above on the Regulated Qualifications Framework (RQF). To join through this route you need to include the following details on your application form:

  • name of your qualification
  • name of the institution you studied at
  • year you graduated

If you don't have a music-related qualification at level four or above, you can join through our fast-track programme or by asking two professional musicians (including at least one ISM member) to confirm that you are a working musician.

Qualification level

‘Degree or graduate diploma in music’ is our way of summarising all the qualifications that we accept. The full list includes any qualification with music as a significant component:

  • at Honours level or above on the Framework for Higher Education Qualifications;
  • or accredited on the National Qualifications Framework (NQF) at or above Level 4;
  • or accredited on the Scottish National Qualifications Framework at or above Level 7;
  • or accredited on the National Framework of Qualifications for Ireland at or above Level 5;
  • or equivalent to those above.

Some of the most common qualifications we accept are:

  • Bachelor’s (or higher) degrees with Honours and graduate diplomas from universities and conservatoires
  • Associated Board of the Royal Schools of Music LRSM and FRSM diplomas
  • Guild of Church Musicians FGCM diploma
  • London College of Music LLCM and FLCM diplomas
  • RockSchool LRSL diploma
  • Royal College of Organists ARCO, LTRCO and FRCO diplomas
  • Royal Irish Academy of Music LRIAM diploma
  • Trinity Guildhall LTCL, FTCL diploma
  • Conservatoire diplomas at degree level that are no longer awarded, for example ARCM, LRAM
  • DipABRSM
  • ARSM
  • Level five Higher Diploma in music

If you’re unsure whether your qualification meets these criteria, please call us on 020 7221 3499 or send us an email.

Music as a significant component

Music must be a significant component of your course. In most cases, this means music will be mentioned on the certificate. Joint honours degrees, for example Spanish and Music, are included.

International qualifications

If you obtained your qualification outside the UK or Ireland, you may need to provide a letter of comparability from UK NARIC, the national agency responsible for providing information and advice about international qualifications.

Profit-making exam boards

We don't accept qualifications from any examining body whose constitution allows its examinations to be carried on for the personal profit of its promoters, directors, or members.