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CREDIT: Sarah Townley ARPS


RPS Distinctions, qualifications & other certificated courses

The RPS offers qualifications, Distinctions and certificated courses to cater for every level of photographic experience. There are also opportunities with the OU and Falmouth University. They are an excellent way of setting yourself educational challenges and projects to help further your skills and focus your work. 

Distinctions | Qualifications | Falmouth | Other certificated courses | Schools certificate


CREDIT: Urs Albrecht LRPS

Licentiate (LRPS)

To become a Licentiate of The Society, applicants must show variety in approach and techniques but not necessarily in subject matter. Demanding but achievable for most dedicated photographers.

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6. Chestnut Woodpecker

Associate (ARPS)

Requires a body of work/project of a high standard and a written Statement of Intent. Strong technical ability using techniques and photographic practices appropriate to the subject.

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CREDIT: Ronen Tivony FRPS

Fellowship (FRPS)

Our highest level of Distinction. Requires a distinctive, distinguished and cohesive body of work/project accompanied by a written Statement of Intent. 

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Max Robinson FRPS 2

Film, Digital and Multimedia Distinction

These Distinctions recognize achievement in film production from key competencies at Licentiate level, advanced conceptual and technical skills at Associate level and at Fellowship level excellence in, and equating to, the highest industry, professional and artistic standards. Areas of film production covered will range from concept through cinematography, post-production and presentation. 

Screenshot: © Max Robinson FRPS, Night Train to Kazan

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Research Blog Image

Research Distinction

You submit written rather than photographic work for the Research category. This category encompasses research in the arts & sciences of photography. 

It also looks at how photography is considered, how its history is recorded and preserved, how photography is taught and how it is understood in its own terms and as part of wider visual and artistic culture.



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Image For RPS Journal Exemptions Feature September 2015
CREDIT: Federica Spadafora LRPS


You could be awarded a Royal Photographic Society Distinction without having to submit a portfolio!

If you've completed any of the qualifying courses specified in the last five years you could apply for a Distinction via the Exemptions route.

For more information click the following links:

Licentiate (LRPS) Exemptions

Associate (ARPS) Exemptions



Sam Fordham
CREDIT: Sam Fordham - Carteblanche

Documentary Photography and Print Degree BA (Hons)

Documentary Photography and Print BA (hons) programme offering a blend of traditional documentary storytelling with the most exciting innovations in contemporary photography, print design and production.

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Intracellular Sperm Injection (Spike Walker ASIS FRPS)

Imaging Scientist Qualification

RPS Imaging Scientist vocational qualifications are open for application from those who have professional careers within the fields of engineering, science and technology. 

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CIQ Copyright Michael Pritchard FRPS
CREDIT: Dr Michael Pritchard FRPS

Creative Industries Qualification

RPS Creative Industries qualifications are suitable for those working in the media including picture editors, art directors, curators, and designers as well as those within elements of education.

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These qualifications are designed to enhance career prospects and acknowledge achievements by recognizing professional competence.

Imaging Scientist levels:
Stage 1:
 (QIS & LRPS) Qualified Imaging Scientist
Stage 2: (GIS & ARPS) Graduate Imaging Scientist
Stage 3: (AIS & ARPS) Accredited Imaging Scientist
Stage 4: (ASIS & FRPS) Accredited Senior Imaging Scientist.

Creative Industries levels:
Stage 1: (QICI & LRPS) Qualified in Imaging in the Creative Industries & Licentiate: for those with academic qualifications below degree level.
Stage 2: (GICI & ARPS) Graduate in Imaging in the Creative Industries & Associate: for those with a first degree.
Stage 3: (AICI & ARPS) Accredited in Imaging in the Creative Industries & Associate: for those with postgraduate experience in the creative industries.
Stage 4: (ASICI & FRPS) Accredited Senior in Imaging in the Creative Industries & Fellow: the senior professional qualification.

Falmouth MA and BA(Hons) Top-Up Photography

Falmouth MA Image
CREDIT: Rosie Day

Funding for Falmouth Online Courses

By being a member of the society you have unique access to a bursary for one of Falmouth University's Flexible, online photography courses. 

Falmouth Flexible’s MA Photography and BA(Hons) Top-Up Photography are designed to accommodate a broad range of practitioners, from those who use photography to question the world around them to those whose practice interrogates the medium itself. 



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Other certificated courses

OU Lizzie Kelleher
CREDIT: Lizzie Kelleher

Open University Online Courses

Digital photography: Creating and Sharing Better Images and Creating a Professional Portfolio.

Two, 10 week online courses, developed by the Open University and supported by the RPS for beginners and those who wish to develop their photography further.

Learn more and apply

Schools certificate

Schoolc Certificate
CREDIT: Will Price-Lockyer

Schools Certificate

We want to reward those students who excel in their GCSE Photography exams by awarding them an RPS Certificate in Photography.

If you are a teacher or know of any school teaching photography at GCSE level, please let them know about the certificate. It’s free and has already proved a hit with the students.

For further information please contact: Liz Williams, Education Manager, +44 (0)117 3164480, 

Image © Will Price-Lockyer, A* student from Crispin School Somerset