Frequently Asked Questions

About the course

What is a distance-learning course?

A distance-learning course is designed to enable people to study at home (or work), without the need to attend classes at a fixed location. It also enables students to study at a time that suits them best.

Why is all of the material online? Can I download it?

It is online to make it accessible wherever you are in the World. We can't allow content to be downloaded for reasons of copyright as the content is privileged information. It also avoids issues such as plagiarism.

Do I need to attend classes or sit the exam in the UK?

There's no classes and although the exam is held in London, we can arrange for overseas students to sit the exam locally.

Do I need to buy study books or do extra research?

We offer free student membership of the Society of Light & Lighting (SLL) and the Institution of Lighting Professionals (ILP) as part of the course. This gives you free online access to many of their publications and books. Extra reading is always beneficial but you shouldn't need to buy additional books, unless you wish to. You will need to register for the membership as it's not an automated system.

Is the course affiliated to a University?

Yes, it is affiliated to University College London.

What level is the course?

We believe that is broadly equivalent to a HND course. Many students go on to study a Masters degree afterwards.

How do I get help if I get stuck?

We have a number of tutors who are highly respected members of the lighting community on hand to help you. The forum is also designed for students to help one another, along with some of the tutors.

Do I have to complete all of the modules?

Not all of the modules are assessed directly, but you will find all of the content useful to you, especially for the final design project.

What software do I need?

You don't need any specialist software; the course is delivered through all web browsers (Chrome, Firefox etc). You will need to get DIALux 4, but this is free.

How important are the assignments?

Very! You need to pass all assignments in order to graduate with the Diploma and they represent 60% of your final mark.

Do assignments have to be submitted on time or is there leeway?

They must be submitted on time as we have tutors allocated to assess them. If you think you may be late submitting, you need to notify the Course Administrator at least 3 weeks in advance. Marks will usually be deducted for late submissions.

Do I earn CPD points for the course?

No. Because this is a formal qualification, you don't get additional CPD hours for the study, except if you attend events or do extra reading.

Is there any industry exposure provided?

Not directly, but membership of the SLL and the ILP will introduce you to relevant industry people. They both hold a number of events throughout the year in the UK and in some overseas countries.

Are there any site visits?

Not currently, no. Students are encouraged look at the lighting in the places near where they live and work to see what techniques and styles are used and begin to form opinions from these excursions.

How long has the course been running for?

The Lighting Education Trust was formed over 25 years ago and the Diploma has run for most of that time in various formats.

Has the course changed over time?

Yes, we continually review material to ensure it's relevant to current practice.

Is there a course leader?

We have a course co-ordinator which largely fills this role. They report to the LET management committee.

Do students get assigned a mentor?

Not specifically, but we have a number of experts who act as tutors & mentors to assist if a student is struggling with a particular subject.

Why is there only limited places available?

This is to ensure we are able to provide support to all of the students who require it over a two-year period. Many of our tutors & mentors give their time for free in addition to their full-time jobs, so it's important to have all the resources available for the students.

How many people graduate?

We expect everyone to graduate? Occasionally, circumstances change or the student feels that the course isn't what they expected, but the vast majority all graduate.

What product information is available?

We rely on the manufacturers to provide product information; we can guide you to some companies if you don't know any.

Is the course recommended by anyone in particular?

The course is recognised by the two industry professional bodies, the SLL & the ILP. The Diploma is also championed by lighting luminaries such as Dominick Meyrick at Hoare Lea Lighting, Mark Sutton-Vane at SVA and Nick Hoggett at dpa lighting.

After the Diploma

What use is the Diploma to me?

The Diploma is recognised by the Society of Light & Lighting (SLL) and Institution of Lighting Professionals (ILP) as a route to gaining professional membership grades in their organisations. It will obviously greatly assist you in gaining employment in the field of lighting design.

What course could I go on to study?

The MSc in Light & Lighting at the Bartlett School of Architecture within University College London is the flagship Masters degree in the UK. There may be other similar degrees overseas, but the Diploma is ideal preparation for a degree of this level.

Will I become a qualified lighting designer?

There's not really any such thing, but you will be recognised by the industry for the Diploma, especially by the SLL & the ILP (see above).

What jobs will I be able to get?

The Diploma is structured around lighting design, so this is the obvious career route, but it will also help you in all aspects of light & lighting, whether that's in the manufacturing sector (sales, product design etc) or in the design fields.

How do I maintain knowledge of current industry practice?

We recommend membership of the SLL and/or the ILP, both during and after the course. Get along to their events, read the magazines and network with other lighting designers and professionals.

Is the course for me?

Do I already need to know about lighting?

No, there's no pre-requisite skills or education needed for this course. This is an introduction to lighting design so we assumed no previous knowledge. Some ability in Maths is helpful but we also provide a Maths Primer to help you if it's not your strength.

Could I be too old?

No, there's no age limit for the course. If you have the desire to learn, you're never too old.

It's a long time since I studied, will I manage?

It can be difficult to get back into the habit of the discipline of study, so we provide a Study at Home guide with some useful tips to help you.

I will be working as well as studying, will I keep up?

The course is designed to be suitable for people who are also working full-time, so if you have the discipline, you should be absolutely fine. You may find the Study at Home guide useful to organise your time most efficiently.

How much time does it take?

The course is a two-year programme based on about 10-12 hours study time per week. The actual time will vary between students and you may find some modules easier than others.

Payment and Timescales

Can I pay in instalments?

No. You need to pay for the first year upon registration, then ten months later, you pay for the second year.

Can I defer?

No, not unless there are truly exceptional circumstances. The course is completely structured around students completing in two-years. We keep the course fees as low as possible by having tutors and assessors volunteering their time and students deferring impacts this adversely.

Can I finish the course in one year?

No. For the same reasons as we can't allow deferrals. We have tried this in the past and it isn't good for the students in our experience.

Do I need to stick to the timetable?

You can work at your own pace but you must stick to the assignment deadlines.