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Professional Diploma in Lighting Design & Operation

Level 4 Professional Diploma in Technical & Production Practice for the Creative Industries
Awarded By
UAL Awarding Body

course overview

The Level 4 Professional Diploma in Lighting Design and Operation is is a comprehensive pathway designed for individuals who want to fast-track their career in the production industries. The pathway is designed to provide you with a strong professional understanding of a wide range of topics, including the design process, lighting technologies, control systems, and health and safety considerations.

One of the key benefits of this pathway is that it provides you with a deep understanding of the principles of colour, light, and shadow, and how they interact to create an immersive experience for audiences. You will learn how to analyse and manipulate lighting to achieve specific effects and how to use different lighting techniques to enhance and highlight scenic pieces. This knowledge will enable you to design and implement lighting for a range of productions, including theatre, concerts, live events, and television.

As a lighting designer, you will be an essential member of the production team. You will work closely with directors, designers, and other crew members to bring their vision to life. You will be responsible for creating a lighting design that complements and enhances the story being told on stage or on screen. You will also learn how to communicate your ideas effectively and make informed decisions about lighting design that serves the overall production. Throughout the programme, you will have ample opportunity to apply the skills and knowledge that you have learned to productions. You will have the chance to work on student productions or collaborate with local theatre companies, building a portfolio that showcases your skills and creativity. This experience will provide you with the practical skills and confidence needed to succeed in the industry.

The Level 4 Professional Diploma in Lighting Design and Operation also covers essential health and safety considerations that are paramount in any production setting. You will learn about the importance of risk assessments and the measures that need to be taken to ensure the safety of the crew, performers, and audience.

In addition to the technical skills, this pathway will also help you develop essential soft skills, such as teamwork, communication, problem-solving, and creativity. These skills are highly valued by employers and will enable you to work collaboratively with other members of the production team, as well as communicate effectively with clients and stakeholders.

The Level 4 Professional Diploma in Lighting Design and Operation is for individuals who are passionate about the production industries and are looking for a fast-track to a successful career. It provides you with a deep understanding of lighting design and operation, as well as the essential technical and soft skills needed to succeed in the industry. The practical experience gained throughout the program, combined with a comprehensive understanding of the principles of lighting, will prepare you for a rewarding career in the production industries.

2024 Application Information
Full-time Fee (Per Year):
Full-time Duration:
3 Years
Part-time Fee (Per Year):
Part-time Duration:
6 Years
Start Date:
September 2024
UCAS Application Code:
UCAS Institution Code:
S55 (SGS)
Level 4 Professional Diploma in Technical & Production Practice for the Creative Industries


Year One / level 4
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Year Two / level 5
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Year three / level 6
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Year One / level 4
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application information

We understand that every individual is unique and we are committed to ensuring that every applicant has an equal opportunity to pursue their passion. We have a comprehensive policy of equal opportunities for students, where individuals are selected and treated based on their relevant merits and abilities.

typical offer/entry requirments
  • UCAS Tariff - 96
  • GCSE English - 4/C
  • GCSE Maths - 4/C
  • Interview/Audition - Yes

You can achieve 96 UCAS Tariff points in various ways.  We encourage applications from students who have studied BTECs, T Levels, A Levels, Access to Higher Education and many other qualifications. As a guideline, here are some combinations that will get you the 96 UCAS Points needed to study one of our undergraduate programmes.

  • A Level - CCC
  • Extended Diploma - MMM
  • T Level - M

We welcome mature students (aged 21+) without our typical offer/entry requirements to apply, applicants will be assessed on individual merit and their previous experiences.

Individuals whose first language is not English are required demonstrate an acceptable minimum level of competence in English through the International English Language Testing System (IELTS) (Band 6.5).

When it comes to pursuing a higher education programme, the investment you make is significant. That's why we are committed to helping you take charge of your finances by providing the necessary support. As an undergraduate student, you will face two major expenses: tuition fees and living expenses. We understand the challenges that come with managing these costs and we're here to assist you every step of the way. As we're part of SGS, you will be eligible to apply for SGS higher education bursaries and scholarships.

Start Date
Fee (UK)
per year
Fee (International) 
per year
September 2024
Professional Diploma in Lighting Design & Operation
September 2025
Professional Diploma in Lighting Design & Operation
*subject to approval
additional costs

During your programme, you'll be required to purchase various items, such as scripts, equipment, and kits that will aid your studies and contribute towards both UK and overseas trips. Additionally, we encourage you to attend numerous professional performances and engage in activities that prepare you for industry. The specific details regarding these additional costs may differ each year and between programmes. The most up-to-date information will be provided in your offer letter.

The application process varies depending on your country of residence and the level of the course you wish to pursue. To assist you with your application, we've provided comprehensive information on this page about how to apply through UCAS, how to apply as an EU or international student, how to apply as a mature student, or how to make a direct application for specific courses.

I'm currently at School or College and want to study full-time
UCAS.com manages the applications of students in all schools and colleges in the UK, as well as a limited number of institutions abroad. In order to apply through your current educational institution, you will need to acquire a "buzzword" from your tutor or career adviser, which will identify the organisation you are applying from and enable your referee to include a reference in your application. Once you have completed the application, you must submit it to your referee who will then forward it on your behalf.

To cover the application fee, you can either pay online with a credit or debit card. The cost of applications is £20 for a single choice and £26 for two to five choices.
I'm a mature student (21+) and want to study full-time
We welcome mature students on all our degree courses. If you possess experience in a field related to the course you are interested in, we are willing to evaluate your application on its unique merits, even in lieu of typical academic entry requirements. If you are unsure of your eligibility, we encourage you to contact our admissions team and provide them with a summary of your qualifications and experiences. They will carefully review your submission and provide you with guidance on your next steps.

All applications from UK mature students for full-time undergraduate courses are made through UCAS.com, to cover the application fee, you can either pay online with a credit or debit card. The cost of applications is £20 for a single choice and £26 for two to five choices.

I'm an International student
We accept international applications on a rolling basis, with no firm deadline to apply. However, please note that some courses are competitive with places filling up quickly, so we recommend applying as early as possible. You should be aware that students requiring a student visa to travel to the UK for their course are bound by CAS request deadlines. Visa application will be available 6 months prior to the start of your course.

We strongly recommend you contact us directly to discuss applying as an international student before submitting an application. Once we've discussed your application we will prompt you to complete your application through UCAS.com
I would like to study part-time
You'll need to apply through our website for part-time study. You can only apply for one part-time course at a time and once you start your application you'll need to complete your application. (You can't save your progress and come back to it). Therefore, we recommend you set aside 20-25 minutes to fully complete a part-time application.
I can't find you on UCAS
As we're part of SGS, try searching 'South Gloucestershire and Stroud College' or 'SGS' on UCAS when submitting your application. Once you've selected SGS on UCAS all of our courses will appear and you'll be able to select your preferred course. You'll also be able to select the location as 'Bristol Institute of Performing Arts.

Our Auditions and Interviews process is designed to identify individuals with a passion for the performing and production arts and to provide you with an opportunity demonstrate your skills in a supportive.


a campus designed to stand out

3 acting studios
Each of our acting studios offers soft flooring and black-out curtains/blinds, Bluetooth speakers and large presentation TV screens.
6 dance studios
Filled with natural light and well-ventilated, our six dance studios are equipped with ballet barres, Bluetooth sound system, and premium Harlequin dance flooring.
2 Rehearsal studios
Our rehearsal studios are adaptable spaces that can quickly be transformed for production and group rehearsals, singing workshops, and movement spaces.
2 academic rooms
Our academic rooms are designed to facilitate lectures, tutorials, and contextual studies. These dedicated spaces are equipped with a bank of laptops and presentation facilities.
Our Olympus Theatre has been producing and receiving theatre on a local and regional scale since opening in 2005 and its cultural and creative significance has exceeded expectations. Students will feel at home performing in our 250 seat auditorium, which is home to over 30 productions a year.
Our 80 seat Studio Theatre is our most diverse performance space, with fully flexible seating accommodating a variety of production design styles. This 'black box' space is designed for intimate productions, showcases and cabaret performances.
scenic workshop
Our workshops are designed to cater to a variety of interests and skill levels, offering students the necessary tools and equipment to bring their creative designs to life. In the scenic arts workshop, students have access to a wide range of equipment, from traditional woodworking tools to advanced computer-aided design software.
tv studio
Based on campus in the Brunel Centre, the state-of-the-art green screen studio enables high-quality video content production for online and offline audiences.
Costume & props store
With over five thousand costume pieces ranging from period to contemporary, our collection offers limitless possibilities for bringing our productions to life. Additionally, our prop store houses hundreds of prop pieces.
fitness gym
Located within the Brunel Centre, our state-of-the-art on campus gym boasts stations for cardio, strength, and conditioning training, all set in a welcoming and serene environment. To ensure a safe experience, students are required to undergo an induction and reserve their training sessions through SGS Sports dedicated Strength and Conditioning (S&C) department.
Library plus+
At LibraryPlus+, you'll find a collaborative learning environment that is enhanced by the expertise of our dedicated staff in information finding, referencing, and digital technologies, as well as an extensive collection of theatre history, make-up, costume and theatre arts books, along with plays, scores, journals, and research resources.
starbucks hub cafe
The 'Hub' is the beating heart of our campus serving a range of hot and cold food throughout the day and evening. This lively hub is more than just a place to grab a bite, its a place to unwind and socialise.
Katie Hutchings
Theatre & Production Technician
Jeremy CostelloRoberts
Lecturer in Lighting & Technical Production
Tom Hatch
Technical Theatre & Productions Officer
Dr Elizabeth Philps
Programme Lead Acting and Touring Theatre & Lecturer in Contextual Studies
Chris OBrien
Technical Theatre Course Lead & Lecturer in Production Arts
Jack Maurice
Artistic Director & Head of Bristol Institute of Performing Arts