Perhaps you always had an interest in genealogy and weren’t sure where to start. Or you began researching your family history and found some unexpected roadblocks. For those who are new to the topic as well as for the seasoned experts, taking courses in genealogy is a great way to deepen your knowledge and learn the sources, skills and techniques needed to become a good genealogist.

There are three institutions that provide courses assessed to the standard for recognition as a Qualified Genealogist. The majority of these can be completed through correspondence or online. These well respected genealogy and family history course providers offer certificates, diplomas and Masters’ programs.

1. Institute of Heraldic and Genealogical Studies in Canterbury, Kent (IHGS)

The Institute of Heraldic and Genealogical Studies

The Institute of Heraldic and Genealogical Studies offers several options to specialise in genealogy. You can go through three courses of incresing levels of complexity in order to obtain a Higher Certificate in Genealogy, or enrol directly in it by doing a Correspondence Course in Genealogy. If you so wish, you can then proceed to doing the Diploma and Licentiateship

You can explore them all in detail on their website, but here’s a useful graphic:

The Institute of Heraldic and Genealogical Studies Qualifications in Genealogy
Qualifications in Genealogy by The Institute of Heraldic and Genealogical Studies

Awaken Your Ancestors Correspondence Course

This course is suitable for those who are new to family history or for people who need a little assistance on how to do things properly or bring down brick walls. The course covers family, GRO and Civil Registration records, Census, Parish registries and general guidance for searching genealogical information. There is an examination at the end of it, but it’s optional.

The cost of the course is £135.00.

Read more about IHGS’ Awaken Your Ancestors Correspondance Course >

Broadening Your Family Tree Correspondence Course

This course, the second in the path to the Higher Diploma, is made of ten intermediate level modules and covers a selection of records (census and GRO certificates) that will help further your research and broaden your family tree. The modules include the study of Names, palaeography, records of Probate, military records, and education, occupations and the professions documents. 

The cost of this course is £150.00.

Read more about IHGS’ Broadening Your Family Tree Correspondance Course >

Completing Your Ancestral Journey Correspondence Course

This course is a natural progression for those who have already completed the previous two, as well as for experienced family historians that want to gain a better understanding of a collection of records. The course is assessed with the student undertaking a series of research assignments using a wide-range of records and covers 20 modules that include fascinating varied topics such as heraldry, poll books, taxation, house history, newspapers and courts, among others. 

The cost of the course is £450.00.

Read more about IHGS’ Completing Your Ancestral Journey Course >

Correspondence Course In Genealogy (Higher Certificate in Genealogy)

The correspondence course is suitable both for beginners and for experienced genealogists and covers the full range of genealogically useful sources to considerable depth. It’s also designed to prepare students for professional genealogical practice. All assignments in the course are graded and can be taken over to the Higher Certificate in Genealogy examination. The Correspondence Course is demanding, but the principal qualifications for embarking on it are enthusiasm and dedication. 

The Correspondence Course in Genealogy prepares candidates for examination at the level of Higher Certificate in Genealogy. You then have the option to proceed to the Diploma in Genealogy, which is an internationally recognised professional qualification. 

The fee for the Correspondence Course is £2,340.

Read more about IHGS’s Correspondence Course in Genealogy >

Diploma in Genealogy

Entry to the Diploma in Genealogy is restricted to those who have gained The Higher Certificate in Genealogy. The course runs from September to June in Canterbury and includes five classroom sessions, practical workshops and a personal mentor. There are three assignments: An actual piece of genealogical research on behalf of an imaginary client (and its report), a portfolio that demonstrates the Candidate’s breadth and depth of experience, and a library assessment through a family surname research over a period of three hours in a library or record office environment.

The fee for the Diploma in Genealogy is £1,285.

Read more about IHGS’s Diploma in Genealogy >

Licentiate in Genealogy

Entry to the Licentiate in Genealogy is restricted to those who have qualified as professional genealogists by passing The Institute’s Diploma examination. Students are expected to have not less than five full years of experience in research (in some cases, publications or worthy scholastic contributions to family historical studies can be considered, too). Licentiateship is a degree awarded by the Court of Trustees upon the recommendation of the Council. The content of the Thesis or dissertation (between 15,000 and 50,000 words) might be any which impinges upon the value, application or study of family history. After examination of the thesis, the Examiners may require the candidate to submit to further written or oral examination before recommending the award of the degree.

Read more about IHGS’s Licentiate in Genealogy >

Other Genealogy Courses by IHGS

The institute offers serveral other correspondence and face-to-face courses. Among others:

More Information:

Institute of Heraldic and Genealogical Studies
79-82 Northgate,
Kent, CT1 1BA,

2. The University of Strathclyde

University of Strathclyde Logo

The University of Strathclyde offers two main programs: a Postgraduate Certificate in Genealogical Palaeographic and Heraldic Studies and a Postgraduate Diploma and a Masters (Msc) by dissertation. It also has a very popular and excellent free course titled Genealogy: Researching Your Family Tree and several paid courses available throughout the year. 

Postgraduate Certificate, Diploma or MSc in Genealogical Studies

This postgraduate course is for anyone with an existing interest and some experience in genealogy. It covers the theory and practice of genealogical research, family history, records, archives and heraldry. The course is is delivered online and requires computer access from home.

There are three levels within this postgraduate course. Most students begin with the PG Certificate/Part-time MSc Year 1 before moving to the PG Diploma/Part-time MSc Year 2 and then onto the MSc by Dissertation year. The MSc dissertation gives students the opportunity to choose an individual topic of interest.

The cost of the Certificate is £600 per module. For the Diploma, £1140 per module.The MSc (full-time) is £8,700 (UK/EU).

Read more about Strathclyde’s Postgraduate Certificate and Diploma >

PhD in History with Genealogical Studies

This program gives you the chance to undertake a History PhD with a distinctive genealogical dimension to it. Students are expected to undertake research that results in a thesis which contributes to the wider literature in the field.The research can focus on historical demography, local history, sociology, reappraising previous research findings through the use of genealogical research techniques and assessing and evaluating newly available or not-often-used resources, among others. The PhD is undertaken full-time over 36 months, or part-time over 60 months.

The cost of the PhD is £4,327 per year (UK/EU). 

Read more about Strathclyde’s PhD in History with Genealogical Studies >

Other Genealogy Courses by Strathclyde

More Information:

University of Strathclyde
40 George Street,
Glasgow G1 1QE,

3. The University of Dundee

University of Dundee

The University of Dundee offers a number of AGRA and ASGRA recognised courses in family and local history ranging from a full postgraduate Masters to short beginners courses. You can choose to study their main course at MSc, Diploma or certificate level.  CAIS graduates are eligible for the Register of Qualified Genealogists and the courses are recognised by the genealogical professional bodies AGRA and its Scottish equivalent ASGRA.

Taster Courses in Family and Local History

These introductory courses are aimed at those who are interested in expanding their skills and knowledge in a relatively short period of time and comprise two six week online courses in family and local history. You must be IT literate and be able to engage with a Distance-Learning programme that is delivered online.

The fees range from £79 to £145 per course.

Read more about Dundee’s Online Local and Family History courses >

Family and Local History Certificate, Diploma and MSc.

The program gives you a comprehensive overview of the sources available to do effective genealogical or local history research. It has four core modules and a choice of other optional modules designed to develop student expertise in areas such as heraldry, Latin, House History, military records and education archives, among others. The modules last for 15 weeks (20 credits) or nine weeks (10 credits). 

The costs are: Certificate £2,910, Diploma £5,820 and Masters £7,620.

Read more about Dundee’s MLitt Family and Local History Certificate, Diploma and MSc courses >

More Information:

University of Dundee
Dundee, DD1 4HN

4. Other Courses: Udemy

Udemy is an online education provider that offers the world’s largest selection of courses. With new additions published every month, the site has a variety of genealogy courses that are always up to date, incuding “Genealogy and Family History Research”, “Genealogy 101: Becoming a Family Tree Sleuth” and “Genealogy Photo Editing, Care and Repair”.

The costs range between £12,99 and £29,99.

Read more about Udemy Genealogy courses >


There are other institutions and groups providing online genealogy courses. The Society of Genealogists, for example, run frequent courses, talks, visits and workshops delivered by family history experts. All events are open to anyone interested in family history, and don’t require you to be a member of their society to attend.

We’ll keep updating our list of courses for 2020, make sure you come back to check them out!

Books to Learn Genealogy on Your Own

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