Which course for Genealogists?

We are often asked which courses are available and suitable for those who wish to learn the sources, skills and techniques to become a good genealogist. AGRA does not recommend any one course over another, but we set out below information which should help you explore what is right for you.

There are five main and respected genealogy and family history course providers for genealogy in England & Wales. Most of them provide online distance learning courses. Some of them also have face to face courses. Prospective students and those considering becoming professional will want to carefully examine the options from each, including which of them allow a successful graduate exemptions from elements of the AGRA Membership criteria.

We have drawn up a chart to illustrate our view of them as pathways to AGRA membership. Click on the chart to enlarge.

  1. The Institute of Heraldic and Genealogical Studies in Canterbury, Kent (IHGS) offers a correspondence course and a Higher Certificate in Genealogy, a programme of day and weekend courses and a Diploma programme. Graduates of the IHGS Certificate and Diploma are granted differing exemptions from some elements of the assessment process for potential Members of AGRA. Read a review here by Karen Cummings
  2. The University of Strathclyde offers a Postgraduate Certificate in Genealogical Palaeographic and Heraldic Studies. This can be followed by a Postgraduate Diploma and a Masters (Msc) by dissertation. Postgraduate Certificate holders receive some exemption from the assessment process for potential Members of AGRA. Read a review here by Simon Hutchison
  3. The University of Dundee offers online modular courses in family history and local history, with a Postgraduate Certificate, a Postgraduate Diploma and a Masters. At present AGRA does not provide an exemption to Dundee graduates but may do so in the future. Read a review here by Sylvia Valentine
  4. Pharos Tutors is an independent online course provider. There is a wide selection of stand-alone short courses and together with the Society of Genealogists, a programme of modules leading to the unaccredited Family History Skills & Strategies (Intermediate) certificate. This can be followed by an Advanced Certificate and AGRA is involved in the assessment process for this. Holders of the Advanced Family History Skills & Strategies Certificate receive some exemption from the assessment process for potential members of AGRA. Read a review of the Intermediate course by Sharon Grant
  5. The Society of Genealogists runs a series of lectures, workshops and face to face courses throughout the year. The Society’s few distance learning courses are taught in conjunction with Pharos Tutors (see above). The Society’s two-stage Evening Skills course, which requires attendance in London, prepares the student to take the IHGS Higher Certificate.
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