banner-Genealogical, Palaeographic and Heraldic Studies

MSc/PgDip/PgCertGenealogical, Palaeographic & Heraldic Studies

Why this course?

This course is for anyone with an existing interest and some experience in genealogy and related subjects. It's been developed by academics and genealogy professionals to provide a thorough grounding in the theory and practice of genealogical research, family history, records, archives and heraldry. You may wish to study the field in more detail or use it in your career. It’s of particular interest for:

  • archivists
  • lawyers & paralegals
  • geographers
  • land agents
  • heritage sector staff
  • historians
  • librarians
  • museum staff
  • records agents

It's also suitable for those who are interested in:

  • developing, evaluating or refreshing their expertise in genealogy, records, archives, documents, palaeography and heraldry
  • advancing their academic and professional achievement in these subjects
  • gaining a deeper, more critical understanding of the field, its literature and professional practice
  • providing more expert knowledge and advisory capacity to employers and members of the public, such as in Family History Centres

How is the course delivered?

The course is delivered online and so it'll require computer access from home. You should be familiar with the use of computers in genealogy and the course is standardised on Microsoft Windows. You'll also need to subscribe or pay for certain online databases and services.

Course overview

You’ll focus on the sources available to genealogists and family historians. You’ll also gain the knowledge, skills and techniques to operate as a professional genealogist in a variety of settings.

The Postgraduate Certificate course deals mainly with Scottish, English/Welsh and Irish records. The Postgraduate Diploma adds American, Canadian, Australian, New Zealand, British Empire, Jewish, European and other sources.

We work together with:

  • the National Records of Scotland
  • the National Archives at Kew
  • various professional and commercial bodies including the Association of Scottish Genealogists and Researchers in Archives (ASGRA), DC Thomson Family History, Deceased Online and FamilyTreeDNA

When you complete the Certificate and Diploma degrees, you'll have a suitable portfolio to submit to various certification boards and other bodies for professional accreditation.

Course structure

There are three degree levels within this course.

Most of our students begin with the PG Certificate before moving to the PG Diploma and then onto the MSc.

There's also a one-year MSc option. This combines all three levels into one academic year. 

There are a few external equivalents to the PG Certificate which would allow direct entry onto the PG Diploma. If you're interested in learning more about these contact our Course Administrator.

Course timetables and further information are available on the Centre for Lifelong Learning webpage.

You’ll study

You’ll need to commit time each week to cover:

  • reading
  • participation in online discussion forums
  • research
  • completion of course work

Postgraduate Certificate

We offer two options with the PG Cert.

One year

If you'd like to study over a year, and can commit 20 hours a week to the course, this is the option for you. It'll run from October until June with assessments throughout the course. 

Two year (modular)

If you'd like to study over two years, you can do this by studying the six classes individually over this time period. This option gives you the opportunity to begin studying in October, January or April - whichever suits you best. The classes must be taken in order, and are all compulsory to complete the PG Cert. This option will require roughly 14 hours a week of study.

Topics

You'll study topics including:

  • genealogical professional practice
  • search strategies & using repositories
  • social history, demography & geographic sources
  • church & civil records (England/Wales & Scotland)
  • census records & their substitutes (England/Wales & Scotland)
  • genetic genealogy
  • migration & records
  • Irish records
  • military & occupational records (England/Wales & Scotland)
  • land & inheritance records (England/Wales & Scotland)
  • palaeography
  • Latin for genealogists
  • heraldry

Once you successfully complete the certificate, you can progress to the Diploma.

Postgraduate Diploma

The PG Dip allows you to develop a greater understanding of social and historical contexts and provides an in depth study of the professional and academic aspects of genealogical work. We suggest you allow around 20-25 hours a week for studying this degree.

Topics

You'll study topics including:

  • methods of professional enquiry (includes submission of a 5,000-word research project)
  • Irish records in depth
  • US & Canadian sources
  • British empire sources
  • heraldry & mediaeval genealogy
  • European & Jewish sources
  • Australian & New Zealand sources
  • palaeographic & document-focused studies

After successfully completing the Diploma you can progress to the MSc, if the tutor team agrees.

MSc

The Masters is the third year in the part-time course.

The MSc requires the student to plan, implement and evaluate a piece of research and development work, which involves carrying out a research project of genealogical relevance, which will be assessed on a report of 12,000-16,000 words.

The part-time MSc runs from October with the dissertation submitted the following June. There's tutor guidance on academic writing, study and research skills.

One-year MSc option

If you have an undergraduate degree along with experience in genealogical research, this could be an option for you. 

You'll have to commit around 40 hours a week and there will be compulsory online tutorials for you to attend every week.

This option will begin in the middle of September and will run through to late July. The course content is the same as the three degree levels of the course. You can find these in the course content tab.

Teaching staff

Academic input is provided by:

  • the Centre for Lifelong Learning
  • the University’s Faculty of Humanities & Social Sciences
  • appropriate external specialists

Professional recognition

ASGRA (Association of Scottish Genealogists and Researchers in Archives) will admit PG Certificate graduates as Probationer Members and PG Diploma graduates as Full Members (additional evidence of client work is also required).

The Association of Genealogists and Researchers in Archives (AGRA) recognises the PG Certificate as satisfying the requirement for Associate Members to hold a qualification in genealogy.

Computer & software access

You need to have regular access to a computer at home as we’ll issue you with various log-ins and passwords you can’t use on public computers.

Your computer must have a recent version of Microsoft Windows and Microsoft Office or Open Office. It should also be capable of running Java and be enabled for pop-ups.

We’ll communicate with you by e-mail and via the University's Virtual Learning Environment. Please make sure you can use the following programs:

  • Microsoft Word, Excel and PowerPoint or a compatible program, eg OpenOffice
  • an e-mail program compatible with Microsoft software. We recommend Outlook
  • a graphics program compatible with Microsoft software. We recommend Irfanview
  • WinZip or the ability to un-zip files and folders
  • Adobe Acrobat Reader

Family Tree Maker software is sent to you before the start of the course. You can also choose to use comparable software from other vendors. A six-month subscription to the worldwide version of Ancestry is normally included with the copy of Family Tree Maker but this is not guaranteed.

Online subscriptions

A lot of the course will involve online searching on third-party sites over which the University has no control.

You’ll need a worldwide subscription to www.ancestry.co.uk. You’ll also be using www.scotlandspeople.gov.uk which charges for certain searches. You must be prepared to use a credit card or other suitable payment method over the internet.

Course content

Genealogical, Palaeographic & Heraldic Studies is offered at three different levels. Our flexible learning programme allows you to work through each level of study, as outlined below:

  • to gain the PgCert qualification, you must complete the first group of classes listed below
  • to achieve the PgDip, you must complete the PgCert qualification and the next three classes
  • for the MSc qualification, you must complete the first two stages and then finish the final class

Postgraduate Certificate classes

Professional Practice & Methodologies

This session provides a context for genealogical practice in a wide variety of environments. You'll progress with a common level of knowledge and understanding of key concepts and practice, including:

  • ethics & standards in genealogy
  • analysis of evidence problems
  • business practice
  • an introduction to palaeography
  • the recording & presentation of data

 

Archives & Libraries, History & Geography

You'll be given a grounding in the use of record and archival sources, physical and online, including genealogical literature and where to find it (catalogues of printed and manuscript genealogies and pedigrees; indexes and directories, etc). Also discussed are:

  • copyright legislation
  • maps & other geographic sources
  • money & coinage
  • dates & calendars
  • burgesses & guilds
  • local government structures in the United Kingdom

 

Censuses, Civil Registers & Church Records

This class is a systematic foundation in the use of various sources, including birth, marriage, death and census records from across the United Kingdom.

Census substitutes (poll books, electoral rolls, valuation and taxation assessments and subsidy lists, poor law registers, etc) and ecclesiastical records (OPR, parish registers, bishops' transcripts, Kirk Session and parish administration records, etc) are also covered.

Family History Studies & Overseas Records

This class introduces the use of DNA in genealogical research; upon completion students will understand the various tests available and their use alongside traditional research methods.

Demography, research into the nobility and landed gentry and other family research along with Irish records, migration and emigration are covered as well as personal records such as occupation, military and education records.

Property & Law, Wills, Land & Inheritance

You'll be given a methodical basis for the use of various document types, including the inheritance of property and land, wills, testaments and inventories across the United Kingdom.

Other areas covered include local and central government records (taxation, evaluation, elections, legal records, the courts of equity, records of chancery and exchequer) and a deeper look at palaeography records.

Latin, Palaeography & Heraldry

When you complete this class, you'll recognise specific types of documents, their structure and intent and be able to transcribe and translate these from Latin sufficiently to extract relevant genealogical information from them.

The origins and intentions of Scottish and English heraldry and heraldic art are covered and students will understand heraldry’s use in tracing families.

Postgraduate Diploma classes

Methods of Professional Enquiry & Project

Methods of Professional Enquiry is a University requirement if you're undertaking postgraduate study. As well as requiring you to demonstrate that you've acquired an understanding of a range of research methods and ways in which they can be deployed, this class provides practical skills in professional research and practice and introduces archival record management.

Genealogy, Heraldry & Social History 2

Here you'll deepen and extend your knowledge of sources and genealogical techniques used when researching non-UK countries and in mediaeval genealogy. Certain specialist topics such as the advanced uses of DNA in genealogy and Jewish genealogy are also covered.

Areas covered include:

  • the British Empire
  • Europe
  • Australia
  • New Zealand
  • the USA
  • Canada
  • Ireland in depth

 

Documents & Palaeography 2

When you complete this class, you'll have critically analysed English and Scottish documents and charters. You'll understand the frameworks in which documents were written and be able to demonstrate independent study through the creation of written Études. Étude study topics are:

  • a house/building history
  • a migration event study
  • a client family research project
  • a geographic area study

You have a free choice of subject within these étude topics.

MSc classes

Professional Enquiry & Development Leading to a Dissertation

The Masters stage of the Genealogical, Palaeographic and Heraldic Studies programme comprises one compulsory class. This requires you to plan, implement and evaluate a major piece of research, which involves carrying out an investigative and developmental project of genealogical relevance which will be assessed on the basis of a dissertation of 12,000-16,000 words.

Learning & teaching

The course is taught entirely online using the University’s Virtual Learning Environment called ‘myplace’. Throughout the course we use:

  • online discussion forums
  • written and audio lectures
  • multimedia presentations
  • real time audio chat sessions

Assessment

There's no formal exam for any of our courses. Results are based on continuous assessment.

PgCert

You'll be asked to complete assignments for each module - in addition to six summative assessments - the fulfilment of which should help advance your learning and indicate to your tutor the possession or development of the requisite knowledge and skills.

You'll also need to complete a learning log.

PgDip

Assessment is conducted through a mix of:

  • short written pieces (2,000 words) on topics chosen by students
  • assignments
  • a project on a topic chosen by the student. This involves short assignments and a 5,000-word research report

MSc

Assessment for the part-time MSc is based on a 12,000 to 16,000-word dissertation. This will focus on an investigative and developmental project of genealogical relevance.

One-year MSC

Term One:

  • you're asked to complete assignments for each module, as well as summative assessments, the fulfilment of which should help advance your learning and indicate to your tutor the possession or development of the requisite knowledge and skills
  • you'll also need to complete a Learning Log

Term Two

Assessment on this term is done through a mixture of:

  • shorter written pieces (2,000 words) on topics chosen by the students
  • assignments designed to get students working directly with resources from various parts of the world
  • assignments within the methods of professional enquiry module which are milestones towards completion of the dissertation

Term Three

The MSc is finally assessed on the basis of a written dissertation of 12-16,000 words based on an investigative and developmental project of genealogical relevance which is turned in at the end of term three.

Entry requirements

Some assignments and assessments require the use of genealogy software. If you've not previously used such software you should learn the basics before the course begins.

PgCert

Normally, a degree or similar, but non-standard educational or professional qualifications may also be considered. There's a requirement to have some relevant genealogical or related experience.

The Centre for Lifelong Learning offers a number of eight-week courses available both online and on-campus. These are intended to provide the basic skills and knowledge required to facilitate progression to the Postgraduate Certificate. Successful completion of one or more of these courses may serve as evidence of the necessary study skills and/or relevant genealogical experience.

More information on these courses can be found on the Centre for Lifelong Learning's webpage.

PgDip

Entry will normally follow successful completion of the PgCert.

Students who've gained equivalent academic qualifications at PgCert level may be accepted directly onto the PgDip. Those seeking admission with advanced standing may include prior learning in recognised courses and/or genealogical-based experience as entry criteria. Further information is available on request.

MSc

Direct entry to the part-time MSc isn't available. Students must first complete the PgDip at an appropriate level before being allowed to continue on to the MSc.

For the one-year MSc, candidates should normally hold an undergraduate degree, though other forms of qualification and experience may be taken into account. First degrees may also be augmented by previous postgraduate qualifications, such as an MSc.

Some experience in genealogical (or other relevant) research is required and we may ask to see examples of reports and/or charts you have created.

Students who already hold the PgCert or PgDip in Genealogical, Palaeographic and Heraldic Studies from Strathclyde, or certain other relevant qualifications from specified institutions, will be able to transfer credits, up to a defined limit. However, no fee discounts will be available. These students may wish to undertake the part-time versions of the MSc programme.

International students

If you're applying as an international student and English is not your first language, you'll need to have an IELTS score of 6.5 overall, with no component below 6.0.

Fees & funding

How much will my course cost?

All fees quoted are for full-time courses and per academic year unless stated otherwise.

Scotland/EU

  • 2015/16 - MSc: £7,550
  • 2015/16 - MSc (part-time): £1,750
  • 2015/16 - PgDip/PgCert (part-time): £2,900
  • 2015/16 - PgCert per module: £530

Rest of UK

  • 2015/16 - MSc: £7,550
  • 2015/16 - MSc (part-time): £1,750
  • 2015/16 - PgDip/PgCert (part-time): £2,900
  • 2015/16 - PgCert per module: £530

International

  • 2015/16 - MSc: £11,000
  • 2015/16 - MSc (part-time): £3,400
  • 2015/16 - PgDip/PgCert (part-time): £3,800
  • 2015/16 - PgCert per module: £680

How can I fund my course?

Scholarship search

Please note

The fees shown are annual and may be subject to an increase each year.

Careers

Where are they now?

Many of our graduates are in work or further study.*

Job titles include:

  • Intelligence Officer
  • Professional Genealogist
  • Researcher
  • Tutor
  • University Academic

Employers include:

  • APS Group
  • Beith Historical Society
  • National Wildlife Crime Unit
  • Victoria University
  • Who What Where Research

*Based on the results of the national Destinations of Leavers from Higher Education Survey

Apply

The Applicant Guide to PG Taught Admissions provides an overview of the application process and the information you need to provide in order for your completed application to be considered.

Applications will be accepted until mid-September for the October start part-time courses and mid-August for the one-year MSc. Applications will be accepted until early December and early March for the January and April Pg Cert modular courses. Early application is advised as numbers are limited on these courses. Applications may be considered beyond the suggested dates if there are still places available.

Genealogical, Palaeographic and Heraldic Studies

Qualification: PG Certificate, Start date: Oct 2015, Mode of delivery: distance learning, part-time

Genealogical, Palaeographic and Heraldic Studies

Qualification: PG Diploma, Start date: Oct 2015, Mode of delivery: distance learning, part-time

Genealogical, Palaeographic and Heraldic Studies

Qualification: MSc, Start date: Oct 2015, Mode of delivery: distance learning, part-time

Genealogical, Palaeographic and Heraldic Studies

Qualification: MSc, Start date: Sep 2015, Mode of delivery: attendance, full-time

Genealogical, Palaeographic and Heraldic Studies

Qualification: MSc, Start date: Sep 2016, Mode of delivery: attendance, full-time

Genealogical, Palaeographic and Heraldic Studies - April

Qualification: PG Certificate, Start date: Apr 2016, Mode of delivery: distance learning, part-time

Genealogical, Palaeographic and Heraldic Studies - Modular

Qualification: PG Certificate, Start date: Oct 2015, Mode of delivery: distance learning, part-time

Genealogical, Palaeographic and Heraldic Studies - January

Qualification: PG Certificate, Start date: Jan 2016, Mode of delivery: distance learning, part-time

Genealogical, Palaeographic and Heraldic Studies - Modular

Qualification: PG Certificate, Start date: Oct 2016, Mode of delivery: distance learning, part-time

Discover more about Strathclyde