About postgraduate genealogy

Our postgraduate course in Genealogical, Palaeographic and Heraldic Studies offers an intensive practitioner-led University qualification.

The courses, intended for those with an existing interest and some experience in genealogy, have 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.

  • ASGRA (Association of Scottish Genealogists and Researchers in Archives) has agreed to admit PG Certificate and Diploma graduates upon application as Probationer Members.
  • AGRA (Association of Genealogists and Researchers in Archives in England and Wales) recognises the PG Certificate as a qualification in genealogy. This provides some exemption from the criteria required for application for membership
  • The RQG (Register of Qualified Genealogists) recognises the PG Diploma or MSc as acceptable qualifications for membership on the Register

Who is the course for?

The programme is aimed at existing or intending professional genealogists and those who wish to be recognised as such, or those who wish to study the area in detail to further their experience and understanding particularly for potential use in their careers.

It will be especially appropriate for the following professionals:

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

and 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

IT requirements

The course requires computer access at home and familiarity with the use of computers in genealogy (the course is standardised on MS Windows). Students will need to subscribe to or pay for certain online databases and services. (For more details please consult the FAQ document.)

Course structure

All delivery is online, using the University's Virtual Learning Environment (VLE), MyPlace.

Individual results are based on continuous assessment with tutor support and feedback.

Online discussion forums, written and audio lectures, multimedia presentations and (optional) real-time audio chat sessions are also used throughout the course.

There is no attendance requirement. However, there may be optional opportunities to visit Scottish and English archives. There are three-course levels within the Programme and most students begin with the PG Certificate before moving to the PG Diploma and then onto the MSc level.

The PG Certificate can be taken in 1-year or in modules over 2 years; the PG Diploma and part time MSc levels are each available as a 1-year option.

There is also a full-time MSc option which combines all three levels into one academic year. See below for details on this option. There are a few external equivalents to the PG Certificate which would allow direct entry onto the PG Diploma; if you are interested in learning more about these, please view our FAQ document and/or contact the Programmes Administrator.