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Masters Degrees (Genealogy)

We have 5 Masters Degrees (Genealogy)

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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. Read more

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

See the website https://www.strath.ac.uk/courses/postgraduatetaught/genealogicalpalaeographicheraldicstudies/

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.

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.


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.

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.

- 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.

Find information on Scholarships here http://www.strath.ac.uk/search/scholarships/index.jsp

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Programme structure

Core units
-Experimental Geographical Methods: Practising Post-humanism in Social Research
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-Researching Society and Space: Hermeneutics, Genealogy, and Critical Theory

Optional units - Optional units can change from year to year, but may include:
-Explanation, Causation and Longitudinal Analysis
-Geographies of Time and Timing
-Geographies of Knowledge
-Practical Statistics for Use in Research and Policy
-Post-colonial Matters

ESRC-funded students must take either of the following:
-Explanation, Causation and Longitudinal Analysis
-Practical Statistics for Use in Research and Policy

You will complete a research-based dissertation of up to 15,000 words. You begin work on the dissertation in May and submit by the middle of September.


The programme equips you for a career in high-level public research, business and the creative industries, and provides an outstanding academic training for prospective PhD students and for those seeking a Master's-level qualification.

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This Master's degree in politics considers the increasingly pressing political issues of population and demography. World population is growing fast. Read more
This Master's degree in politics considers the increasingly pressing political issues of population and demography. World population is growing fast: having trebled in approximately a century, the UN projects an increase from today's 7 billion to around 11 billion by the end of the twenty-first century. This unique programme explores where this growth is occurring and considers the environmental, economic, political and global implications for both developing and developed countries. We will consider policy debates and responses to population growth and stabilisation, as well as the effects of ageing populations on economies, welfare systems and defence and security. Under the guidance of expert academics, you will examine how ethnic, religious and national identities intersect with questions of resources and population around the world.

You will be introduced to a spectrum of methodological approaches, including quantitative techniques for analysing and projecting demographic change, discourse analysis of policy documents, and historical case studies of political debates and movements. There will be an opportunity to read some of the classic works on population, such as Adam Smith, Malthus, J. S. Mill and Marx, as well as to study more recent ideas, including demographic transition theory and the environmental concept of the Anthropocene. You will be invited to examine unique case studies using methodologies that include data analysis, critical theory (Marxism, genealogy and critical discourse analysis) and policy analysis.

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Our Department of Politics is a lively and distinguished centre of interdisciplinary research, with a strong reputation for the quality of our teaching. Some of the world’s most famous libraries are on our doorstep in Bloomsbury, central London, and you can walk down to Whitehall, where Parliament and the UK’s most influential and important think-tanks and centres of political research and analysis are located.

Our departmental building was once a key location for members of the Bloomsbury Group, so you could be studying in rooms that have hosted distinguished visitors, including T. S. Eliot, George Bernard Shaw and Maynard Keynes.

Why study this course at Birkbeck?

This Master's degree is distinctive, combining theoretical and critical perspectives on population and ecology with empirical approaches and real-world case studies.
The programme allows you to follow your own interests, with a wide choice of option modules, while developing your research skills and undertaking a dissertation in an area that interests you.
Our location in central London puts us at the heart of the UK’s political life and at the centre of academic London. You can walk down to Parliament and Whitehall, while Bloomsbury contains some of the world’s most famous libraries and centres of research.
You can take advantage of the rich research collections nearby, including Senate House Library, which is right next door to Birkbeck, the British Library, which is 5 minutes’ walk away, and the British Library of Political and Economic Science at the London School of Economics, which is walkable from Birkbeck.
Our Department of Politics was ranked 12th in the UK in the 2014 Research Excellence Framework (REF) results and is a world-renowned centre of original, influential research.
The department organises a lively programme of seminars and conferences and is home to affiliated research centres, such as the Centre for the Study of British Politics and Public Life, which run seminars, conferences and other events where some of the world's best scholars present their latest research.
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Birkbeck Library has a large politics collection, including the major specialist journals, and provides you with access to an extensive range of online materials.

Our research

Birkbeck is one of the world’s leading research-intensive institutions. Our cutting-edge scholarship informs public policy, achieves scientific advances, supports the economy, promotes culture and the arts, and makes a positive difference to society.

Birkbeck’s research excellence was confirmed in the 2014 Research Excellence Framework, which placed Birkbeck 30th in the UK for research, with 73% of our research rated world-leading or internationally excellent.

In the 2014 Research Excellence Framework (REF), Politics at Birkbeck was ranked 17th in the UK.

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