Telephone: +44 (0)1227 768664    Email:

Answering Your Questions

Some questions we are frequently asked about the Correspondence Course. Cannot find your answer? Please contact us and we'll be happy to assist.

What academic qualifications are needed to be accepted on the course?

A good general education is all that is required. Enthusiasm and dedication are the main qualities needed.

How much does the course cost?

The full cost of the course is £2,340 for UK based students or £2,780 for overseas students. To spread the cost, there are a variety of payment options. Further details can be found on the course booking section of our online shop.

Are there any bursaries available?

The Trustees of IHGS are willing to consider applications for financial assistance on a case by case basis if there are extenuating circumstances. In the past, several students have received funding from their local authority because of the vocational intent of the course.

Is there a limit on the time taken to complete the course?

Students are encouraged to complete assignments on a regular basis but there is no specific time limit as such. We believe that time should be taken to research each assignment thoroughly, as opposed to rushing through them and producing work of an inferior standard. As a broad estimate, the course will take a minimum of three years to complete if several hours are allocated to study each week.

What qualifications does the course lead to?

The course prepares candidates for the Higher Certificate in Genealogy examination. It is not compulsory to take the examination but many students join the course with this aim in mind.

What will I achieve by taking the course?

The course is designed to provide the student with an in-depth knowledge and wide practical experience of genealogical sources. As well as furthering your own personal research it will also enable you to reach the standard needed to pass the Higher Certificate in Genealogy examination. For anyone wanting to practice professionally, it is highly recommended that a minimum of the Higher Certificate in Genealogy is gained as this is evidence of an advanced level of genealogical competence. The Higher Certificate in Genealogy is a requirement for progression to the IHGS Diploma.

Is the course accredited?

The course is accredited with the Open Learning and Distance Quality Council (ODLQC).

How much research experience do I need to have before starting the course?

The course is suitable for both the experienced researcher, who wishes to take a formal course of instruction, and for those who are just beginning to research their family history.

What topics does the course cover?

The Prospectus provides information on the content of the course. More detailed information is in the Syllabus of Study.

How much of the course can I do without visiting an archives office?

Some of the assignments are in the form of essay style questions that can be completed from home. Others are of a practical nature and will require you to visit an archives office. Use of online resources is also encouraged throughout the course.

Will I be able to complete the course if I live outside the UK?

It is possible for most students overseas to complete the majority of assignments if they have access to a LDS Family History Centre or a major library that has a good collection of British genealogical material. More records are also available online. Small alterations can be made to some assignments, if necessary, to overcome any practical problems of access.

How long should the assignments be?

The length of an assignment will vary according to the question but 1500 words per assignment is a very rough guide for those of an essay-style nature.

Is there continuous assessment?

Yes, all assignments are graded. Those wishing to take the Higher Certificate in Genealogy examination may opt to have their grades for assignments put forward instead of taking the second paper.

Can I retake an assignment if I do not get a good mark?

This is not normally permitted, but in exceptional cases, the tutor may recommend an assignment is repeated in the light of his or her comments.

How long does it take for assignments to be marked?

Once assignments are received, they are passed on to your personal tutor. Usually, you should receive feedback from your tutor within a month of submission.

Who will be marking my assignments?

When you commence the course you will be assigned your own personal tutor who will be a member of the Institute's tutorial staff.

Can I ask my tutor or the Institute for advice?

One of the main aims of the course is for you to further your own research and if you have a specific research problem, you are welcome to contact the Institute or your tutor for assistance or discuss your research on the student forum.

Is my work confidential?

Your work will only be viewed by members of the Institute's tutorial staff who will treat it in the strictest confidence.

Can I submit and receive my work electronically?

Students are welcome to submit their work electronically, rather than by post. Lecture modules can also be downloaded from the Institute's website.

How much background reading is expected?

It is a good idea to investigate the holdings of your local reference library and read around the subject as much as possible with the time you have available. A bibliography will be supplied with every lecture module but this is only a basis for further reading.

Do I have to purchase any books?

No books need to be purchased if you are able to obtain them through the library system. Several books are also supplied by IHGS as part of the course. However, most students find it worthwhile to purchase a few core texts.

Am I expected to come to Canterbury for tutorials?

Tutorials are held regularly in Canterbury as they give students the chance to meet with each other and add to their knowledge and skills. Whilst attendance is not compulsory, it is highly recommended that students attend at least one tutorial because of the benefits these bring.

Is it possible to get in touch with other students on the course?

Contact with other students can be made through the Institute's online forum. From time to time, there may also be the opportunity for students to gather informally in other parts of the country.

How can I access the forum?

When you join the course you will be issued with a unique number and a password to enable you to access the forum.

Can I withdraw from the course at any time?

Yes, but no fees will be refunded if any assignments have been submitted as at that point, the student is deemed to have commenced the course. However, if fees have been paid in full, you will be entitled to receive copies of all the remaining lectures. If no assignments have been completed, a refund of fees paid will be made, less the Registration Fee, if withdrawing from the course within one year of enrolment.