The scheme of study and instruction, with the associated series of assessments and certificates, is based on a tried and tested syllabus formulated after many years of experience. It fits students to apply their abilities to the methods and practice of genealogical research. It also provides a grounding for those wishing to follow a more broadly-based educational programme with a view to applying the skills acquired to the academic pursuit of the subject.
Universities and government bodies recognise The Institute's standards and qualifications for several purposes. The higher awards of The Institute qualify practitioners for membership of The Association of Genealogists and Record Agents. There are several levels, of which the highest academic award is the Licentiateship of The Institute of Heraldic and Genealogical Studies (L.H.G.). This is awarded to those who have demonstrated by examination, by thesis or dissertation, and by practice, their specialist ability at a professional standard. Fellowship (F.H.G.) is awarded to those who have added significant contributions to the studies and service to The Institute.
Students may attend a number of evening and residential courses, or gain knowledge and experience through other learning methods. There is also a more comprehensive course by home study, The Correspondence Course, which is accredited by the Open and Distance Learning Quality Council.
The following table illustrates the various routes of study and qualifications that are available.
Teachers of evening classes and family history groups are invited to submit their students for The Institute's assessments and examinations. Sample and mock papers can be downloaded from here. Each student will receive a report from the examiners regarding their submission and those who are successful will be awarded a certificate showing their proficiency at that level. We would also strongly recommend anyone teaching family history courses to sit our examinations. By showing that you are qualified to teach the subject, you will of course encourage your students.
Any persons who judge themselves to have reached the necessary levels by their own practice and experience, may submit themselves directly to examination at the level of Higher Certificate without previous formal schooling in the subject.