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Diploma of Family Historical Studies

I have limited experience in thesis/academic writing. Will this be an issue to complete the Diploma? This should be a consideration in terms of your capability to undertake a 20,000 word thesis. You may want to review past theses (email us at and we will send you a link to download prior theses to have a sense of what is required) and also contact us to discuss.

What is covered in the exam? The examination is a set of essay questions on general issues of family history research that you would have expected to have considered as part of both your Certificate and Diploma studies. Detailed names or dates of activities are generally not required but to have an appreciation for the issues around researching, obtaining records and methodologies.

Can I view a past thesis? Past thesis can be viewed in the Library at 379 Kent Street, Sydney (search the Library catalogue Thesis/A6/) - if you would give to receive a sample thesis electronically, email admin[at]

Is there an RPL process? (Recognition of Prior Learning) Not at this time - all Diploma candidates need to have completed the Certificate of Genealogical Research.

What if my family is fairly ordinary and therefore unlikely to generate enough information for a 20,000-word thesis? Some thesis feature prominent members of their societies whilst others are less so - that said, every family has a distinct story. This is another issue that we would happily discuss and in the meantime, it is worth considering the decisions and consequences that befell the family. Part of the these could include the social history of the times, background of their location and related local or world events.

What is the time commitment? On this question, it is difficult to be specific on and does relate both your experience in writing and the amount of research, with appropriate references, that you have undertaken prior to commencing the Diploma.

What is meant by a synopsis? See this link.

Who owns the copyright to the thesis? (Can it be utilised for a subsequent publication?) The students retain the copyright and could therefore utilise the research and work for publication.

What is the best advice from former Diploma candidates? Write often and find critical reviewers/proof readers that can support the readability of your work.


Who can I talk to about these courses? Email and we will get in contact. As a member or subscribing to the Society's news, you will be updated on regular information evenings and other related events.

Do I have to be a SAG member to undertake these courses?  For the Certificate and the Diploma at least for the duration of your assessments and candidature. Other courses will also specify membership requirements.

What don’t the fees cover? The fees may not cover additional webinars, texts, subscriptions or activities such as visits to archives or acquiring certificates to support gaining knowledge for the Certificate or research trips for the Diploma.

Are the Certificate and Diploma recognised under the Australian Qualifications Framework? No. The Society of Australian Genealogists is not currently registered with government regulators as a higher education provider. Courses, including our Certificate and Diploma are non-accredited and do not at this time result in the award of a qualification recognised with the Australian Qualifications Framework. We do, however, constantly review and adapt our courses in line with both the practices and standards of genealogical education given our extensive sector experience and with governance through a Diploma and Certificate Committee and the Society’s Board .

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