Diploma of Family History – University of Tasmania
I’ve written before about the Diploma of Family History that I have been undertaking at the University of Tasmania. Well, today I lodged my last assignment to complete the course. I have now successfully undertaken the required 8 units in order to receive my Diploma. I have loved this course. Even as a seasoned genealogist, I have learned so much in this course. Today I will give you an overview of the diploma to see if it is right for you.
This fully online course consists of nine units but you are only required to complete four foundation level units and four 100-level units to receive your diploma. There are five foundation level units and four 100-level units. Each unit is of approximately 6 weeks duration with content released weekly, often including, one-week study break during the unit. Each unit has assessment unique to that unit and can include, but is not limited to, quizzes, essays, and oral recordings.
Foundation Level Units
Introduction to Family History – as the title would suggest, this unit gives you a very good overview of genealogy and how to start your research. This unit gave a good introduction to researching and provided me with some new skills even though I went in thinking I knew it all!
Writing Family History – this unit teaches you to write little stories, both fiction and non-ficiton, based on the records you have found. I loved this unit and have showcased some of the stories I wrote in Stories Under the Tree and The Lives of the Tree.
Place, Image, Object – this unit taught me how to care for, and write about, significant items associated with my ancestry. I must admit this was my least favourite unit of all of them. However, I did learn some great skills throughout it – you can read my Object Biography, the final assignment for the unit.
Convict Ancestors – in this unit we were shown how to access the wealth of resources available for Australian convicts. I LOVED this unit and have showcased what I learned about my convict ancestor, George Brand, here.
The Photo Essay: An Introduction – This unit aims to teach people to create a photo essay by bringing images and words together. Unfortunately, this unit was not available when I first started the diploma last year and by the time it became available I had undertaken all my foundation level units.
Writing the Family Saga – this unit further developed skills learned in Writing Family History by drawing on inter-generational knowledge to create stories. I loved this unit as I am a huge fan of historical fiction such as the many books by Judy Nunn – I must admit to having a secret desire to write a novel like hers!
Convicts in Context – this unit further developed what was learned in Convict Ancestors and taught me how to put my convict, George Brand, into the world around him.
Oral History – this unit taught me skills to conduct and record interviews to tell a narrator’s story. This was my final unit and I have just lodged my final assignment. It was very interesting and a skill I wish I had of learned many years ago. I have missed the opportunity to use this skill set with older generations who have since died.
Families at War – another very interesting unit that taught me where to find war records for my various ancestors. I learned a lot about putting my soldiers into a wider context of the military unit they served with by using unit diaries to follow them in their war.
The University of Tasmania website states:
Students who complete a Diploma of Family History could potentially work in the following fields: family history and genealogical research, creative writing, non-fiction writing, cultural and/or heritage tourism, local and regional museums, history and heritage consultancies, local and community history organisations, adult education, archives and library information systems
Whilst it does give a great overview of the field of genealogy I believe further study would be required in order to make genealogy a career. People in the United States are spoiled for choice in genealogy courses that would enable people to go on to make this a career. Unfortunately, in Australia, we are only just beginning to offer these types of courses. I really hope that the University of Tasmania continues to grow their offerings to offer an Advanced Diploma.
For eligible domestic students, HECS (Higher Education Contribution Scheme) Scholarships may be available. Foundation-level units may also attract a 75% HECS scholarship which means eligible students would only pay $205.03 per unit. However, the first foundation-level unit undertake is free with a 100% HECS scholarship.
The total cost of the course is $6560.96, however, for eligible students, the total cost is $615.09 for foundation units and $1640.24 for 100-level units. Therefore, someone eligible for HECS would pay a total of $2255.33 for the entire course.
Whilst you are enrolled in this course you have access to databases and library resources that the University of Tasmania has available. This includes the Library Edition of Ancestry.com.
I really enjoyed the Diploma of Family History and feel it is a great course for novices and experienced genealogists alike. I hold an undergraduate degree and so was used to the university way of conducting research and writing assignments. I didn’t find the assessments too taxing, but know some people did struggle with preparing assessments. However, there was always someone to help, either by contacting a tutor direct, or asking a question on the unit forum. There are also Facebook groups that students can join for each unit to get some peer support. The skills you would gain out of doing a genealogy course would be invaluable to your research. You may find records, like I did, that you didn’t know existed.