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Family History

Family history is for everybody. We all have stories in our family tree waiting to be told. The Diploma of Family History will give you essential knowledge and tools to bring the past to life through tracing your family experiences and understanding the historical forces that shaped them.

Taught by leading scholars in family history, and specialists in Australian, European and Asian histories, this practical course will assist you in exploring your family’s past and enable you to become more proficient and comfortable in a digital environment.

The Diploma teaches core skills in contemporary family history to research your ancestors and others, including planning and conducting online research, locating and managing historical data, and writing compelling family histories.

You'll learn how to use oral history, family heirlooms and photographs, as well as physical and digital archives to illuminate your family’s past. The Diploma of Family History focuses on understanding individual lives in their wider historical contexts, through investigating the impacts of events such as war, convict transportation, and migration.

The Diploma of Family History is fully online and taught over four terms. Students complete 8 units, each of which is completed over 8 weeks.

Term 4 starts 11 October 2021, Apply Now.

Learn about university terminology and definitions in our glossary

Course Options

Diploma of Family History

1 year min, 3 years max
Online and part-time only

View course details

The Diploma of Family History units are available to all Australian citizens; and for NZ citizens, Permanent Residents and Humanitarian Visa Holders provided all studies are undertaken on-shore in Australia.

Commonwealth Supported Places (CSPs) are available for all units in the Diploma of Family History. This means the student contribution cost of the units in this Diploma can be deferred under the HECS-HELP loan scheme for eligible students.

See Entry Requirements for more information.

Taught by leading academics in history, genealogy, and writing, our students are part of a thriving online community of passionate family historians.

Whatever your level of experience, this course will take your family history to the next level and develop your ability to trace the history of any family and tell their stories.

Free access to Ancestry.com Library Edition and the British Newspaper Archive. Access historical documents, photos, local narratives, oral histories and other resources from the 1500s to 2000s.

Pathways

At the University of Tasmania, we’ll help you get the skills you need to pursue a degree. We offer a wide range of preparatory and pathway programs, as well as short foundation programs, to assist in the transition to university.

Learn more about our pathways

Study options

The Photo Essay: An Introduction

26 Apr - 20 Jun 2021

Learn the basics of creating a powerful photo essay for personal, professional, or creative expression. You will work with media professionals and learn how to create, select, and edit photographic images and combine them with well-crafted text for maximum impact.

Convict Ancestors

26 Apr - 20 Jun 2021

Learn how to get "forensic" about the lives of past ancestors and interpret rich, sometimes disturbing evidence from historical convict, prison and court records.

Migrant Families

26 Apr - 20 Jun 2021

Australia is a migrant nation, with a rich and diverse mix of peoples, languages and cultures. Develop your archival and digital research skills and learn how to find Australia and New Zealand migration records and use them to tell your family’s migration story.

Introduction to Family History

19 Jul - 12 Sept 2021

A key unit for those new to family history and genealogy. You will learn how to plan, record and research family history as well as critically evaluate historical resources and communicate your findings.

Writing Family History

19 Jul - 12 Sep 2021

Develop key skills for the writing of fiction and/or non-fiction based on genealogical records. Learn to craft and polish engaging and readable multigenerational family history narratives.

Families and War

19 Jul – 12 Sep 2021

Discover more about your family's unique military past. This unit introduces you to researching online military records, and to contextualising diverse experiences of war with a focus on Australia and Britain during the First World War.

Writing the Family Saga

11 Oct – 21 Nov 2021

Adventure or romance, tragedy or triumph, legends of extraordinary feats or quiet tales of everyday struggles. Develop key skills for the writing of fiction and/or non-fiction based on genealogical records with an emphasis on crafting and polishing your family history narratives.

Place, Image, Object

11 Oct - 21 Nov 2021

Find stories in your family treasure through homes, heirlooms, albums and art. Find immediate ways to relate to your family's past with remembering, researching and communicating family history and memories.

Oral History

2022 dates to be confirmed

Learn about the important role of oral history in documenting family history and how to incorporate oral history into your research. You will also learn valuable practical skills on how to record, transcribe and share oral histories in written form.

Course breakdown

To graduate with a Diploma of Family History, you need to complete eight units.

There are four terms to the year with two units taught per term - one Foundation unit and one Introductory unit. This means you have the choice to structure your studies around your lifestyle.  There are no exams in the Diploma. Assessment activities could include online quizzes, transcription exercises, document analysis exercises, oral history interview transcription, short writing activities and essays.

You can study these units in any order you choose, but we strongly recommend commencing your course with Introduction to Family History.  

Visit the course and unit handbook to learn more about the individual units offered.

1

Foundation level

Choose four units to study

  • Introduction to Family History
  • Place, Image, Object
  • Writing Family History
  • Convict Ancestors
  • The Photo Essay

2

Introductory level

Study these four units

  • Families and War
  • Migrant Families
  • Writing the Family Saga
  • Oral History

Career outcomes

Lessons from the life of Sarah Wentworth

“I’ve been interested in family history for many years. One thing I loved about the Diploma was the diversity of the units. There was a unit on writing skills, one on photography, one specifically on convicts – I enjoyed every unit that I did and learning different approaches to the same topic.”

Ros Escott, Diploma of Family History student

Read more about Ros' story

Completing a Diploma of Family History develops skills and knowledge relevant to 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
  • education
  • volunteering and community activities
  • archives and library information systems
  • further studies in history, heritage and related fields
Further Study with a Bachelor of Arts or Diploma of Arts

The Diploma of Family History opens the door to further study at the University of Tasmania. Many of our students go on to pursue a Bachelor of Arts or Diploma of Arts. Students in these degrees are curious about the big questions of life, embrace the joy of open enquiry, and are on a life-long quest for knowledge and inspiration. At the University of Tasmania, you will be part of a distinctive academic community that cares deeply about the topics that we teach and study.

Study Experiences

Delving deeper into your ancestry

“The greatest benefit for me from completing the diploma was a greater understanding of the immense resources available to family historians and how to access them.”

Caroline Haigh, Diploma of Family History student

Read more about Caroline's story

Entry information

Entry requirements

The Diploma of Family History units are available to Australian citizens; and to New Zealand citizens, Permanent Residents and Humanitarian Visa Holders provided all studies are on-shore in Australia. You will need to have access to a computer and a reliable internet connection.

Tuition Fees

Commonwealth Supported Places (CSPs) are available for all units in the Diploma of Family History. This means the student contribution costs of the units can be deferred under the HECS-HELP loan schemes for eligible students.

For more information, refer to Domestic Student Fees.

The average student contribution for units in this Diploma is $1,812 in 2021. Please see the course and unit handbook for links to each unit page.

Credit for prior learning

The University of Tasmania aims to provide you with credit for approved prior study or equivalent professional experience which exceeds standard entrance requirements for courses. For more information please visit Recognition for Prior Learning.