Genealogy Studies Program

Practicum Course

BU’s course for intermediate genealogy students looking to apply what they have learned to real-world cases.

Exploring Genealogy through Practical Experience

Boston University’s nationally-recognized Genealogy Studies Program includes cutting-edge genealogical technologies and research methods practiced by professionals in the field. Boston University’s online Genealogy Practicum course was developed in collaboration with and taught by premier genealogists in the country. Students will learn fundamental skills needed to develop written genealogical works while gaining practical experience conducting research on real-world cases.

The seven-week Genealogy Practicum course includes detailed instruction and hands-on practice to:

  • Develop strategic research plans
  • Document, analyze and correlate research findings
  • Compile family histories that document kinship between generations
  • Prepare proof discussions
  • Write quality research reports

Who Should Enroll?

  • Students that have completed BU’s Genealogical Principles course and want to put their skills into practice
  • Students who have already taken or would eventually like to take Boston University’s Certificate in Genealogical Research
  • Genealogists (including Genealogy Certificate program alumni) who want to sharpen their skills or challenge themselves working on real-world cases

Course Format

Boston University’s instructional team will introduce each case for students to work on, assist students along the way, and present conclusions to the five varying cases.

On the opening day of the course, a live session will take place where the instructor introduces their case and the parameters and guidelines for research. Students will be able to ask clarifying questions at the live session. Students will be required to either attend the live session or watch the recording.

During the initial three days of the course, students will engage with the course content, immersing themselves in the best practices related to the written work product that is the focus of the module (research plans, research logs, compiled genealogies, proof discussions, and research reports). Once students have worked through the course material and assigned readings, they will transition to actively working on their assigned genealogical case.

Instructors will provide written feedback to each student on the work product submitted, focusing on how they developed the work product. Students will learn more about the resolution to the case in a live classroom session on the final day of the module. Students who successfully complete the course will receive a letter of completion.


Recommended Time Commitment: 14 hours/week*

*This time commitment is based on individual knowledge and experience in the field.

BU’s Genealogy Practicum consists of five unique research cases spanning different geographic areas, time periods, and ethnicities. Guided by BU’s esteemed instructors, students will put the research skills they’ve learned into practice over the course of ten days per case by developing a specific written work product for each module.

Case One: Research Planning

Learn how to approach a research problem by analyzing the starting point information, identifying available sources, and then developing a comprehensive research plan that identifies specific details about the sources to be searched.

Case Two: Research Logs

Learn to methodically record key information about the collections searched, the sources that have been examined, and information extracted from those sources, and the evaluation of that source in the context of a research problem.

Case Three: Genealogical Compilations

Learn about genealogical compilations to organize familial relationships and document kinship within a family. Students will work on a case that involves research focused on placing individuals correctly within a family, and will develop a genealogical summary showing their work.

Case Four: Proof Discussions

Learn strategies for developing proof discussions, and conduct research on a case that requires the development of a proof argument to answer the research question.

Case Five: Research Reports

To wrap up the course, students will learn best practices for developing genealogical research reports and will resolve a case by presenting their findings and conclusions in report format.

Required Course Materials

The textbooks required for this course can be found on the Course Materials page.

Enroll Now

To learn more, contact an Enrollment Advisor at 617-502-8822 or complete the form below.

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