Review of BU’s Genealogical Research Certificate Program

It’s been a little while since I’ve finished the program but the content is still fresh in my mind, so now is the perfect time to write a review with my experience.  I signed up for Boston University’s Genealogical Research Certificate Program back in March or April of this year and began the class in May.  Luckily, I discovered a group for course participants (past and future) on Facebook and asked the group what to expect.  The group answered candidly and told me to expect to kiss my social life goodbye and explained that it would take anywhere from 30+ hours a week to successfully complete the class.  Had I not asked, I would have expected that it would have taken 15 hours a week (per the course website) and may have not been prepared.  Luckily, I knew the expectations and was ready from day one.

The course is broken up into modules that are focused around the following topics which you can learn more about here:

  • Foundations of Genealogical Research
  • Problem Solving Techniques and Technology
  • Evidence Evaluation and Documentation
  • Forensic Genealogical Research
  • The Professional Genealogist

Each module is challenging but rewarding and fun.  At times, I felt like I didn’t have enough time to finish some of the more involved assignments (with my full-time job naturally taking precedence) but with some late nights and determination, I was able to complete the class with an A average.  Each module consists of a teaching instructor with varying experience across a wide spectrum of genealogical focuses.  While all instructors were fantastic, my favorite was a woman by the name of Julie Mitchutka.  I loved her teaching style and appreciated how she approached the course.

While one may think that online classes are easier because they’re online, I beg to differ.  This class was truly one of the most involved classes I have ever taken and the live classrooms, the message boards and more helped us all stay connected.  It is offered three times per year and while I personally took the summer class (in order to help prepare me for a big trip to Ireland in the Fall), I would recommend trying out the class when you don’t mind giving up your social life for a bit — i.e. the colder months).

The class is rather expensive, so it isn’t for the faint of heart (both mentally and wallet-wise).  You’ve got to make sure that you’re committed and prepared.  Knowing what I know now, would I do it again?  Absolutely.  I’m looking forward to learning even more as education is never truly finished.  Thanks to Boston University for this valuable opportunity.


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