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Heraldry Online Course

This all-new Course was launched in 2015 to meet the needs of those who wish to acquire an in-depth knowledge of Heraldry.

The course, which is suitable both for beginners and for reasonably experienced heraldists, is designed to prepare students for the Examinations offered by the IHGS and the Heraldry Society. As such it covers the full range of heraldically useful sources to considerable depth, making it the best available course for those who simply wish to have the best heraldic knowledge-base so that their research is as good as it can be.


Students may enrol at any time by either by purchasing through our shop or completing the Enrolment Form and paying the full fee. All students are entitled to reduced fees for attending Institute day courses and seminar.


The pace of instruction will be determined by the time available to the individual student. There is no set time limit; students may complete the assignments at their own pace. However, it is perceived that the student is unlikely to gain full benefit from the course if it is completed in less than six months.


Students have the right to withdraw from the Course within 14 days of enrolment in which case a full refund of all fees paid will be made. After a period of 14 days, a Student will be deemed to have commenced the Course, and no refunds can be made.


The Heraldry Online Course prepares those students who wish to gain qualifications for examination by the IHGS and the Heraldry Society. Students who go on to undertake The Correspondence Course in Genealogy will be exempt from Lecture 20: Heraldry.

Progress through practical assignments and academic study leads to the Intermediate Certificate in Heraldry. Further practical experience and the submission of a thesis or dissertation can lead to the Diploma in Heraldry.

Further details concerning examinations are available from The Examinations Officer of the IHGS and the Heraldry Society.

The Course comprises 6 lecture modules to be downloaded. These lecture modules will enable the student to cover in full the syllabus required for the Examinations of the IHGS and the Heraldry Society.


Each lecture module contains, along with the lecture itself, a select bibliography, around which a programme of supplementary reading can be built is also provided. We do not recommend that the student should buy or even attempt to read every book listed, but we would encourage each student to read around the subject as much as possible.

Because heraldry is essentially a practical endeavour, each lecture is accompanied by one or more assignments designed to give the student knowledge and experience of heraldic resources. It will be appropriate for some assignments to be submitted in the form of an essay, whilst others may suit a tabular presentation.

Completed assignments should be returned to the Registrar, IHGS, either by post or by email. Receipt of assignments should trigger the release of the next module. You will be allocated a personal tutor, who should normally assess your assignments and return them to you within four weeks.

Aims of the Course

  1. To provide the opportunity for students from a range of backgrounds to gain the necessary resources and skills to develop and write up their ownresearch interests in heraldry in a systematic and contextualised form.
  2. To encourage students to extend, and reflect critically on the research skills and aims that they have been developing in their project work.
  3. To act both as a stand-alone course in its own right and as preparation for related post-graduate research in the same area.
  4. Where appropriate, to encourage co-operative work and/or collaboration with relevant external organisations.
  5. To prepare students for the Elementary and Intermediate Examinations of the IHGS and the Heraldry Society (taking these examinations is optional).

Course Outcomes

Upon successful completion of this course, students will:

  1. Have acquired an appropriate range of investigative and historical research skills and understanding so as to develop and write up aspects of their own research interests in heraldry in a systematic form.
  2. Have made effective use of appropriate documentary, oral and printed material and field-based sources to conduct enquiries into selected heraldic questions related to their own research interests.
  3. Have gained some general understanding of relevant findings, theories, debates and methods in selected areas, and the ability to use these critically and constructively and relate them to their own research.
  4. Be equipped to give informed assistance to others undertaking similar research work on heraldry.