Frequently Asked Questions

The International Institute of Genealogical Studies is a year-round trade school allowing you to take courses on your schedule. We do not adhere to quarters or semesters. We are a credit-based system. To earn your credentials, a post nominal in genealogical studies, it takes 40 credits minimum. The full credentials are a combination of 14 Methodology courses, 10-16 country or librarianship courses, and the remainder in electives.

For example:

American Records PLCGS (Professional Learning Certificate Genealogical Studies) is 14 Methodology/14 American/12 electives.

Canadian Records PLCGS is 14 Methodology/16 Canadian/10 Electives.

How to compute required credits for certificates: Looking at and counting the required country records group of courses in your interest area will tell you how many electives to fill into the full 40-course PLCGS credential requirements. Example: Australian has 11 required country record courses added to the 14 Methodology courses means you have 15 electives to choose to finish with 40 credits.

What certificates are available?

Please see our certification page under the Courses tab on the navigation bar where all certificate programs are detailed. They include Methodology, American Records, Australian Records, Canadian Records, DNA and Genetic Genealogy, Eastern European Records, English Records, German Records, Irish Records, Italian Records (Advanced Level in development), Librarianship, Scottish Records (Advanced Level in development), Professional Development.

How many credits and what does it take to graduate?

Each certificate has a set number of credits. Most require at least 40 credits to graduate. Each course is worth 1 credit. 

Graduating students with a PLCGS post nominal will have taken a full certification in Methodology, a specific country certificate (such as Canadian or American), and the remaining credits are electives. 

If you want to combine other certificates, you can strategically expand your skills by using your electives. One of the most popular currently is the American/DNA combination which still equals 40 credits. The Canadian/DNA combination is also very popular and that full PLCGS certification is 41 credits.

What does PLCGS mean?

PLCGS is the professional post nominal awarded to students that earn a Professional Learning Certificate in Genealogical Studies. When earned, a letter bestowing your post nominal will be sent to you along with the officially embossed and sealed graduation certificate.

What about older students?

The International Institute of Genealogical Studies is perfect for students of all ages. Whether you're taking courses for personal fulfillment or to start a professional genealogy career, we're here to support your goals.

Official Transcriptions

Please request your official transcript through the office by emailing all details to Include the name of the institute requesting the transcript, the name and title of the addressee, and the address. If there's a deadline you must meet, please let us know. For an official transcript, we're required to sign and affix the seal, then send the transcript directly to the responsible party at the other institute requesting your grades. We can send an unofficial to you, but it is not admissible as an official transcript.

Free Orientation Course 

Join the free Orientation Course to see how the various parts of your online courses work. Student accounts are free and so is the Orientation Course.

When Do Courses Begin? 

When you would like to start. There are a few very interactive courses like Lecturing Skills that require a specific confirmation date in order to plan for your student speaking presentation.

How Do Courses Work?

You can start any day of the month now as a benefit of our new learning platform on Moodle (our new learning management system for courses and grading). Only activate the next course (or courses) you intend to take. Do NOT activate every course in your student briefcase. Once activated, the timer starts ticking to completion. You can also watch the orientation to see how to take a class.

Each course has a set number of modules. Each module in any course is relatively equal to a week. The exam is also considered a module. If a course has 6 modules and an exam, the course will be open for 7 weeks. 

Courses are normally at your own pace from the time a course opens to when it closes. 

What About Homework Assignments?

Most courses have assignments included in the course material. Generally, assignments count for 30% of the final course grade and the exam counts as 70% of the course grade. We also include video when helpful to assignments. You'll find recorded videos at the bottom of your course and live teaching meetings in your Dashboard with a link to the virtual meeting. We currently use Zoom for live events. Past events will either be in your Dashboard with a video link to watch OR in the course at the bottom section, so all videos are kept together for your viewing in any given course.

  • Public assignments are presented inside a “Forum” widget of the course module which other students in that course can read. These are considered a classroom discussion.
  • Private assignments are inside a “Quiz” widget. They’re not readable by other students. Only instructors and admin can read them.

All courses and course elements are accessed online at, though links to videos will take you to YouTube in private sessions and live teaching meetings are held on Zoom. These are recorded for students if attending live is not possible. Course reading materials are online, inside your course.  

For reading ahead, you may purchase print versions of the course material if you’re a paper person who prefers to take notes physically and are not able to print them yourself.

Can I just order the print materials? No.

If you are not registered in the course prior to ordering course materials, the order will be canceled. ONLY students in the course have access to the course materials online or in print. Order print materials online and they will be shipped to you. Please allow additional time for international orders. US orders are sent media mail rate unless you intentionally choose differently or have spoken with the office. All orders are shipped from Montana.

Do teachers check on us? 

If we don’t see a problem, we will not distract you from your studies. If you’re struggling, we encourage you to contact us through the chat app or by phone or by email. We want to help. If we see you’re struggling, we will likely call or email you to ask if all is well, offer help, check in with you. These are not sales calls. They’re student advisory or assistance.

Don’t wait for us to call if you have a question. There are many more of you than of us. We do take students in order of request. We also give personal attention to each student during that time. Then we move to the next request. It’s perfectly fine to request an appointment, too. 

How Do I Get My Grades?

Grades are displayed after a course closes or you have completed all assignments and the exam.

How Do I Remit the Fees? 

Payment may be made by your choice of credit or debit cards. 
Other options like PayPal, direct banking transfer, and payment plans are also available. If you need assistance, please call our office at 1-800-580-0165 x1 or send an email to Credit card payments are highly secured transactions through Shopify.

Can I pay in my own currency?
Course fees are indicated in US dollars, but your own currency will show once you've entered your shipping address. Most common currencies are available.

We do not sell your contact information. 

Are fees refundable?

Course fees are refundable in the first week after purchase, less a 15% administrative fee. However, the IIGS difference is that we have grace and mercy for adults who are adulting. 

You may transfer to the same course in future course date at no charge before, during, or up to 14 days after a course closes. Only the incomplete course is affected. If you experience a family need, work conflict, or life complication that will interfere with your course session, please contact us so we can help you before the 50% fee applies.
You may also put your courses on hiatus by contacting the office at 800.580.0165 or by email Please be sure you receive a response that verifies your hiatus is approved.

How Do I Drop a Course?

Request to move to a future date through the office if your course has already started. Email or call: 800.580.0165 x1.

What if I need help with assignments or projects?

The International Institute of Genealogical studies offers free course virtual meetings regularly taught by institute staff and guest speakers, 30-minute personal tutoring sessions for a fee, mentoring for personal projects for a small fee determined by the project. You may also attend a free scheduled Zoom Virtual Meeting found on your Dashboard. 

**Frequently Asked Questions and Policies are subject to change without notice.