Oral History Australia
Giving Voice to the Past

How to get started with Oral History


Oral History Courses at Australian Universities

New South Wales

University of New England, Armidale

UNE has taught oral history since the early 1980s.  The specific oral history unit is HIST376 (at undergraduate level) and HIST476 (at postgraduate level) is part of a suite of applied history units that are available to internal and external students. 

The unit materials are delivered online, and there are online discussion forums. You can study from home.

UNE also offers the following dedicated history courses. At undergraduate level:

At postgraduate level:

There is also the opportunity to do postgraduate research in oral history as part of a masters coursework program] or as a focus for higher degree research for MA Honours or  a PhD.

Contact: Janis Wilton– jwilton@une.edu.au



Queensland University of Technology (QUT), Brisbane

QUT has three oral history related courses. KCP415 Co-Creative Media: Digital Storytelling https://www.qut.edu.au/study/unit-search/unit?unitCode=KCP415, (2016)  KWP420 Transmedia Storytelling: From Interview To Multi-Platform https://www.qut.edu.au/study/unit-search/unit?unitCode=KWP420  and a new unit running this year (2016) KKP414 Digital Writing: Word Under Glass at https://www.qut.edu.au/study/unit-search/unit?unitCode=KKP414  All of  these are post graduate courses run at QUT.  Students who are studying at other universities are welcome to do the unit as an elective, if their university lets them.

Anyone can enrol in these courses, even if they are not enrolled in a course. QUT also offers a variation of these as a CPE (Continuing Professional Education course) which means it is a little cheaper and you do not have to do all the assessment.

QUT also runs these a couple of times a year in intensive mode. These are only available for internal participants (you have to physically be in Brisbane)
Contact: Helen Klaebe  - h.klaebe@qut.edu.au


University of the Sunshine Coast, Queensland (USC)

HIS230: Talking History: Memory and the Past is offered to undergraduate students on campus every year in semester two. It introduces students to the theoretical, methodological, ethical and practical aspects of oral history, enabling them to undertake their own oral history projects in a professional manner.

Contact: Francesco Ricatti fricatti@usc.edu.au


Monash University, Melbourne, Victoria 
Monash University's History Program supports graduate research in a wide range of fields including oral history and memory studies, public and applied history, holocaust and genocide studies, medieval and religious history, and Australian, Asian, European or North American history.  Postgraduate research students can undertake doctoral research, or can take a Masters by research or a Masters   that combines coursework with research. Further details at http://artsonline.monash.edu.au/graduate-research-programs/historical-studies-program/   

Some of the units (including Al Thomson's 'Recording Oral History: Theory and Practice' graduate unit, can be taken by extension (ie as a distance unit) - Students not taking a research degree but wanting to enrol and pay for a single unit are able to apply so long as they have the prerequisites for graduate study. 
To discuss graduate options, contact: Alistair Thomson  alistair.thomson@monash.edu  


South Australia

University of South Australia, SA 

Oral History Workshop (HUMS 3044) is a 13 week course offered every year in the second semester, both internally and externally.  It is offered as part of a history major in the Bachelor of Arts: Indigenous Cultures and Australian Society. However, like QUT, anyone can enrol in this course, even if they are not enrolled in a program. We also accept cross-institutional enrolments.  The workshop covers oral history theory and practice, combined with archival retrieval methods and aims to produce well-rounded oral historians.
Contact :  Sue Anderson Sue.Anderson@unisa.edu.au  


Columbia University in New York also offers an Oral History Master of Arts Program and a Summer School in Oral History: http://oralhistory.columbia.edu




Accredited Oral History Training now available in Australian Vocational Education Training (VET) Sector

is now available to be taught Australia wide.  It comprises
three workshops with assessments to be completed.

Practical tasks to be completed to gain the qualification include:
  • Complete assessment workbook containing activities including answering questions re ethical practice.
  • Learn how to write a letter of invitation and informed consent to suit your project.
  • Complete an interview.
  • Keep a reflective journal to evaluate the interview context.

Course Costs:
Course costs will be determined by the organisation hosting the training.

Trainees or participants who complete the three workshops, an interview and their assessment workbooks will be awarded their certificate issued by the Goolarri Media Enterprises (GME) Registered Training Organisation No.51278.[i]

Recognition of prior learning

If you have completed other oral history courses, workshops or interviews you can apply for 'recognition of prior learning' (RPL). 
RPL is a way of using your existing skills, knowledge and experience to gain your formal qualification.  You will be required to meet the performance criteria for the unit of competency Record and Document Community History AHCILM404A.

COURSE COSTS: $180 no GST applicable

Qualifications required to teach
To teach the accredited oral history course trainers must hold the following qualifications:
  • ANCILM404A Record and Document Community History
  • A current Certificate IV in Training and Assessment and then work with a Registered Training Organisation (RTO) authorised to issue the oral history certificate.

A Diploma of Teaching or Bachelor of Education provides you with the skills to teach adults but does not give you the correct credentials to teach, train and assess within Australia's Vocational Education and Training (VET) sector.

For further details and advice how to proceed contact
Elaine Rabbitt  elaine.rabbitt@gme.com.au 

Having your knowledge and expertise recognised professionally and gaining the certification is a stepping stone for further learning and possible employment opportunities to teach the accredited course.

[i]Rabbitt, Elaine (2015, June), Record and Document Community History: A nationally accredited oral history training course. GME Broome, Western Australia





Enjoy a unique Broome experience at the Goolarri Media Enterprises oral history winter school.   The winter school comprises three consecutive workshops and upon successful completion participants are awarded with a nationally recognised statement of attainment: AHCILM404A Record and Document Community History, issued by Goolarri RTO No: 51278

The training will be delivered by Dr Elaine Rabbitt who has developed the course.

Who should attend?

Those wanting to gain an accredited oral history qualification:

Community members, historians, museum and interpretive centre staff, librarians, students and academics.

COURSE COSTS: $395 (NO GST)         

Includes enrolment fees, resources, participant handbook, assessment

Course inquiries contact Elaine: Ph: 0439985229 or elaine.rabbitt@gme.org.au

Photo: Jodi Nerdoff, a graduate of the nationally accredited oral history program.