Drawing from the literature on teaching qualitative research methods, our own research on the topic and our experiences in developing a qualitative research programme that celebrated its 30th anniversary in January 2006, we examine key trends and central issues in preparing qualitative researchers. Based in the US, Judith Preissle offered the University of Georgia’s first designated course in qualitative research in 1976 to five doctoral students in the College of Education. At that time, most aspiring qualitative researchers were being educated as she had been, through a combination of apprenticeship, extensive reading, bits on fieldwork in courses on other topics and trial and error experiences. This preparation had more or less adequately served the small minority of qualitative researchers working in the social and professional sciences to that point in time. By 2006, in contrast, over 50 doctoral students from fields across the university have graduated with our Interdisciplinary Qualitative Studies Certificate, preparing them to practise and teach qualitative research methods and design.