This MA will develop your skills and creative vision in documentary production. It enhances your understanding of the historical context and contemporary modes of documentary production against a backdrop of the wider issues in media production.
This Masters, a pathway of the MA Filmmaking, will encourage your understanding of the politics, aesthetics and ethics of documentary production, and the nature and diversity of documentary practice in contemporary society.
What we offer
The programme is housed in a new purpose-built media facility equipped with state-of-the-art teaching spaces including a range of digital cameras, Avid Media Composer, Final Cut Pro and Adobe Premiere Film Editing suites, Animation, Digital Special Effects, Pro Tools Audio Postproduction suites.
You will be able to make your own documentaries, learning and refining research, interviewing, self-shooting and editing techniques – but also have the unique opportunity to be part of a programme that includes specialised producers, cinematographers, editors, sound recordists and sound designers, so that you can develop the scope and range of your filmmaking by collaborating with them.
You work on at least two films during the year, culminating in a major production towards the end of the degree. In addition you can attend classes in related disciplines such as Cinematography and Editing and may collaborate with students across other specialisations on film projects. This framework is designed to provide you with a breadth of filmmaking knowledge combined with a high level of expertise in your chosen filmmaking discipline.
The MA encourages you to develop
- an awareness of documentary production techniques, ethics and aesthetics
- specific filmmaking and production management skills
- technical skills (including camera, lighting and sound editing)
- an understanding of the workings of the media and their broad cultural and social impacts
Our former students have gone on to win awards including:
- Best Documentary at the Exposures Film Festival
- Postgraduate Factual Prize at the Royal Television Society Student Awards
- Student Award at the One World Media Awards
They've also launched their own film festivals, worked on critically acclaimed films and documentaries, and have had their work screened at the London International Documentary Festival, National Geographic's All Roads Film Festival and Open City, the London Documentary Festival.
Our students say...
"From first-hand coaching from industry experts, access to the newest facilities and cameras, to fantastic mentoring – it was the perfect course to develop my skills and prepare me for a career in documentary filmmaking."
"The different theory courses provided both the history and ethics when filming documentary as well as providing artistic inspiration to approach reality in an innovative way."
Contact the department
If you have specific questions about the degree, contact Daisy Asquith.
What you'll study
For 2020–21, we have made some changes to how the teaching and assessment of certain programmes are delivered. To check what changes affect this programme, please visit the Programme Changes page
You will be taught the skills to be able to self-shoot and edit, but will also have the chance to work with specialised camera-people, editors and producers. You complete several short films and exercises, then make your own 15-25 minute documentary, during which you will fully explore research methods, visual and thematic storytelling, experimental and multi-platform formats and much more.
For two terms you will spend a full day a week in specialised contact with your specific programme convenor, plus a further day in Screen Lab working with colleagues across the programme in a Talent Campus-style project-led learning structure with:
- Exercises aimed at using your skills specialism in a variety of live shoot situations
You will also have a variety of research projects to undertake, as well as other module options.
You will take the following modules:
|Documentary: Specialist Skills||45 credits|
|Representing Reality||15 credits|
You will also complete a Final Project (90 credits), assessed by a portfolio of work and a viva that reflects your practice.
Screen School options
As well as your Screen Documentary specialism, you will choose option modules to the value of 30 credits to enhance your other skills and critical approaches. Examples of the modules available include:
|Social Activist Film||15 credits|
|Adaptation and Script Editing||30 credits|
|Archaeology of the Moving Image||15 credits|
|Camera Fundamentals||15 credits|
|Contemporary Screen Narratives in Practice and Theory||15 credits|
|Experimental Media||30 credits or 15 credits|
|Filmmakers Make Theory||15 credits|
|Film Producing Fundamentals||15 credits|
|Sound Design Fundamentals||15 credits|
|The Ascent of the Image||15 credits|
|Visual Storytelling||30 credits|
|Doctor Holby: Writing for Existing Continuing TV Drama Series||15 credits|
|Media Law and Ethics||15 credits|
|Practical Law for Film-makers||15 credits|
Please note that due to staff research commitments not all of these modules may be available every year.
What our students say
You should have (or expect to be awarded) an undergraduate degree of at least upper second class standard in a relevant/related subject as well as a level of practical experience from work in the arts or the media.
You might also be considered for the programme if you aren’t a graduate or your degree is in an unrelated field, but have relevant experience and can show that you have the ability to work at postgraduate level.
Because funding deadlines and requirements vary around the world, applications are considered on a rolling basis from February onwards and places on the programme fill up across the recruitment cycle. For this reason, we strongly advise you to submit your completed application as early as you can.
We accept a wide range of international qualifications. Find out more about the qualifications we accept from around the world.
If English isn’t your first language, you will need an IELTS score (or equivalent English language qualification) of 7.0 with a 7.0 in writing and no element lower than 6.5 to study this programme. If you need assistance with your English language, we offer a range of courses that can help prepare you for postgraduate-level study.
Fees, funding & scholarships
Annual tuition fees
These are the fees for students starting their programme in the 2021/2022 academic year.
- Home - full-time: £12260
- International - full-time: £24130
It’s not currently possible for international students to study part-time if you require a Student Visa, however this is currently being reviewed and will be confirmed in the new year. Please read our visa guidance in the interim for more information. If you think you might be eligible to study part-time while being on another visa type, please contact our Admissions Team for more information.
If you are looking to pay your fees please see our guide to making a payment.
In addition to your tuition fees, you'll be responsible for any additional costs associated with your course, such as buying stationery and paying for photocopying. You can find out more about what you need to budget for on our study costs page.
There may also be specific additional costs associated with your programme. This can include things like paying for field trips or specialist materials for your assignments. Please check the programme specification for more information.
Find out more about postgraduate fees and explore funding opportunities. If you're applying for funding, you may be subject to an application deadline.
How to apply
You apply directly to Goldsmiths using our online application system.
Before submitting your application you’ll need to have:
- Details of your education history, including the dates of all exams/assessments
- The email address of your referee who we can request a reference from, or alternatively an electronic copy of your academic reference
- A personal statement – this can either be uploaded as a Word Document or PDF, or completed online. Please tell us about your passion and aptitude for Filmmaking. What are your dreams and aspirations? How did your engagement with visual media develop, and how has it developed in terms of professional, voluntary and personal work?
- A 1-2 page proposal for a documentary film
- Examples of your recent work in a related field (eg moving image samples), preferably via a web link to your online portfolio – please upload this under 'additional' in your online application (NB the maximum file size you can upload is 20MB)
- If available, an electronic copy of your educational transcript (this is particularly important if you have studied outside of the UK, but isn’t mandatory)
- IELTS test results, at the point of application
You should emphasise your practical/theoretical experience in the arts or the media in your application.
You'll be able to save your progress at any point and return to your application by logging in using your username/email and password.
When to apply
Applications open in October and close on 1 June. Applicants are encouraged to apply early to avoid disappointment.
When are applications considered
Applications are considered in batches from February onwards so we would advise you to apply as early as possible.
Applicants who are considered suitable for the programme based on their application will be shortlisted to attend an interview. Overseas applicants who can’t attend an interview day are interviewed by Skype.
Find out more about applying.
If you are passionate about fashioning an exciting career for yourself as a filmmaker in an environment that promotes innovative filmmaking, this course is for you.
Our alumni are active in the film, media and cultural industries around the world, working and winning awards as documentary producers and directors.
Find out more about employability at Goldsmiths.