Course information


1 year full-time

Scholarship information

Funding available

Course overview

We will be making some changes to the way our programmes will be delivered in 2021-22 to ensure we continue to respond to the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic. All programmes will be delivered in-person on campus with some specific sessions within each programme being delivered online in a pre-recorded format. Where necessary, changes will also be made to assessment formats.

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.

Creative Skillset

This course is accredited by Creative Skillset.

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:

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

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:

  • Masterclasses
  • Pitches
  • Role-plays
  • 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.

Compulsory modules

You will take the following modules:

Module title Credits
  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:

Module title Credits
  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

Download the programme specification. If you would like an earlier version of the programme specification, please contact the Quality Office.

Please note that due to staff research commitments not all of these modules may be available every year.

For 2021-22 and 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.

What our students say


"I'm able to tell the stories that move me"

"I am a Peruvian journalist with twelve years of experience in both broadcast and print news. Currently, I am studying the MA Filmmaking: Screen Documentary.

Searching for a masters programme was a long and difficult process. However, I eventually chose to study at Goldsmiths because the course was the most closely aligned with my interests. I also chose to study here because of its academic prestige and the practical nature of the course. I am learning to make documentaries as I make them! I am constantly encouraged to develop my voice and style to tell the stories that move me.

By studying a masters degree in documentary filmmaking, I will be able to produce and direct documentaries that do not appear only in festivals, but that can reach a much broader audience."

Amy Clegg

I feel very lucky to be a part of such a supportive and exciting course.

I came straight from sixth form college in Leigh, Wigan to study BA Design at Goldsmiths, I had a very limited understanding or knowledge of what art colleges in London were like but I knew I wanted to do a creative degree and be surrounded by creative people. The tutors, technical tutors and office staff of the Design Department were supportive in a wide variety of ways. I would say that my undergraduate experience was shaped by the truly lovely friends that I've made.

It was in my last year at University that I realised my interest in documentary film after making a documentary based on my mother's experience of caring for my Final Design Project. I currently study MA Screen Documentary in the Media, Cultural and Communications department and feel very lucky to be a part of such a supportive and exciting course.

I am immensely grateful to have been awarded a fee waiver bursary from the Media, Cultural and Communications department for the MA Screen Documentary course. The fee waiver has made it possible and financially feasible for me to study my postgraduate degree and it has given me greater confidence in the University for taking steps to try to ensure that people from ordinary backgrounds have the opportunity of continuing their studies in higher education institutions. Fee waiver bursaries mean so much to the students who receive them, they help to relieve financial pressures and instil confidence in the student and their creative voice.

My undergrad documentary on informal care, 'If I Get Like That Just Shoot Me', was officially selected and screened as part of the Best UK Student category at Bolton International Film Festival in October 2019 and has been officially selected and is a nominee for the Best Documentary award at Oxford International Short Film Festival in March, 2020.

I am currently filming for my Final Postgraduate Documentary which will tell the story of my Grandmother's experience of motherhood; more specifically being a mother to 13 children. It will explore the stigmas surrounding large families and a mothers choice.

Entry requirements

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.


International qualifications

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

If your fees are not listed here, please check our postgraduate fees guidance or contact the Fees Office, who can also advise you about how to pay your fees.

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.

Additional costs

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.

Funding opportunities

Find out more about postgraduate fees and explore funding opportunities. If you're applying for funding, you may be subject to an application deadline.


BAFTA scholarship
UK students offered a place on this MA are eligible to apply for the BAFTA Scholarship Programme. Find out more on our departmental funding page.

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
  • 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?

          Please see our guidance on writing a postgraduate statement

  • 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.

Student work

Trailer for Waiting for You, by Lisa Fingleton. Lisa's end-of-year film won many awards, including the Royal Television Society Student Award for best postgraduate factual film.
Trailer for Almost Famous, by Vincent Wu. A story about the dream of music, and becoming famous.

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