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    Edinburgh College of Art Logo
  • Study Type

    Full time available

  • Subject Areas

    Communication & Media Studies

    Creative Arts & Design

  • Start Date

    September

  • Course Duration

    MA:1 year full-time, MFA : 21 months full-time

  • Course Type

    MA, Other

  • Course Fees

    Tuition fees vary between degree programmes. Find the specific fees for your chosen programme on our website.

  • Last Updated

    25 October 2018

Course content

Programme description

This programme takes a practice-based collaborative approach to studying for an award in Film Directing (Documentary) that integrates practical film making with analysis of contemporary practice.

You will make a creative documentary or non-fiction film that defies genre definition and pushes the boundaries of narrative. We develop these through workshops and tutorials. You will work in an integrated framework that helps you question the form of your film and enables you to find the right language for your storytelling.

We encourage community ways of working that foster the exchange of ideas, with inspiration from international visiting film makers through the Scottish Documentary Institute and support from our team of documentary practitioners - our tutors are top professionals currently working in the industry as directors, producers, editors, sound designers or cinematographers.

An Avid edit teaching space, and screening space, help us encourage a fresh approach to emerging technologies.

  • Graduate films do well internationally, regularly winning BAFTAs, RTS Awards and awards at international festivals. Over the last five years our students and graduates have received an Oscar nomination and an Oscar shortlist. We work closely with the Scottish Documentary Institute, the University’s internationally-acclaimed research centre in documentary film making.

Programme structure

This programme is project-led and delivered through workshops and regular individual tutorials. It integrates practical studio work with theoretical and written studies from the screen cultures course which is run independently.

Your work is initially organised around micro-films that enhance your awareness of film language and your technical skills. Visiting lecturers deliver cinematography and sound workshops.

You will then prepare and shoot your graduate film, backed up by edit tutorials and project support from a tutor, before it is edited and finished with input from group crits and tutorials.

You may also attend or volunteer with Edinburgh Film Festival and the Edinburgh Pitch, to observe and engage with key players from the international documentary world.

Learning outcomes

  • challenge boundaries, encourage original thought, and develop intellectual and critical approaches to making films
  • combine the contemporary energy and discipline of current creative approaches to film practices with the professionalism of industry practices, in order to produce innovative and grounded work
  • facilitate the interrelationship between different cultural traditions, traditional and emerging screen technologies, and classical and non-traditional cinematic genres and conventions
  • ability to take risks with established forms of narrative
  • understanding of contemporary international documentary practice
  • practice based knowledge of the tools to make a short original documentary film from conception to completion

Career opportunities

Our students go on to a wide range of roles, including producer, director, writer, production or location manager, researcher, editor, assistant director, cinematographer, or journalist. Graduates have found work directing for the BBC and making work internationally for top broadcasters and film funds. Related fields include advertising, community films, academia or film development agencies.

Creative Skillset

MA/MFA Film Directing has been awarded the Creative Skillset Tick, the industry kitemark of quality, following a rigorous assessment process by experts working in the Creative Industries. The Creative Skillset Tick is awarded to practice-based courses which best prepare students for a career in the industry. Screen Academy Scotland is one of only 3 Screen Academies in the UK along with National Film School and London Film School.


Visit the Film Directing (MFA/MA) page on the University of Edinburgh website for more details!

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