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Documentary Practices (MA)

Course Description

UCA Farnham

Our MA Documentary Practices course will allow you to undertake cross-disciplinary work between new media, photography and film, positioning the course in response to new trends and discourse within creative documentary practice.

Your outcomes could be in photography, film, interactive or web-based formats - and we'll encourage you to exploit recent developments within the industry.

Have a question? Just ask us - http://www.uca.ac.uk/ask-uca/

Student work


Course overview

We aim to develop you as a thinking practitioner and help you to manage your career in a freelance industry. You'll learn to analyse and synthesise knowledge and understanding of your subject area on our course, and demonstrate your critical and reflective practice.

Tutorials, lectures, workshops, seminars and critiques support the development of your research and practice. As part of the course, you'll be expected to undertake some form of professional practice such as a work placement.

Course content

Stage 1 -

You'll be introduced to the University and the technical workshops and facilities available to you. The first stage includes a range of lectures and seminars and you’ll start to explore your creative practice;

Critical Contexts: This explores the contemporary and historical contexts of media production. Current theories about media, communication and digital cultures will be examined through questioning ideas around representation, time, technologies and storytelling.

Skills and Development: Documentary Practice: Allows you to further your knowledge and technical ability within your own documentary practice. Through a series of practical workshops and lectures, you'll cover pre-production and research, budgeting and scheduling, self-shooting and sound recording, interviewing techniques, editing and web based production.

Stage 2 -

During stage two you begin developing your MA project, evaluating and testing out the aims of your proposal over a sustained period of self-directed study;

Production: Work undertaken in this unit should build on the research questions you initiated and explored in the skills and development unit. This is the period within which you'll undertake the majority of your production work in gathering material for your documentary practice. Within this unit, you may decide to undertake a number of separate 'tasks' with a coherent set of aims or a single project spread across the unit. Throughout the unit, you'll be encouraged to critically reflect on the development of your project.

Stage 3 -

In the third stage of the course, you'll apply the knowledge gained through your research to create a final body of work;

Project Delivery and Professional Context: Documentary Practice: This allows you to reflect on the work that you've produced so far, and resolve it into a form that allows for completion and delivery of your documentary practice.

Programme specification - http://webdocs.ucreative.ac.uk/Documentary_Practices_MA_F_Pspec_201314-1377248280001.pdf


Film studios - Recently refurbished purpose-built film studio with dedicated technical support from industry specialists

Sound editing suite - Sound editing and mixing suites which include software such as Avid Media Composer, Symphony Nitris and Pro Tools

Digital media suites - Digital media suites with Macs and PCs with latest programmes for film editing as well as general design work

Media stores - On campus media store with good supply of 16mm, super 16mm, digital HD video cameras and high-end sound recording equipment to hire

Course staff

Claire Barwell - http://www.uca.ac.uk/staff/claire-barwell/

International study

Find out more about studying in the UK, or studying part of your course abroad at one of our partner institutions (study abroad option not available on all courses).

Studying in the UK - http://www.uca.ac.uk/international-study/

Studying abroad - http://www.uca.ac.uk/study/study-abroad/

Course connections

On this course, you'll be exposed to a world of opportunities


This course prepares you for a career within the specialised field of documentary practice, and also equips you with a range of versatile skills that open up a broad variety of career paths. Broadcasters and film funds worldwide have commissioned alumni from related UCA courses such as Film Production.

Graduates have gone on to work in a range of roles within the industry, such as:

- Directors
- Producers
- Editors
- Eesearchers.

Potential careers for students undertaking this course might include work in archives, curating or distribution.

::Further study::

You may want to undertake further study or research to specialise even more.

Your portfolio

For this course, we'll require an online portfolio for assessment. Further information on how to compile a portfolio and the process for submission of your work will be provided on the Applicant Portal.

Student regulations

Find out more about the operation of our courses, student conduct, assessments and examinations - http://community.ucreative.ac.uk/student-regulations

Visit the Documentary Practices (MA) page on the University for the Creative Arts website for more details!

(Student Profile)

Stacey Filatova

"The course gave me an unforgettable experience of creating my first serious documentary film. It helped me to understand all the aspects of the process on a professional level, while i was having a great fun trying new things. The course helped me to find a hobby and a great profession all in one."

(Student Profile)

Felix Attard

"The course was a great opportunity to learn about the fundamentals of documentary making. The hands-on approach, complemented by a sound theoretical perspective, not to mention the availability of top notch equipment and tutorials that were delivered by professionals working in documentary, offered a complete learning experience."


Entry Requirements

A good honours degree (normally 2.1 or above) or equivalent qualification in your chosen subject or a related discipline and/or Relevant work experience, demonstrating your ability to study at postgraduate level.

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