Logo of Royal Holloway University of London

MADocumentary by Practice

Tuition fee To be confirmed
More information

Expenses, accommodation, working etc.



We’re in the middle of a documentary renaissance. Documentary stories are being told in cinemas, on TV, in galleries, on tablets and on mobile phones. On this course you’ll learn about the technology that’s bringing improvements in documentary making, understand the ethical challenges that documentarians face, and face questions of authorship and authenticity. At Royal Holloway we nurture creative and challenging Filmmakers. The course offers a launch pad for outstanding careers in a growing field of filmmaking.

You’ll be taught by award-winning documentary filmmakers and commissioners: our tutors Marc Isaacs, Helen Littleboy and Victoria Mapplebeck, are all active filmmakers with industry contacts. They’ll give you insight into what commissioners are looking for in documentaries today and you’ll get real vocational experience by working on your own projects with established industry leaders.

Programme structure

Core modules
Ideas to Screen
In this module you will develop an understanding of the practice of documentary film making. You will look at eclectic notions of the genre, exploring the conceptual and formal challenges of creative documentary filmmaking, and examine ways of translating observations and ideas into both visual and aural imagery. You will also consider experimental forms of narrative, focussing on the the boundaries between fine art and documentary.

Foundations of Production
In this module you will develop an understanding of commissioning institutions and their political and financial structures. You will look at contemporary forms of distribution, from the internet to theatrical, and consider the three fundamental stages of production management in for documentary films – pre-production, production, and post-production. You will gain practical experience in the production of short taster tapes and the writing of proposals and treatments, covering the basics of budgets, schedules, copyright, legal compliance and marketing. You will also have the opportunity to participate in a number of field trips and attend sessions with industry experts.

Major Documentary Production
You will produce a substantial documentary production of 20-minutes in length. You will develop an understanding of documentary film genre and its changing boundaries, as well as emerging technologies and their impact on genre. You will look at the process of making a documentary film, from initial concept to final form, and the various stages of production. You will consider the current and changing platforms for documentary film, including cinema, television and the internet, and examine the ways in which the documentary industry is being reinvented.

Career opportunities

Our students have gone onto become award winning Directors, Editors, Animators and Producers. Recent graduates have been nominated for and won many awards, including The London International Film Festival, BBC Storyville, International Women’s Film Festival, Open City Docs, CineGlobe and The One World Media Award.

Apply now! Fall semester 2021/22
Application period has ended

Application deadlines apply to citizens of: United States

Apply now! Fall semester 2021/22
Application period has ended

Application deadlines apply to citizens of: United States