About this course
This dynamic and practical Documentary MA from LJMU will develop your creative storytelling and multi-media production skills.
- Explore documentary making via a variety of platforms and media
- Develop skills in entrepreneurship and internationalisation
- Work with award-winning documentary makers and experienced journalists
- Undertake a placement with a professional media company
- Attend the UK's premier documentary festival, Sheffield DockFest
- Access to industry-standard technology and equipment
Develop the core skills required to become a successful documentary maker on this new Masters course. Through the exploration of practical camerawork skills, including sound recording, editing and interviewing, you will gain confidence in your craft, while the journalism modules will develop your skills in storytelling, interviewing and journalistic principles. You will also study and understand the laws which impact responsible journalism, including the latest media law and ethics.
Recently, a group of MA Documentary students accompanied Prof Serge Wich and MSc Wildlife Conservation and Drone Applications students for a trip of a lifetime, to use their expertise to document a wildlife conversation trip to the jungles of Tanzania. Prof Wich has dedicated his career to tracking animals in the region, including how to collect data on animal behaviour and the density of animals, mapping threats to various species, and mastering complex drone data collection skills. Watch a short promotional film produced by the MA Documentary students below.
The degree is taught by two departments in Liverpool Screen School: Media Production and Journalism. The collaborative nature of the degree means you will receive the best learning support, access to the latest techniques, academic research and opportunities to engage with key external partners including the BBC, ITV; Northern Lights Partnership; Nine Lives Media; Blakeway North; Lime Pictures; and the BAFTA award-winning companies Hurricane Films and LA Productions.
"I really enjoyed the MA Documentary, and am very grateful to have been given the opportunity to further develop the technical and storytelling skills learnt on the course. Using immersive technologies, my PhD will design and develop a toolkit aimed at reducing the risk of suicide attempts. Ever since the day I joined the University, LJMU has provided the platform for a very strong guidance system. Where students have the will, the tutors here make the way."
Salma Shalaby, student, awarded an LJMU VC Scholarship to study at PhD level
MA Documentary showreel
Watch this year's student showreel to see the breadth, depth and quality of the work MA Documentary students work on during their studies....
Tanzania field trip with MA Wildlife Conservation and Drone Applications
Fees and funding
There are many ways to fund postgraduate study for home and international students
The fees quoted at the top of this page cover registration, tuition, supervision, assessment and examinations as well as:
- Library membership with access to printed, multimedia and digital resources
- Access to programme-appropriate software
- Library and student IT support
- Free on-campus wifi via eduroam
Although not all of the following are compulsory/relevant, you should keep in mind the costs of:
- accommodation and living expenditure
- books (should you wish to have your own copies)
- printing, photocopying and stationery
- PC/laptop (should you prefer to purchase your own for independent study and online learning activities)
- mobile phone/tablet (to access online services)
- field trips (travel and activity costs)
- placements (travel expenses and living costs)
- student visas (international students only)
- study abroad opportunities (travel costs, accommodation, visas and immunisations)
- academic conferences (travel costs)
- professional-body membership
- graduation (gown hire etc)
There are many ways to fund postgraduate study for home and international students. From loans to International Scholarships and subject-specific funding, you’ll find all of the information you need on our specialist postgraduate funding pages.
Please be aware that the UK’s departure from the EU may affect your tuition fees. Learn more about your fee status and which tuition fees are relevant to you.
Further your career prospects
LJMU has an excellent employability record with 96% (HESA 2018) of our postgraduates in work or further study six months after graduation. Our applied learning techniques and strong industry connections ensure our students are fully prepared for the workplace on graduation and understand how to apply their knowledge in a real world context.
Discover the building blocks of your programme
Your programme is made up of a number of core modules which are part of the course framework. Some programmes also have optional modules that can be selected to enhance your learning in certain areas and many feature a dissertation, extended report or research project to demonstrate your advanced learning.
With tutorial support you will produce a long-form documentary based upon in-depth original research on a media platform negotiated with your supervisor.
Research/Story Development 2
The module commences with an initial period of lectures outlining important aspectsof production and academic research, eg: copyright law, risk assessment, productionpaperwork. Once projects have been approved by staff, students will workindependently with tutorial support and guidance.
This optional module will provide you with the opportunity to explore the development of compelling, tangible interfaces with engaging, dynamic content including digital text, images, effects, video and animations to create non-linear interactive documentary. It aims to:
- introduce the contextual framework within which you will use online environments to educate and inform across a variety of documentary genres/themes
- explore the theory and practice of engaging users of an online platform
This optional module will encourage exploration of sound recording and the use of soundscapes and sound effects in radio documentary production, thereby developing your skills. It aims to:
- provide an opportunity to undertake a substantial audio documentary project
- understand and apply journalistic interview skills when dealing with documentary contributors
- develop practical skills in sound recording and understand their application within documentary projects
This module provides you with an extended opportunity for supervised independent learning in an approved professional media environment enabling you to develop your skills and direct knowledge of working practices within factual programming and widen your contacts within the professional media industry. It aims to:
- develop your experience of the professional media workplace within factual programming
- help you to reflect on the experience in terms of professional practice and personal development
Reflections on Professional Practice
This optional module is designed to reflect on the production of your own output and the factors which influence it. It aims to:
- investigate the nature of professional media production/journalism skills and the effects of changing technology on output
- consider, through reflecting on personal professional experience, how professional issues shape output
- investigate the effects of political, social and economic factors on programmes e.g. documentary/journalism output through reflections on personal output
Media Production Project
This optional module is designed to allow you to identify an issue in your field and research it through the use of secondary or primary sources. It aims to allow you to research an aspect of production in depth.
Documentary Post Production
Through a series of workshops and short practical sessions students will learn about the post production process and editing workflow, including organisation of media files and grading. Students will develop an understanding and appreciation of documentary editing and filming for the edit. Examples of software includes: Adobe Premiere Pro, Da Vinci Resolve, Adobe AfterEffects, Adobe PhotoShop.
Documentary Craft Skills
This module introduces students to the grammar of production and allows them to acquire a range of technical skills, through a series of workshops, in the basic use of camera, microphones, lighting and editing software including an understanding of the grammar of editing. Students then develop an online portfolio demonstrating the skills acquired
Minimum of 80 hours of work placement within factual/documentary programming during the course of semester one. 14 hours reinforcement and supportive learning activities within the university.
Research/Story Development 1
In this module, students will:gain an understanding of the range of documentary genres;understand the legal and ethical considerations involved in documentary; Critically reflect upon the pre-production process in relation to published work andtheir own documentary research and development
An insight into teaching on your course
The majority of seminars, workshops and practical sessions take place on Tuesdays, with an intensive period at the start of semester one to kick start your learning.
You will be taught by professional, experienced and enthusiastic academic staff and practitioners from the media industry. Each tutor offers extensive and current practical industry experience in radio, television, interactive media, online journalism and documentary-making.
How learning is monitored on your programme
To cater for the wide-ranging content of our courses and the varied learning preferences of our students, we offer a range of assessment methods on each programme.
Assessement is mixed with practical modules usually based around portfolios of work including tasks aimed at the assessment of specific skills. Written assessments may include essays, reviews and reports.
You will have the freedom to produce your own Masters documentary project for a media platform of your choice.
Our staff are committed to the highest standards of teaching and learning
Christopher is a documentary film director, filmmaker, DoP and new media producer. He is the director of Hatch, a Liverpool based creative Ltd company that specialise in digital storytelling. He is a co-director of Iron Lung, a local Community Interest Company. Christopher is a fellow of the HEA Academy and works as an academic transferring knowledge from his professional practice to the teaching and learning environment at LJMU. His research interests are in interactive documentary, immersive and innovative documentary storytelling, new media convergent platforms and cinematography.
You will receive the best learning support, access to the latest techniques, academic research and opportunities to engage with key external partners.
Where you will study
What you can expect from your School
The School is based in the Redmonds Building, in the heart of the bustling Mount Pleasant Campus and Liverpool's growing Knowledge Quarter. Redmonds is shared by two Schools within the Faculty of Arts, Professional and Social Studies Liverpool Screen School and the School of Law - and Liverpool Business School, making for a rich blend of student learning experiences. The building is home to high quality lecture theatres and seminar rooms, broadcast studios, news rooms, media production suites, social spaces and a café. It is only a short walk from LJMUs Aldham Robarts Library, which contains all the resources you will require for your studies.
You will need:
Alternative qualifications considered
A Bachelors degree in a relevant subject (e.g. Journalism, Media Studies, Media Production; Film Studies, Politics, History, Sociology, Geography) with a pass of at least a lower second class.
Other international requirements
We welcome overseas applicants who will be considered in line with normal entry requirements. Students are expected to meet the following criteria: • Recognised qualifications equivalent to a British Bachelors degree in a relevant subject (e.g. Journalism, Media Studies, English Language, English Literature, History, Sociology) with a pass of at least lower second class. • Applicants whose first language is not English will be required to have an IELTS score of 6.5 (minimum 5.5 in each component) or an equivalent English language test accepted by UKVI.
Application and selection
Securing your place at LJMU
To apply for this programme, you are required to complete an LJMU online application form. You will need to provide details of previous qualifications and a personal statement outlining why you wish to study this programme.
When you submit your completed LJMU online application form, you will also need to submit your academic transcript or equivalent and an academic reference.
The University reserves the right to withdraw or make alterations to a course and facilities if necessary; this may be because such changes are deemed to be beneficial to students, are minor in nature and unlikely to impact negatively upon students or become necessary due to circumstances beyond the control of the University. Where this does happen, the University operates a policy of consultation, advice and support to all enrolled students affected by the proposed change to their course or module.