2025/26 entry Applications also open for 2024/25

MA Documentary

Start date(s):
Study mode:
Course duration:
1 year

Tuition fees

Home full-time per year
International full-time per year
General enquiries:
0151 231 5090
International admissions

Send a message >

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


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

Additional costs

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.

This MA will help you to develop into an adaptive, creative and self-reflective story-teller, with industry-relevant craft skills and the ability to produce documentaries for a variety of audiences, in a range of media forms.

I chose to study the MA Documentary because I wanted to work towards a career that could be both creative and make a difference. To me, that's what documentary making is all about."

Saoirse Crean, student, now working as a documentary producer in network TV

The student experience

Discover life as a postgraduate student at LJMU.

Course modules

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.

Core modules

Documentary Production
30 credits

This module represents the programme's main focus for developing advanced practical production and post production skills. Lectures and workshops form the basis of the module with students undertaking self-directed learning, supported by one-to-one tutorials, to develop and enhance their core practical skills and develop key specialisms. This will be demonstrated by practical assignments which comprise the portfolio and the accompanying reflective commentary will demonstrate an informed knowledge of documentary practice and the ability to critically evaluate and assess their own work and the published work of others that informs their own practice.

Research & Story Development 1
30 credits

This module is designed to help students develop core narrative and storytelling skills, including the critical analysis required to research and develop an initial story idea into their masters documentary project, which constitutes the major documentary of the programme award. 

Documentary Platforms
30 credits

This module is an opportunity for students to explore a range of technical skills in the development of compelling, tangible narratives on different media platforms, such as audio interfaces and non-linear interactive interfaces, producing engaging, dynamic content, including soundscaping, digital text, images, effects, video and animations. 

Research & Story Development 2
30 credits

Working to a story brief negotiated with module tutors in semester one, this module is designed to equip students with the advanced research skills including an understanding of ethical considerations, with support, in order to deliver their final masters project, on a media platform of choice. 

Documentary Project
60 credits

This module is designed to allow students to demonstrate mastery of storytelling within their chosen subject area, by the production of a documentary on a media platform of their choice, which they have driven and managed, including all relevant research. This constitutes their final masters project. An accompanying written reflective commentary is designed to demonstrate advanced skills in critical thinking


An insight into teaching on your course

Study hours

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.

Teaching methods

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.

Course tutors

Our staff are committed to the highest standards of teaching and learning

You will receive the best learning support, access to the latest techniques, academic research and opportunities to engage with key external partners.

School facilities

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 LJMU's Aldham Robarts Library, which contains all the resources you will require for your studies, and is open seven days a week.


Entry requirements

You will need:

Qualification requirements

Undergraduate degree

  • a minimum 2:2 degree

Alternative qualifications considered

  • Although most applicants will be graduates, those without a degree and other non-standard applications will be considered. The Programme Leader will consider such applications on the basis of experience

Additional requirements

  • Interview required

    • You will not be interviewed (unless the Programme Leader deems it necessary)

International requirements


    • IELTS English language requirement: 6.5 (minimum 5.5 in each component)

Further information

  • Extra Requirements
    • to demonstrate a genuine interest and commitment to practical filmmaking (non-media graduates)
    • to demonstrate the ability to benefit from and contribute to the programme
  • RPL

    • RPL is accepted on this programme

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.

Further information on the terms and conditions of any offer made, our admissions policy and the complaints and appeals process.