MA Documentary

Start date(s)
September 2023
Study mode
Full-time (1 year)
Part-time (2 years)

Tuition fees 23/24

Home (full-time, per year): £8,135

Home (per credit): £45.20

International (full-time, per year): £16,900

Faculty of Arts, Professional and Social Studies:
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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


MA Documentary students filming on location in Tanzania

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)

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  • 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.

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“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 Project
60 credits

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 1
30 credits

In this module you're introduced to media law and ethics for documentary makers and learn about documentary funding, distribution and marketing.

Optional modules

Reflections on Professional Practice
30 credits

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
30 credits

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.

Radio Documentary
30 credits

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

Interactive Documentary
30 credits

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

Documentary Post Production
20 credits

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
20 credits

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

Professional Placement
20 credits

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.

Industry Placement
10 credits

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

Research/Story Development 1
30 credits

In this module you're introduced to media law and ethics for documentary makers and learn about documentary funding, distribution and marketing.


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.

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Person sat using laptop


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 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

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Entry requirements

You will need:

  • a minimum 2:2 degree
  • 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

Additional information:

  • 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
  • IELTS English language requirement: 6.5 (minimum 5.5 in each component)
  • Pearson PTE Academic requirements: 64 (minimum 59 in each component for UKVI Purposes)
  • RPL is accepted on this programme
  • You will not be interviewed (unless the Programme Leader deems it necessary)

If you have any specific queries, please contact

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Please note: All international qualifications are subject to a qualification equivalency check via NARIC.

View country specific entry requirements

Contact LJMU's International Admissions Team for guidance on visa information. Further information is also available from our international web pages.

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Application and selection

Securing your place at LJMU

You will apply for the majority of postgraduate courses using our online application form. You should complete the form thoroughly and provide a detailed personal statement which reflects your suitability and aptitude for the 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.