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Documentary MA

Course fees (2018/19 entry)

Option / fee Value
Home full time annual tuition fee: £6,250
Home cost per credit: £34.75
International full time annual tuition fee: £14,450

More about course fees »

Course type

MA

School

Liverpool Screen School

Study mode

Full Time & Part Time

About your course

A dynamic and practical documentary programme to develop your creative storytelling and multi-media production skills. The programme will include lectures, workshops and opportunities to learn from professional media experts.  You will also be encouraged to forge contacts with media companies and undertake a professional placement to enhance your employability in this creative sector

  • Explore practical documentary making on a variety of media platforms
  • Work with award-winning documentary makers and experienced journalists
  • Study in the £38 million Redmonds Building and enjoy full access to Liverpool Screen School's state-of-the-art facilities
  • Undertake a placement with a professional media company

​You will be encouraged to be creative, innovative and professional in your approach to this degree and the work you do with media partners.

Professor Rachel McLean, Director of Liverpool Screen School​

Introduction to the School

The Liverpool Screen School offers a warm and friendly environment founded on a strong commitment to nurturing and supporting creativity while offering excellent learning resources and first-class student support.

International expertise

You will be taught by professional, experienced and enthusiastic academic staff with extensive and current practical industry experience.

The School is part of the BBC North Developing Talent Scheme and the Journalism teaching team has a growing international reputation and has formerly won contracts with the British Council to liaise with universities abroad. The team is involved in a range of international projects and is developing links with various countries. The department also has close links with local and national news organisations, including the BBC and ITV.

Staff have all worked in the industry and have years of experience in print, radio, television and online journalism. Many have an excellent record of research and publications in Journalism and International Relations.

Liverpool is a truly international city with a thriving journalism industry. The city has one of the country's largest and most successful evening newspapers (the Liverpool Echo) and a successful magazine industry. There are several television companies in the city including the BBC and Granada TV as well as Lime Pictures -  creators of Brookside and Hollyoaks.

Top class facilities

The School is based in the Redmonds Building, located in the heart of the bustling Mount Pleasant campus and Liverpool's growing Knowledge Quarter. The Redmonds Building is shared by three Schools within the Faculty of Arts, Professional and Social Studies – Liverpool Business School, Liverpool Screen School and the School of Law - making for a rich blend of student learning experiences.

As well as broadcast studios, news rooms and media production suites, you will have access to high quality lecture theatres and seminar rooms, social spaces, and the ground floor Starbucks cafe.

The Redmonds Building is only a short walk from LJMU's Aldham Robarts Library, which contains all the resources you will need for your studies. It is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Why study this course at LJMU?

Liverpool Screen School has significant links with regional media companies.

Our industry partners include the BBC, ITV Northern Lights Partnership; Nine Lives Media; Blakeway North; Lime Pictures; and the BAFTA award-winning companies Hurricane Films and LA Productions. By working closely with industry partners around Liverpool, the country's most filmed city outside London, we are pivotal in the region's thriving media industry.

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.

​An Industry Placement module will offer opportunities for students to gain invaluable work experience and develop primary industry contacts.

The programme can be studied by International students, who will have the opportunity to do a work placement in their country of origin, improving their future employability at home and allowing their final MA project to be produced there via distance learning. 

Programme outline and structure

This new practice-led masters degree focuses on documentary making on a variety of platforms, enabling you to develop the core skills required to become a successful documentary maker.

​Through the exploration of practical camerawork skills, including sound recording, editing and interviewing, you will become confident in your craft, while the journalism modules will develop your skills in storytelling, interviewing and the various journalistic principles.

You will also study and understand the laws which impact responsible journalism, including the latest media law and ethics.

​The degree is taught  by two departments in Liverpool Screen School; Media Production runs a popular and highly successful undergraduate degree which develops students to become confident and independent media developers. The Journalism department has offered undergraduate and postgraduate degrees for many years and continues to produce well-skilled graduates ready for the workplace. The collaborative nature of this degree means you will receive the best learning support, access to the latest techniques, academic research and opportunities to engage with key external partners.

What you will study on this degree

Please see guidance below for further information on what you will study.

Documentaries in Context

Gain insights into different documentary genres, media law and ethical considerations and learn how independent documentary makers fund, distribute and market their films

Craft Skills

For those with little or no filmmaking experience this module will teach basic skills in camera, sound, lighting and editing

Advanced Production Skills

Students can tailor the advanced production skills they wish to learn: for instance, focus on learning to film with drones and/or steadicams etc. There will also be the opportunity to learn digital post-production skills such as Photoshop and After Effects

Industry Placement
Gain the opportunity for work experience in a professional media company

Reflections on Professional Practice

For those already working in the professional media industry, this module allows you to reflect on your own personal and professional experiences

Media Production Practice
Specifically for professional practitioners, this module enables you to examine the context of your practice, informed by broader perspectives of the media industry and research into aspects of documentary production

Radio Documentary, including podcasting
An opportunity to learn radio documentary production, with an emphasis on advanced sound recording, interview skills and soundscaping

Interactive Documentary
Explore online media platforms through the development of compelling, tangible interfaces to create a non-linear, interactive documentary

Research/Story Development
In preparation for your final Masters documentary project, this module encourages you to identify and develop your documentary idea. You will produce a detailed research document, including production paperwork and a story treatment and deliver a professional pitch of your programme proposal to industry practitioners

Documentary Project
Over the course of this module you will demonstrate mastery of story-telling within your chosen subject area, by the production of a long-form documentary on a media platform of your choice

Further guidance on modules

The information listed in the section entitled 'What you will study' is an overview of the academic content of the programme that will take the form of either core or option modules. Modules are designated as core or option in accordance with professional body requirements and internal Academic Framework review, so may be subject to change. Students will be required to undertake modules that the University designates as core and will have a choice of designated option modules. Additionally, option modules may be offered subject to meeting minimum student numbers.

Academic Framework reviews are conducted by LJMU from time to time to ensure that academic standards continue to be maintained.

Please email courses@ljmu.ac.uk if you require further guidance or clarification.

How will I be assessed?

Teaching and assessment methods vary according to the module.

Teaching includes a mixture of lectures, demonstrations, screenings and craft skills workshops. As a postgraduate student, you will have the flexibility and freedom to produce your own documentary project for a media platform of your choice.

​Assessment methods are mixed, with practical modules usually based around portfolios of work including tasks aimed at the assessment of specific skills. Any written assessments you undertake may include essays, reviews and reports. 

Staff research interests

Our academics have a rich background of research interests, published work and industry-specific experience which is incorporated into teaching on this degree.

​You will be taught by staff who input into the Journalism, Media and Communication research cluster, one of the main research areas in the Screen School.  The staff in our media production team include programme leader, Camilla Affleck, a BBC trained and highly experienced documentary maker who has produced documentaries for BBC1, BBC2, BBC3, Channel 4, Channel 5 and Sky One.

The teaching team includes Hazel Barrett, an experienced professional radio and television news journalist, other members of LJMU journalism staff and media practitioner Ian Bradley, who explores new ways in engaging audiences with interactive new media technologies and immersive ways of telling stories.

Entry requirements (Home)

Our philosophy enables us to accept a wide range of applicants.

Applications to the MA Documentary will normally be considered in the light of the applicant's ability to meet the following criteria:

1. Generally applicants should have a minimum second class honours degree.

2. Non-media graduates with no formal media experience must demonstrate a genuine interest and commitment to practical filmmaking.

3. All candidates must be able to demonstrate the ability to benefit from and contribute to the programme. Although most applicants will be graduates, the fact that candidates may not have a degree is not necessarily a bar to entry. Applications from non-standard applicants are welcomed. The Programme Leader will make a decision on whether to admit the candidate on the basis of experience.

Entry requirements (International)

​International applicants are required to demonstrate equivalent qualifications and must also demonstrate a proficiency in communicating through English, via an IELTS test with a score of 6.5 (Minimum 5.5 in each component) or equivalent.

Please check if you require an Academic Technology Approval Scheme or ATAS certificate. It can take four to six weeks to receive an ATAS certificate, so please make sure you apply as early as possible. You can find out more on the  British Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) website. Alternatively, contact LJMU's  International Admissions Team for guidance. Please note: international students entering on a Tier 4 Visa cannot study part time. Students entering the UK on alternate types of Visa may be in a position to study part time. Please contact LJMU's  International Admissions Team for further details before making your application.  In order to obtain a Visa you will also need to show evidence that the money required to cover your tuition fees and living expenses has been in your bank account for at least 28 days prior to submitting your visa application. So please make sure that your finances are in place before applying. For more details, go to our  international website

For advice on any aspect of the application process, please contact LJMU's  International Admissions Team.

Application and selection

​You will  need to submit a completed LJMU online application form, together with your academic transcript or equivalent and an academic reference.

Will I be interviewed?

​No - unless the programme leader deems necessary.

IELTS

6.5 (Minimum of 5.5 in each component)

Pearson

58-64 (Min. 51 in each component for UKVI Purposes)

Is RPL accepted on this programme?

Yes


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

Financial support

Financial support.

Tuition fees

All full and part-time students enrolled on postgraduate taught programmes at LJMU are liable to pay an annual tuition fee. You can opt to pay your tuition fees in full at the start of each academic year or pay by instalments. If you need advice about how you will pay your tuition fees, please email to LJMU's Student Funding Team as soon as possible.

Sources of funding

Postgraduate loans

Postgraduate Masters loans are available for the 2017/18 academic year. The new loans, of up to £10,000, are available for students attending eligible full and part-time Masters courses, in line with the existing qualification framework for England. Administered by the Student Loan Company, the loans will be available to those under 60 at the start of their course.

Loan repayments will begin the April after course completion, with the first cohort of borrowers commencing repayments in April 2019. Repayments will be made at a rate of 6% of income above an earning threshold of £21,000. This threshold will be frozen until 2021. For details of loan terms, conditions and eligibility, go to: ljmu.ac.uk/postgraduate-funding 

LJMU Alumni Award

Final year undergraduates and alumni of the University are eligible to apply for a 20% reduction in their postgraduate tuition fees if they choose to progress onto a higher degree programme at LJMU. Both Home and international LJMU students and alumni can apply for this award (subject to eligibility criteria*). 

Postgraduate International Scholarships

LJMU offers scholarships for international applicants accepted onto taught masters programmes (excluding distance learning programmes) and research degrees. Current LJMU international students and alumni interested in pursuing postgraduate study and research at the University are eligible to apply for these scholarships along with new applicants. 

English for Postgraduate Studies Bursary

A Bursary is also available for international students who need to improve their IELTS score prior to enrolling on their postgraduate course or research programme at the University. This course is run by LJMU's International Study Centre.

Earn While You Learn

Working while you study means you may be able to pay for your course without taking out any further loans or at least reducing the amount you need to borrow. Working while you study also gives you the skills valued by employers, such as managing your workload and prioritising your time.

LJMU's Vacancy website can help you find graduate vacancies, sandwich/industrial placements, internships / summer work, part-time jobs, volunteering opportunities and work-based learning placements. Over 1,000 local and regional employers regularly list opportunities on the website.

Professional and Career Development Loans (PCDL)

Many students fund their postgraduate studies via Professional and Career Development Loans. This is a bank loan which you will have to pay back once you've completed the course. However, while you are studying any interest on the loan will be paid for you by the Skills Funding Agency. PCDLs worth between £300 and £10,000 are available for eligible postgraduates to fund up to two years of study (three if the course includes work experience). The loan is split into course fees and living costs. 

Employer sponsorship

Some organisations and companies fund the cost of postgraduate studies for their employees as they recognise the value of having well qualified staff. Check out our courses and see if there are any on offer that could enhance your current career. Remember, employer support doesn't always have to be financial; it can take other forms too, such as flexible working arrangements, day release and time in lieu of study.

Support for disabled students

Disabled Students' Allowances or DSAs are designed to help meet the extra course costs students can face as a direct result of a disability, on-going health condition, mental health condition or specific learning difficulty. DSAs don't have to be paid back and the type of support you receive will be determined by your specific needs not your household income. Please contact LJMU's Disability team for further advice: 0151 231 3164/3165.

Council tax exemption

All full-time postgraduate students studying courses lasting one year or more are eligible for a council tax exemption certificate.

Graduate employment

A highly focused professional masters degree.

​The MA Documentary will help develop you 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.

​By linking you with regional media companies who regularly work with Liverpool Screen School and often employ our graduates, we are able to provide you with opportunities to not only develop your own documentary style but also build meaningful professional networks and projects.

International Scholarships

Studying at LJMU offers international students excellent value for money and the opportunity to secure an internationally-respected qualification plus outstanding career prospects.

Each year, LJMU offers a range of prestigious international scholarships. Further details of the scholarships offered to applicants wishing to study at the University from September 2017 onwards will be available on this page in the coming months.

For the most up-to-date information about studying at Liverpool John Moores University, and the International Scholarship programme, please visit the International pages.

International Foundation Year and International Year One programmes

LJMU offers international students the option of completing International Foundation Year and International Year One programmes at the University’s International Study Centre. These courses are managed and taught by Study Group, a world leader in education and training for international  students. For more details on the International Study Centre, go to www.ljmuisc.com/

English language qualifications

All international applicants must have an internationally recognised English language qualification, such as IELTS (International English Language Testing Service). Your English language qualification must have been certified within the last two years for verification purposes. LJMU will accept other UKVI-recognised English language tests providing you attain the appropriate level.

This table summarises the minimum scores required by LJMU.

Please note: your specific course requirements may differ.

For course-specific English Language requirements, click the Entry Requirements tab above.

To find out what qualifications are applicable in your country please visit the international pages.

Type of Programme IELTS Pearson
International Foundation Programme 4.5 50-57 (Min. 51 in each component for UKVI Purposes)
Undergraduate degrees 6.0 50-57 (Min. 51 in each component for UKVI Purposes)
MPharm 7.0 Not accepted

English language support to improve IELTS

If your English language level does not meet the required entry requirements for your course you may still be offered a place on the condition that you successfully complete an English for Undergraduate Study course at LJMU’s International Study Centre.

Please contact the International Study Centre and talk to one of our multi-lingual Student Enrolment Advisers (www.ljmuisc.com/) or email: international@ljmu.ac.uk for more details.

Tuition fees

International students are liable to pay a minimum of 50% of their tuition fees when they complete their enrolment at the University. The outstanding balance must be paid in full within 4 months of your enrolment date.

Living Costs

When you apply for your visa or entry clearance, you will need to provide evidence of having enough money to support yourself for the duration of your programme and to pay for all of your living expenses. The good news is that the cost of living in Liverpool is one of the lowest in England, which means your money will go even further, allowing you to enjoy your student experience to the full.

In addition to academic fees, you must budget for living costs such as accommodation, food, clothing, books, local travel and entertainment. The UKVI requires that students studying outside London must have £9,135 to pay for their living costs (or £1,015 per month).

LJMU’s undergraduate courses run over an academic calendar of nine months so you will need to show that you have at least £9,135. If your course lasts 6 months you will need to demonstrate you have £6,090.

Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies (CAS)

Before you can apply for permission to enter or remain in the UK under Tier 4 you will require a valid Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies or CAS. LJMU will only assign a CAS once you have satisfied the conditions of any offer made to you and you satisfy the University’s obligations as a Tier 4 Sponsor. For more details, visit the international students section.

Academic Technology Approval Scheme Certificate (ATAS)

If you have applied to study an Enhanced Undergraduate Degree (such as an MEng) course at LJMU, you should check if you require an Academic Technology Approval Scheme or ATAS certificate.

You can find out more on the British Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) website: www.fco.gov.uk/en/about-us/what-we-do/services-we-deliver/atas/who-atas/

Alternatively, contact LJMU’s International Admissions Team (int-admissions@ljmu.ac.uk)for guidance.

Your visa application

As soon as you have received an offer of a place at LJMU you should contact the Entry Clearance Office at the British Embassy, British High Commission or Consular Office in your own country to check whether you need a visa for entry into Britain. You are advised to do this as soon as you can as the visa application process can take a long time.

Please Note: To obtain an Entry Visa you should go to the British Embassy or High Commission in your own country, and present the following documents:

  • Passport
  • A valid LJMU Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies (CAS)
  • Evidence of financial support for the programme
  • Two recent photographs of yourself (passport-size)
  • All relevant educational diplomas and certificates (as stated in your CAS)
  • A declaration of your intent to return home on completion of your course of study

The University may make changes to a programme of study or module where 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.
Further guidance on programme changes

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