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
- Study in the £38 million Redmonds Building with full access to state-of-the-art facilities
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
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.
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 use your own)
- 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.
Further your career prospects
LJMU has an excellent employability record with 96% (HESA 2017) 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.
“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
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.
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
With tutorial support you will produce a long-form documentary based upon in-depth original research on a media platform negotiated with your supervisor.
Documentaries in Context
This module enables you to gain an understanding of the range of documentary genres. It aims to:
- help you understand the legal and ethical considerations involved in documentary making
- give a detailed insight into the functioning of the independent documentary sector
This module aims to introduce you to the conventions and techniques of single-camera filming. It will introduce you to the practical craft skills required when using cameras and editing software as well as providing an understanding of the grammar of editing.
Advanced Production Skills
This optional module enables you to develop technical skills in a range of media equipment and software packages. It aims to:
- explore the creative potential of specialised production equipment and digital software
- apply techniques for image and video manipulation and audio production
- help you understand the application of these skills to practical documentary making
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.
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 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
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.
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. Assessment techniques vary from module to module to reflect relevant assessment approaches and the key learning points of each topic.
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
After graduating from Cambridge University, Camilla completed a postgraduate diploma in journalism, in London. She worked as a news and sports reporter and news reader in local and national radio and then switched to network television. She first worked as an on-screen reporter and, after completing a Director's training course at BBC Elstree, progressed to working as a producer/director on both magazine and long-form documentary programmes. Travelling the world, she has produced and directed documentaries for BBC1, BBC2, BBC3, ITV 1, Channel 4, Five and Sky One. Productions include the RTS award-winning investigative documentary series, 'On The Line' for BBC2. She has interviewed prime ministers, cabinet ministers, international pop stars and sports personalities, as well as the elite of the British film industry. Embracing technological advances in the television industry, Camilla is also an accomplished camera-operator in her own right. Camilla is currently embarking on a PhD investigating the continuing political influence of the media, with particular reference to Fox News in America.
You will receive the best learning support, access to the latest techniques, academic research and opportunities to engage with key external partners.
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.
Order your brochure Research
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
- 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 requirements: 58-64 (minimum 51 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 firstname.lastname@example.org
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.