• MFA Documentary Filmmaking
Dodge College of Film & Media Arts

M.F.A. in Documentary Filmmaking

» Learn to create, market and distribute feature-length documentaries

The two-year M.F.A. in Documentary Filmmaking is a program that is uniquely focused on feature-length documentary storytelling. In this program you will gain hands-on production experience, learn about the history and aesthetics of the documentary form, study documentary genres, and learn how to develop compelling, original content through a rigorous and creative development process.

In your first two semesters, you learn the fundamentals of the complete documentary production process from concept to distribution. In your last year you will collaborate on the production of a documentary project under the mentorship of accomplished documentary filmmakers. You will graduate with a compelling documentary and a thorough knowledge of the business to jumpstart your career in documentary filmmaking. 

+ - Learning Outcomes

In the M.F.A. in Documentary Filmmaking program, students will demonstrate:

  • A mastery of documentary directing and storytelling skills, including the ability to visually and aurally tell a coherent and engaging story with a clear argument about real-world subjects and/or events.
  • A mastery of documentary craft skills including shooting, editing, and sound recording, and the associated technology required for each.
  • The ability to make informed decisions about representational and ethical matters regarding the subjects and/or events presented in their documentary work.
  • The ability to fully and effectively research and develop their documentary projects prior to production.

+ - Degree Requirements

Requirements for the degree

  1. Complete 48 credits at the 500 or 600 level.
  2. Successfully complete a two–part thesis project.
  3. Pass an oral defense of the thesis project.

core requirements (39 credits)

DOC 517

Documentary Production I


DOC 521

The Documentary Tradition


DOC 526

Documentary Research Methodology


DOC 551

Contemporary Issues in Documentary


DOC 578

Documentary Storytelling: Editing


DOC 601

Documentary Storytelling: Cinematography and Sound


DOC 617

Documentary Production II


DOC 663

Writing the Documentary


DOC 670

New Documentary Forms


DOC 697

Thesis Production


DOC 698

Thesis Post–Production


electives (9 credits)

DOC 503

Producing Reality Television


DOC 516

Expedition Documentary


DOC 523

Transcultural Documentary


DOC 541

Investigative Journalism


DOC 545

Wildlife and Environmental Filmmaking


DOC 559

Documentary Marketing and Distribution


DOC 575

International Documentary Pre–Production


DOC 576

International Documentary Production


DOC 577

International Documentary Post–Production


DOC 580

Community Voices: Documentary Workshop


DOC 589

Cross-Cultural Documentary



total credits



+ - Core Faculty

For a complete list of Dodge College faculty, view our faculty directory

Michael Kowalski

Sally Rubin

Jeff Swimmer

Chuck Workman

+ - Application Requirements

In order to apply to the Documentary Film graduate program, you must submit the required application materials, as well as a Creative Supplement. The application will go live in July, and more instructions on the application process will be updated on our website soon.


  • Statement of Intent
  • Resume
  • 2 letters of recommendation
  • Creative Supplement

Other Required Materials:

  • Official copy of your undergraduate transcript from your degree granting institution

No additional information should be sent to Dodge College or the Office of Admissions outside of what is required on the application. Any outside work sent to either office will not be reviewed as part of the admission process.

View additional application details

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Phone: (714) 997-6996


Info Sessions

Dodge College is hosting both in-person and online informational sessions for prospective graduate students.

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