Documentary Studies

Documentary Studies


Documentary studies allow students the opportunity to explore our world while exercising creative methods through a story telling approach. The idea is to channel and express the passion of the producer into a story the audience will enjoy. Documentary study courses analyze the use of narrative books, films and other works intended to present factual content to an audience. Students typically examine and evaluate work in terms of both content and craft.

Documentary studies play an important role in social science research. Several organizations tend to document their activities to provide a basis of understanding for their behaviors. In using documentation sources, researchers are able to develop classification schemes and taxonomies to clarify societal actions as well as individual choices. Courses generally cover documentary history, theory and film. Documentary studies also teach the implementation of various data collective methods such as interviews and surveys. The course duration varies among different universities but typically ranges between one and two years.


Job outlooks upon completion of the course are extremely diverse. Options vary among International Agencies, community organizations, private sectors, and graduate and professional schools.


General documentary study courses typically require students to take journalism, television-radio and cinema classes. Students may also learn the aesthetics of film and media.

The candidate typically must have a baccalaureate degree from an accredited college or university and may have to submit a portfolio that includes a video self-portrait and creative aspects a documentary project might feature. A film degree is not mandatory to apply.  

Degree courses include but are not limited to the following:*

  • Art, Drama, and Music 
  •  Production
  • Directors‐ Stage, Motion Pictures, Television, and Radio
  • Technical Directors/Managers
  •  Camera Operation for Television, Video, and Motion Picture
  • Film and Video Editors     
  • Nonfiction Media Storytelling
  • Media Law and Ethics
  • Civil Rights
  • Documentary Studies
  • Field Research in Visual History
  • Narrative Journalism
  • Documentary Filmmaking
  • Documentary Photography
  • Foundations of Documentary Web/Hypermedia Production
  • History and Theory of the Documentary Film
  • Visual Culture
  • A Cultural History of American Photography
  • Photojournalism
  • Transmedia Storytelling
  • Literary Journalism


 Are you ready to pursue a degree in TV and film? Get information about schools in your area and online using our TV-film degree finder at the top of this page.

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