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Metfilm School

Metfilm School

MA Documentary and Factual

Start Date & Pricing

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Start Date & Pricing


1 year

Course available in

Berlin, Leeds



MA Documentary and Factual will give you the skills and understanding needed to work as a director and/or producer in today’s factual content industries.

Specific topics include finding and developing ideas, researching protagonists, learning interview techniques, research and access to contributors, creating stories, and pitching ideas. You will learn about production roles and develop skills in documentary editing, sound recording, and camerawork. Throughout this degree, you will explore funding strategies and potential audiences, and be immersed in productions where you can try out a range of skills.


Why Take the Course?

Why Take the Course?

  • Practical: Gain training and experience in producing, directing, camera operation, sound, and editing.
  • Comprehensive: For students passionate about the various ways to shoot and document reality in today’s world, and who want to produce content that offers new insights and promotes compassion and awareness about a specific subject
  • Industry-facing: Build your understanding of the contemporary industry landscape for documentaries and factual programming, including commissioning, financing, distribution and exhibition.
  • Real-life Experience: You will conceive, create, and deliver a project to a client brief. Working within a creative team with other MA pathways, students respond to a professional brief from a commercial or non-commercial business to produce a short project and showcase their creative talent to industry professionals.
  • Portfolio: Create a portfolio of work, including two core projects (documentary and/or factual programmes), with accompanying creative development and pitch documents to support you in your future career.
  • Professional tutors: Many of our teaching staff are currently working in the industry as: TV and film directors, broadcast journalists, producers, writers, and more*.

*For a selection of the tutors who teach across our campuses, please see Our People.

Programme Aims

Gained deep understanding of the roles and responsibilities relating to being a director and/or producer of factual content including ethical concerns around filming people and phenomena in the real world.
Developed advanced ability to design and develop documentary and factual programming ideas within a commercial, artistic, and conceptual framework.
The ability to produce work of increasing ambition and quality including inclusive work practices that enable collaborators to deliver their best work.
Advanced insight into planning, budgeting, and financing documentary and factual content.
Demonstrate skills in the practical management of people and resources including risk assessments and contracts.
Be able to articulate key concepts and theories that underpin debates and discourse around realism, authorship, ethics, social responsibility, representation, art and commerce, genre and audiences.
Have advanced understanding of the role of research and intellectual enquiry as an integral part of academic development and professional practice.
Have the skills and understanding to progress in a career as an enlightened and contemporary screen industry professional.

What You Will Study

What You Will Study

Over three trimesters, you will gain advanced insight into not only the work of a documentary and factual specialist but also into the implications of creating and delivering screen content based in real world contributors and subjects to a wide variety of audiences and screen platforms.

In Trimester One, you will explore the responsibilities and practices of factual filmmaking and the essential skills of a documentary specialist. Alongside that, you will explore your own qualities as you build a career profile that will develop as the course – and your understanding – increases.

Trimester Two consists of three modules designed to synthesise the skills and knowledge acquired in Trimester One into a collaborative production exercise. Alongside this, you will deepen your understanding of industry and marketplace and the documentary and factual content maker’s place within it. In addition, you will develop the research and analytical skills expected in both your academic and professional practice.

In Trimester Three, you will draw together your practical, theoretical, and industry understanding into the creation and delivery of a filmed artefact and complete your career plan as part of your progression into real world employment.


Module Overview

Module Overview

The overview below is not a complete list of MA Documentary and Factual modules. For the complete list, please download the full Course Specification below.

Documentary and Factual Craft and Industry

Across the module, you will develop an understanding of documentary theory, forms and audiences, leading to the development of a documentary or factual pitch to a panel. During the early weeks of the module you will work with students from other pathways to make a short video using a camera phone, based on something that you want to say.

Authorship and Context

You will gain understanding of the theory of authorship as well as alternative paradigms and be encouraged to analyse and engage in how ‘point of view’ impacts the structure, form, and genre of non-fiction storytelling. Through practical workshops, students will create two short film pieces demonstrating authorship and context.

Professional Profile

You will develop authentic and detailed career paperwork and supporting materials including a CV and personal profile. As part of the module you will be offered Elective Upskilling sessions – opportunities to develop screen industry skills outside of their chosen discipline or as part of their multi-skilling profile.

Factual Production for Clients

Working with students from other MA courses, you will develop proposals and pitches to present to real world clients for whom you will deliver factual video content. Through the subsequent video production you will develop skills in budgeting and scheduling, and what’s required of producers and directors across a variety of platforms.

Documentary and Factual Business

Through case studies and industry guest speakers, you will analyse the various financing and commissioning structures, and look at emerging distribution avenues, including cross media platform development, as well as the use of web-based marketing and publicity. You will plan distribution and marketing strategies for project ideas aimed at finding funding and audiences. During the module you will write and pitch project proposals and create a filmed trailer for a long project.

Practice-based Research

Building on the work of previous and concurrent modules, you will gain a deeper insight into current theories, principles, and discussions relating to issues of diversity, sustainability, and ethics within the screen industries.

Final Project and Career Plan

Your project is an opportunity to deliver work that is distinctive, industry-aware, based in research, and reflects awareness of a diverse and inclusive world. You will also refine your career plan in preparation for entering or re-entering the screen industries on graduation.

Teaching, Learning & Assessment

We include a diverse range of teaching methods which include:

  • Productions
  • Seminar-style Group Teaching
  • Tutorials
  • Practical Group Work
  • Formative Feedback through Critiques, Pitches, Screenings, and Reflective Sessions
  • Work-integrated Learning
  • Authentic Assessment

We use a wide range of assessment which include portfolios, performances, research, presentations, and reflective work. Please download the Course Specification below for more information.


Entry Requirements

Entry Requirements

Entry Requirements for Berlin and Leeds

Standard Entry Requirements

  • Age: All applicants must be 18 years or older at the time the programme begins.
  • Education: A 2:1 honours degree from a UK university or overseas equivalent.

Applicants must also submit:

A personal statement of at least 500 words. The MetFilm School online application form details the information that your personal statement must include.

Students Not Meeting Academic Requirements

Students without a degree, but who can demonstrate relevant industry experience or a degree below a 2:1 equivalent are still able to apply. They will need to submit the following:

  • A professional industry reference.
  • A professional CV.
  • A 750 word statement of why you wish to enter the screen industries, indicating the ways in which you think they are changing.

Equipment Requirements

Students receive the Office 365 and Adobe Creative Cloud License for the duration of their course. For more information, please check Equipment in the Study with Us section for your chosen course, and the Location sections for the range of equipment and learning resources available on each of our campuses.

Application Information

For more information on MA Documentary and Factual entry requirements, language requirements, funding, and the application process please visit: