Centre for Multidisciplinary and Intercultural Inquiry


Documentary-track PhD


The Documentary-track PhD allows suitably qualified candidates to submit an original filmed documentary along with their thesis.

This allows PhD students to submit a thesis of 60,000 to 70,000 words and a within-copyright filmed documentary of 20 to 30 minutes in length.

This is to be researched in two parts, as a text and a film project, but developed in two parallel but interdependent modes of discourse. The two projects are therefore intended to overlap closely, so that the documentary is part of the integrated whole of the argument of the thesis.

An example of a research project which may be pursued using this methodology would be the study (in the form of an academic thesis) of the works of a living author or artist or film director, along with a creative research-led documentary film on the same individual's work.

The PhD candidate will need to provide a statement explaining the research question and aims addressed by the documentary film, including written production notes and a discussion of the stages of research and choice of methodology.


Applications to the documentary-track PhD will be required to demonstrate that they possess, over and above the requisite disciplinary knowledge along with the pertinent academic research skills, an appropriate level of technical ability in documentary film-making.

For example applicants must demonstrate that they have taken and passed a course in documentary film-making at UCL (such as the course SPAN G014 How to Make an Eight-Minute Documentary) or another appropriate course.

Alternatively applicants will be required to submit a portfolio (namely a sample from their show reel or a piece of practical work of a suitable standard) as a precondition of entry to the programme.


Application arrangements for the documentary-track PhD will be subject to those currently in place for the PhD in the Faculty of Arts and Humanities. Candidates will apply for the documentary-track PhD at the point of entry to the M.Phil degree.  All applicants (notwithstanding exceptional circumstances) will be interviewed, and the portfolio (i.e. a sample of practical work) submitted with the application will normally be discussed at the interview. Transfer from the text-only-based PhD to the documentary-track PhD will only be permitted in exceptional circumstances and, in any event, only at the discretion of the Departmental Graduate Tutor or other designated research officer.


Candidates for the documentary-track PhD will submit all paperwork as for the standard PhD. A copy of the documentary film in an approved format (normally a DVD copy) must be submitted simultaneously along with each required copy of the written thesis delivered to the Registry.