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Ethnographic and Documentary Film (Practical) MA

This unique MA programme is based within a university but run by leading film practitioners, ensuring that you not only receive the highest-quality practice-based learning. You have your own camera equipment throughout and we provide dedicated editing suites. The degree is currently taught in 4 studios (Experimental and Cinematic Non-Fiction, Documentary for Broadcast and Beyond, Cinematic Documentary Storytelling, and Immersive Factual Storytelling: VR/AR)

Covid-19 programme updates

Due to COVID-19, there may have been updates to this programme for the 2020 academic year. Where there has been an update, these are indicated with a red alert and a link which will provide further information.

Key information

Programme starts

September 2020

Modes and duration

Full time: 1 year
Part time: 2 years

For two year part-timers, please note UCL cannot allow any change in mode of attendance for this programme of study once the programme has started and/or once enrolment has been completed.

Application dates

All applicants
Open: 1 November 2019
Close: 11 August 2020
Notification
Due to the large number of applications received, this programme is no longer accepting applications for 2020/21 entry. We apologise for any inconvenience caused. Applications for 2021/22 entry will open later in the year.

Tuition fees (2020/21)

UK/EU:
£16,520 (FT)
£8,300 (PT)
Overseas:
£26,890 (FT)
£13,740 (PT)


Note on fees: The tuition fees shown are for the year indicated above. Fees for subsequent years may increase or otherwise vary. Further information on fee status, fee increases and the fee schedule can be viewed on the UCL Students website.

Fee deposit: All full time students are required to pay a fee deposit of £2,000 for this programme. All part-time students are required to pay a fee deposit of £1,000.

Location: London, Bloomsbury

Entry requirements

Normally an upper second-class Bachelor's degree in a social science, arts, humanities or science discipline from a UK university or an overseas qualification of an equivalent standard. Academically weaker applications will also be considered provided that they are supported by experience in visual arts or film making. Applicants with prior technical knowledge of film making are asked to send a video portfolio of up to 20’ duration (Vimeo link recommended). Applicants without a video portfolio are asked to complete a photo essay. Please see our guidelines on how to make a visual essay. You can submit either by post - a maximum of twenty 20cm x 25cm (8"x10") stills – or by link to an external site.

All shortlisted applicants will be asked to submit a proposal for a film or video project - a maximum of four sides of A4, typed and double-spaced - to include: an outline of what the film is about; the characters and other elements crucial to the narrative and the film structure/narrative. (You are not committed to the proposal for the final project.)

English language requirements

If your education has not been conducted in the English language, you will be expected to demonstrate evidence of an adequate level of English proficiency.

The English language level for this programme is: Good

Further information can be found on our English language requirements page.

International students

Country-specific information, including details of when UCL representatives are visiting your part of the world, can be obtained from the International Students website.

International applicants can find out the equivalent qualification for their country by selecting from the list below.

Select your country:

About this degree

Students will learn to tell stories in various film modes; to draw on anthropological and social science approaches to documentary; to think critically about the relationship between form and content in ethnographic/documentary practice; to master the technical skills needed to produce different kinds of films of different lengths for varied audiences; and to critically view and review film material.

Students undertake modules to the value of 180 credits.

The programme consists of one compulsory module (60 credits), two optional modules (30 credits) and a practical film project (90 credits).

Upon successful completion of 180 credits, you will be awarded a MA in Ethnographic and Documentary Film (Practical).

Please note that the list of modules given here is indicative. This information is published a long time in advance of enrolment and module content and availability is subject to change.

Compulsory modules

All students must take the following module:

  • Documentary and Ethnographic Film Practice

Optional modules

Students must take 30 credits in total from the recommended optional modules below, modules available within the department or appropriate options in other departments (with approval from the programme tutor and host department).

  • Anthropology and Photography
  • Documentary Film and the Ethnographic Eye
  • The Story and I - Finding the Form and/or Time and the Staged Index
  • One of the other communication courses (Audio and Podcast; Writing about International Affairs Journalistic Skills for a multimedia world; Experimental and Interactive Documentary, Experimental Cinema and New Media: Form and Narrative).
  • One of the practical film-related options offered as part of the Film Studies MA according to provision
  • One of the film history modules taught in the School of Slavonic & East European Studies (SSEES), or Departments of History or English, (for example, Russian Cinema in SSEES), or offered in the MA Fil
  • An Anthropology or other social science module from the Faculties of Social & Historical Sciences, or Arts & Humanities

For a complete list of modules available within the department or in other departments, please see UCL's Module Catalogue.

Covid-19 module updates
Due to COVID-19, there may be updates to the modules for your chosen programme of study this year. Some modules may not be available or may need to be moved to a later term or year of study. These updates are relevant for 2020-21 academic year only.  The full list of modules will be available in the module catalogue from late August.  From the first week of September, you will be invited to complete module selection from Portico, our student record system. There may need to be additional updates or changes to modules during the academic year to allow for new guidance from the UK Government and Public Health England. Your department shall keep you updated of these changes as they become available.

Dissertation/report

A major practical film project and diary allowing the students to demonstrate their mastery of the skills of documentary film-making in a film of 20–35 minutes.

Teaching and learning

The programme is delivered through a combination of practical tutorials, seminars and masterclasses and assessed by camera and editing exercises and a written piece.

In the first term students have approximately 180 contact hours and in the second, 120. Over the summer they have up to 65 contact hours with mentors and in supervised (rough and fine cut) screenings of work in the MA.

Covid-19 contact hours on campus
In Term One, while campus will be open, all the learning activity for the core content of your modules will take place online – including lectures, tutorials, seminars and assessments. By “core content” we mean everything you need to learn to complete the module successfully. In addition to these online contact hours, we will be offering some face-to-face educational activities for students on campus, and we will provide alternative online activities for those students unable to join us on campus. These activities, which will include contact with academic staff, will be relevant to your programme of study may include seminars, academic and employability skills workshops, small-group or individual tutorials, lab and practice-based teaching. UK Government safety guidelines will limit the amount of ‘in person’ activity we can offer and while it will vary from programme to programme, is likely to be no more than 1-2 hours per week. This will vary across departments, particularly if your programme includes laboratory/practical/studio/workshop sessions. You will be updated with more specific details as they are available and your timetable will indicate which sessions will be on campus and which will be available online.
Covid-19 practical component updates
Due to COVID-19, there may be changes to the availability of the practical components for your chosen programme. Any updates relate only to the 20/21 academic year and may not apply to all students across the programme depending on your year of study.  Your department will keep you updated if the practical component of your programme is able to occur and/or any alternative options available.   There may need to be additional updates or changes to the practical component during the academic year to allow for new guidance from the UK Government and/or Public Health England. Your department shall keep you updated of these changes as they become available. 
Covid-19 assessment updates
There may be changes to the format of assessments for modules in this programme due to COVID-19. These will be summarised for each module on the module catalogue from 17 August 2020.   If any changes to assessments need to be made during the academic year due to updates in government guidance, these will be communicated to you as soon as possible from your department.    
Communicating further Covid-19 mitigation plans
We are continuing to follow UK Government guidance, as well as the expertise of our researchers, including specialists in health, education, human behaviour and infection prevention, to make sure UCL is as safe as possible during the COVID-19 pandemic. If it becomes necessary to make further changes to your programme as a result of new guidance/regulations, UCL and your department will communicate these as soon as this becomes clear. We will keep you up-to-date with our plans throughout term one, so you have the information you need to be able to take decisions that are right for your circumstances. Please ensure that you keep in touch with your department by regularly checking your UCL emails, Moodle courses, the Coronavirus FAQs for Students page and any UCL online groups or social media you follow.

Additional costs

You will need to have two hard drives capable of securely storing your film material. UCL provides one of these in exchange for you buying your own private licence of Creative Cloud for home use. UCL runs Creative Cloud on the edit computers so there is no need for a personal licence but some students find this useful.

For more information on additional costs for prospective students please go to our estimated cost of essential expenditure at Accommodation and living costs.

Accessibility

Details of the accessibility of UCL buildings can be obtained from AccessAble. Further information can also be obtained from the UCL Student Support & Wellbeing team.

Funding

For a comprehensive list of the funding opportunities available at UCL, including funding relevant to your nationality, please visit the Scholarships and Funding website.

Careers

The programme equips students for careers in:

  • mass media including broadcast, cinematic and web-based moving image
  • film and TV industry as camera operators, producers, directors, editors, researchers
  • academia – ethnographic research, visual media and culture
  • marketing and research
  • communication and other media
  • archives, as well as cultural heritage organisations.

Employability

The increasing demand for social and scientifically trained moving image specialists in the years ahead will continue, if not accelerate. Graduates of our existing programmes now work in organisations such as Ipsos Mori film unit, independent production companies, BBC Education and in independent production companies.


Why study this degree at UCL?

This MA will allow you to benefit from UCL’s unique position in the heart of London at the centre of the UK creative industries. The programme uses professional film-makers to teach within a truly pan-disciplinary university research environment.

UCL houses London’s global non-fiction film festival, Open City Documentary Festival. You will gain access to this festival, providing a unique opportunity to engage with the global creative non-fiction industry.

Students have access to UCL's camera and editing equipment, the extensive film collections in UCL Libraries and the Future Media Studio. Each student has their own full camera kit which they keep throughout the year - avoiding the need to check equipment in and out as well as access to editing suites.

Department: Anthropology

Application and next steps

Applications

Students are advised to apply as early as possible due to competition for places. Those applying for scholarship funding (particularly overseas applicants) should take note of application deadlines.

There is an application processing fee for this programme of £80 for online applications and £105 for paper applications. Further information can be found at: www.ucl.ac.uk/prospective-students/graduate/taught/application.

Who can apply?

Anyone with an interest in the acquisition of the practical craft of documentary film-making can apply. We are particularly interested in those with a social science/arts/humanities background as well as those with a science background who wish to use film as a research or communication tool.

Application deadlines

All applicants
11 August 2020

For more information see our Applications page.

Apply now

What are we looking for?

When we assess your application we would like to learn:

  • why you want to study Ethnographic and Documentary Film (Practical) at graduate level
  • why you want to study Ethnographic and Documentary Film (Practical) at UCL
  • what particularly attracts you to this programme
  • how your personal, academic and professional background meets the demands of a challenging programme
  • where you would like to go professionally with your degree

Together with essential academic requirements, the personal statement is your opportunity to illustrate whether your reasons for applying to this programme match what the programme will deliver.

UCL is regulated by the Office for Students.

Page last modified on 13 August 2020