• M.F.A. in Documentary Filmmaking

    M.F.A. in Documentary Filmmaking

    Learn to create, market and distribute feature-length documentaries

» M.F.A. in Documentary Filmmaking

About the Program

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. 

+ - 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

3

DOC 521

The Documentary Tradition

3

DOC 526

Documentary Research Methodology

3

DOC 551

Contemporary Issues in Documentary

3

DOC 578

Documentary Storytelling: Editing

3

DOC 601

Documentary Storytelling: Cinematography and Sound

3

DOC 617

Documentary Production II

3

DOC 663

Writing the Documentary

3

DOC 670

New Documentary Forms

3

DOC 697

Thesis Production

6

DOC 698

Thesis Post–Production

6

electives (9 credits)

DOC 503

Producing Reality Television

3

DOC 516

Expedition Documentary

3

DOC 523

Transcultural Documentary

3

DOC 541

Investigative Journalism

3

DOC 545

Wildlife and Environmental Filmmaking

3

DOC 559

Documentary Marketing and Distribution

3

DOC 575

International Documentary Pre–Production

3

DOC 576

International Documentary Production

3

DOC 577

International Documentary Post–Production

3

DOC 580

Community Voices: Documentary Workshop

3

DOC 589

Cross-Cultural Documentary

3

total credits

 

48

+ - 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.

+ - 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.

Application:

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

Other Required Materials:

  • Official copy of your undergraduate transcript from your degree granting institution
  • GRE (if GPA from undergraduate program is below a 3.0)

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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Join us for Documentary Night @ Dodge College

Learn about the doc programs at Chapman and the career opportunities available in the field. Thurs. Nov. 3 @ 7:30 p.m. Admission is free. 

Register now

Questions?

Contact Us

(714) 628-2764

ftvgrad@chapman.edu

Info Sessions

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

Learn more and register