Course specification and structure
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PMDOCFLM - MA Documentary Film Production

Course Specification


Validation status Validated
Highest award Master of Arts Level Masters
Possible interim awards Postgraduate Diploma, Postgraduate Certificate, Advanced Diploma in Professional Development
Total credits for course 180
Awarding institution London Metropolitan University
Teaching institutions London Metropolitan University
School School of Computing and Digital Media
Subject Area Creative Technologies and Digital Media
Attendance options
Option Minimum duration Maximum duration
Full-time 1 YEARS 2 YEARS
Part-time 2 YEARS 4 YEARS
Course leader  

About the course and its strategy towards teaching and learning and towards blended learning/e-learning

MA Documentary Film Production embraces both traditional and new and emerging forms of storytelling which are changing how we make and watch non-fiction film, TV and online content today.
Documentary filmmaking is currently a very fluid medium. Whereas fiction formats have struggled to adapt to new distribution models, documentary and factual formats have positively embraced new technology. From the i-docs symposium to New York Times Op-Docs and the UN’s Clouds Over Sidra, documentary content continues to evolve. Entirely new formats have emerged (including crowd-based production and interactive and VR storytelling). This course investigates change and innovation. With a strong emphasis on new and emerging practice it challenges students to research and experiment with concepts of presence and interactivity to imagine and create work that engages the viewer in a different way.
With a strong focus on industry practice, students build a professional portfolio of practice-based non-fiction projects across a wide range of different formats. To enhance employment opportunities the course includes a module specifically written to teach professional on-set filmmaking practice and a module that addresses the funding and commissioning process for film, TV and online content. The school is a member of the Bafta Albert Education Consortium. This allows us to offer Bafta Albert Carbon Literacy training to our students. Albert Sustainable Production is becoming a key target for the film and TV industry with BBC, Sky, ITV, IMG, Channel 4, Warner Bros and Netflix joining an increasingly long list of major partners. As ‘Albert Graduates’ our students will be among the first postgraduates to join the industry holding certification gained on this training programme.
Assessment components are flexible across core modules, allowing students to tailor their portfolio towards practice-oriented or more research-led outputs. Option modules allow students to diversify their skillset to include other connected areas such as interactive design and digital journalism. Students can also gain experience working directly for professional clients.
Working with award winning tutors with extensive industry experience students will gain knowledge and insight into how factual content is made and commissioned, helping them turn their ideas into innovative, viable projects that appeal to audiences and industry gate-keepers.
Learning is enhanced by both online support and regular contact hours. Through tutorials and guided learning, students receive regular feedback on their academic progress. Teaching and learning methods include practical workshops, screenings, lectures and seminars, group discussions, presentations and individual and group projects including opportunities to collaborate with students from other postgraduate courses. Students will get direct experience of the London film and TV industry through industry experts (who both teach on and visit the course), world class archives, festivals, screenings and industry events.
A blended learning strategy is employed to enhance the learning experience, facilitate communication between students and tutors and develop collaboration among students. The Virtual Learning Environment (VLE) is used as a platform to support online activities: to access a range of learning materials, for online discussion, viewing and reviewing of online video/ film/ audio, for notifications and updates regarding industry events and employment opportunities and for access to world class archives. This includes the BBC / BFI Archives for Education. The VLE is also used to facilitate ongoing formative and summative assessment and related feedback.

Course aims

1. Give you the opportunity to work independently to originate, plan and produce substantial films or interactive digital works to a professional standard.
2. Provide you with the opportunity and capacity to bring together your creative ideas and practical skills, learning from experimentation and through practise-based understanding.
3. Support and encourage you to make work that is challenging and innovative, across a range of contemporary, new and emerging formats, preparing you for the industry as it is now and in the future.
4. Enable you to make critically informed work that shows knowledge of audience and industry expectations.
5. Give you the ability to put your work in context, with reference to the historic and cultural factors that have helped shape the documentary and factual genre.
6. Encourage and enable you to think reflexively, critically appraising your own work in order to identify areas for improvement.

Course learning outcomes

On completion of this course you will be able to:

LO1 Present clear, well researched and engaging plans and proposals for major film or digital projects that meet the expectations of commissioners, funding bodies and professional organisations.

LO2 Select and justify the form and methodologies for your work, with particular reference to new and emerging technology and practice.

LO3 Choose and evaluate key research sources in depth, showing an appreciation of research ethics issues.

LO4 Produce substantial, thought provoking film / interactive digital work that meets expected industry standards.

LO5 Work independently and to a professional standard on major creative and / or research projects.

LO6 Reflect critically on the creative and technical processes required to engage in the planning, research and production of a substantial creative practice-based project or on aspects of writing, media, communication or the creative industries.

LO7 Reflect critically on the documentary / factual genre, including new and emerging forms of digital production and understand the cultural and historical factors that have helped shape it.

LO8 Demonstrate confidence, resilience, ambition and creativity and will act as an inclusive, collaborative and socially responsible practitioner.

Assessment strategy

This course uses a diverse range of assessment components including: film projects, digital and interactive projects, creative portfolios, proof of concept presentations, pitch presentations, research proposals and reports, written and video essays, critical reports, dissertation and major digital projects.

The assessment tasks embrace the diverse range of career paths available to students upon completion of the course and are designed to reflect current industry practice. Coursework submission deadlines are carefully staged so as to enable students to work in depth on each assignment.

Students are encouraged to reflect critically not only on their own work but also on current, new and emerging forms of digital production and to understand the cultural and historical factors that have helped shape them.

Formative assessment is ongoing throughout the course, as part of the workshop itself and through a range of activities and briefs designed to build upon skills and knowledge and identify areas for improvement.

All modules have a dedicated Weblearn site (VLE) providing students with a comprehensive range of learning and teaching materials, including detailed assessment guidelines and criteria. Detailed summative assessment is provided via Weblearn.

Organised work experience, work based learning, sandwich year or year abroad

The course team and subject area has excellent connections and links in the media and creative industries. Students have access to additional career information and professional opportunities via the course virtual learning environment including industry visits, masterclasses, industry-related networking events and industry work experience / job opportunities.

In addition, the School of Computing and Digital Media offers numerous opportunities to enhance employability skills, gain real experience and ‘earn while you learn’ through placements on real client-driven projects - working with business and industry.

The course also includes the option module FC7W03 accredited work-related learning.

Course specific regulations

Part Time students complete the course over 5 semesters.

In Year 1 part time students take 2 core modules during the autumn semester. In the spring semester students take 1 option module and either Interactive Documentary or New and Emerging Technologies.

In Year 2 (autumn semester) part time students take 1 core module. In spring semester students take 1 option module.

In the summer semester part time students take the Major Projects module, completing either a dissertation or major digital project by September.

See course handbook for table.

This course is prepared in accordance with QAA Frameworks for Higher Education level 7 Masters courses. Course aims and learning outcomes are designed to meet all descriptors in paragraph 4.17 of the UK Quality Code for Higher Education.

Modules required for interim awards

PGCert in Documentary Film Production (60 credits)
At least 40 credits from core modules

PGDip in Documentary Film Production (120 credits)
At least 80 credits from core modules

Arrangements for promoting reflective learning and personal development

Students will reflect critically on their learning and on their personal development planning throughout the course. All core modules incorporate guided self-analysis that takes account of personal, academic and practical skills and professional development. In-class feedback and discussions encourage self-reflection, which is reinforced by peer and tutor input. Additional opportunities for reflection are provided through regular individual tutorials. In addition, reflection on the links between theory and practice is central to course content.

The Virtual Learning Environment (VLE) is used in this context as a platform to support project planning and as a hub for formative assessment and related feedback. Assessments comprise a range of reflective / planning and development focussed components including written critical reflections, in-class presentations, outline proposals, trailers, pitch packs and creative portfolios accompanied by reflective reports.

Career, employability and opportunities for continuing professional development

This course is designed to be industry facing, you will gain direct experience of the London film and TV industry through industry experts (who both teach on and visit the course), world class archives, festivals, screenings and industry events.

The course includes core module ‘The Factual Storytelling Business’ which focusses on how the industry works and how to prepare ideas for commissioners.

Research skills and highly adaptable digital content creation skills will enable students to forge diverse career paths in both traditional and emerging media. These skills are also highly transferable across a wide range of creative industries or could form an excellent basis for further academic or professional research or development.

The school is a member of the Bafta Albert Education Consortium. This allows us to offer Bafta Albert Carbon Literacy training to our students. Albert Sustainable Production is becoming a key target for the film and TV industry with BBC, Sky, ITV, IMG, Channel 4, Warner Bros and Netflix joining an increasingly long list of major partners. As ‘Albert Graduates’ our students will be among the first postgraduates to join the industry holding certification gained on this training programme.

Career opportunities

This documentary film production course will prepare you to work in a wide range of professions within the film industry or other creative industries. Whether you chose to follow a research-oriented path or a practice-oriented path for your major project will influence the roles you may pursue after the course. These could include:

  • researcher
  • assistant producer
  • content creation role
  • crew role

Entry requirements

You will be required to have:

  • a lower second-class (2.2) honours degree or higher, or an international equivalent

Your application may also be considered if you have a relevant professional qualification or experience.

You may also be required to submit a portfolio and to attend an interview.

To study a degree at London Met, you must be able to demonstrate proficiency in the English language. If you require a Tier 4 student visa you may need to provide the results of a Secure English Language Test (SELT) such as Academic IELTS. For more information about English qualifications please see our English language requirements.

If you need (or wish) to improve your English before starting your degree, the University offers a Pre-sessional Academic English course to help you build your confidence and reach the level of English you require.

Official use and codes

Approved to run from 2020/21 Specification version 1 Specification status Validated
Original validation date 13 Aug 2020 Last validation date 13 Aug 2020  
Sources of funding HE FUNDING COUNCIL FOR ENGLAND
JACS codes
Route code DOCFLM

Course Structure

Stage 1 Level 07 September start Offered

Code Module title Info Type Credits Location Period Day Time
SM7033 Representations of Reality Core 20 NORTH AUT WED AM
SM7034 The Factual Storytelling Business Core 20 NORTH AUT WED PM
SM7035 Film Production: Techniques for Non-Fiction Core 20 CITY AUT TUE PM
SM7P03 Major Projects Core 60 CITY SUM TUE AM
SM7036 Interactive Documentary Alt Core 20 CITY SPR TUE PM
SM7037 New and Emerging Technologies Alt Core 20 CITY SPR TUE PM
FC7W03 Work Related Learning Option 20 NORTH AUT WED PM
          NORTH SPR WED PM
SJ7105 Multimedia Journalism Option 20 NORTH SPR THU PM
SM7098 Interaction Design Option 20 NORTH SPR FRI AM