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MA Documentary and Factual Programme Production

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  • Objectives
    This taught MA will give you a critical understanding of the history of media production in the documentary/factual mode and the current theoretical approaches and debates relating to documentary/factual production. Ethical, legal and regulatory issues will be explored within the structures of the UK and global media systems. Central to the course is the production of a media artefact in documentary/factual mode and you will be equipped with the necessary professional and practical skills to achieve this to a high standard. The University media production facilities are of a professional standard.
  • Entry requirements
    A good honours degree from a recognised university or other institution of higher education, evidence of strong motivation and interest in journalism, successful performance at interview. Applications from mature students welcome.
  • Academic Title
    MA Documentary and Factual Programme Production
  • Course description

    Within the creative industries sector, documentary and factual programming have been broadcasting staples since the introduction of radio. Both have enjoyed a sustained and, indeed, growing place within the TV schedules since the mid-1990s and are still the basis of much radio as well as new media production. Factual life-style programming, docusoaps and reality shows’ have replaced (but not entirely) traditional documentary and docudrama production.


    Full-time mode is normally five days a week. Part-time mode is one full day of contact (lectures, seminars, tutorials, presentations) and one and a half days of access to all the departments technical facilities with full support.

    Key feature

    MA Documentary/Factual Programme Production aims to provide students with a comprehensive understanding of documentary/factual production across a variety of media, viz: photography and the time-based media of radio, film, television and new media platforms in a thorough theoretical and historical context. It is distinctive in that it treats documentary expression across a wider range of media than is available within any other single graduate programme.

    Below is a selection of the units that were available in the 2006/07 academic session. However, please note that modules may vary from year to year.

    Units of study

        * Introduction to Documentary/Factual Programming Production (Sound/Moving Image) or (Still Image/New Media)
        * Documentary/Factual Programming Production II
        * History & Theory of the Realistic Image
        * Media Ethics, Law and Regulation
        * Media Industries
        * Critical Approaches to Media
        * Final Project Pre-Production
        * Final Project
        * Dissertation


    The MA Documentary/Factual Programme Production adopts a linked Postgraduate Certificate, Diploma and Master of Arts scheme, delivered in modular form wherein each of the 15 units is rated at 15 CATS points. The successful completion of five units qualifies students for the award of a postgraduate certificate. A further five units earns a postgraduate diploma. The Degree of Master of Arts requires the successful completion of a final five units for a total of 180 CATS points.

    The teaching and learning strategy adopted within the MA Documentary/Factual Programme Production scheme derives from the University’s plan as it applies to the education of creative media professionals while at the same time ensuring the development of a wide range of transferable skills. Teaching and learning is undertaken through lectures, screenings, group and personal tutorials, seminars, presentations, study visits and group production assignments. Students are expected to examine critically (on their own initiative and under supervision) a range of documentary/factual programmes and products as well as a wide range of texts, magazine and academic journals and sites.

    They will also be expected to demonstrate a rising level of skills acquisition in a graded series of practice projects.

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