MA Social Impact Documentary Filmmaking



MA Social Impact Documentary Filmmaking

This postgraduate course gives students an understanding of the skills, knowledge and contacts required to succeed as a documentary filmmmaker, whether they are from a filmmaking or activism background.

The course celebrates the unique role that documentaries play in society and the power of storytelling. The course is practice-led, giving an introduction to shaping documentary concepts with the potential to connect with audiences on a global level. You’ll learn how to devise impact and engagement strategies, with the help of the school’s key partner the Bertha Foundation, and its associated companies Bertha DocHouse and BritDoc.

The course is built around a series of distinct modules encouraging dynamic learning.  These range from creative documentary production to the business of producing documentary films, research methods and designing content for new media platforms.

During the year long course, students research, develop and create a major project, devise impact and engagement strategies and pitch to an industry panel.

Course Highlights

  • The course involves a high level of practical filmmaking elements, supported by modules on documentary research methods, effective strategy planning and financing productions.
  • Our tutors are industry professionals.  This allows students to receive training of a high standard from tutors who are Industry professionals.
  • The course pairs students with experienced mentors from the documentary field, who act as advisors on the development of the major project.
  • The course involves a higher than normal proportion of scheduled contact hours to reflect the higher level of practical, professional skills taught on the programme.
  • Free access to equipment and facilities outside of class time
  • Students will be able to connect with our partners via their project, such as the Bertha Foundation, DocHouse and BritDoc.
  • Students pitch their major documentary projects to a panel of industry professionals at the end of the MA programme.

Who is the course for?

Potential students will be filmmakers looking to specialise in social impact documentary filmmaking or activists looking to develop the filmmaking skills to tell their story through documentaries.

Applicants should have a previous undergraduate degree, or equivalent experience.

Course Map

Term 1
1.  Creative Documentary Production 1: Technical Foundations
2.  Beyond the Documentary: Creating Social Impact
3.  Documentary Research Methods 1

Term 2
1.  Creative Documentary Production 2: Beyond Linear Storytelling
2.  The Business of Documentary
3.  Documentary Research Methods 2

Term 3
(one of the following)
1.  Postgraduate Project: Documentary Production OR
2.  Postgraduate Project: Feature Documentary Proposal

Course Overview

  • One year
  • Based in London (East London, Brick Lane)
  • 10 to 12 students maximum
  • Number of teaching days: 2-2.5 per week
  • Number of teaching hours per day: 6 hours
  • Number of assessments per module: 2
  • Assessment types: Practical and/or Essay

During production, students are expected to work long hours and might be expected to shoot during evenings and/or weekends.

Entry Criteria

The selection criteria and admission policy for our MA programmes can be downloaded by clicking on the link below:

MA Selection and Admission criteria

Students who have a passion for documentary, but no formal experience will be advised to take an additional one-month course in filmmaking.

Application Process

Applicants will be interviewed, either in person at Central Film School, or by Skype.  Click here to apply.


Find out more

If you'd like us to give you a call to talk about this course in more detail, fill out the form below and we will contact you.

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The School is working in partnership with Future Finance to help students who need a loan to finance their studies.  Click here for more details


The MA in Social Impact Documentary Filmmaking is validated by the University of Gloucestershire.

Dates & Fees

The course runs annually every October, starting October 2018.

The course fee is £15,000 for all students (UK and international). This includes all filming fees for the first two terms.

For the graduation projects in Term 3 the school will provide all the necessary equipment and facilities required for each individual production.  Students may choose to supplement their production budget through individual fundraising or crowdfunding in the region of £500 - £2000, in consultation with their Programme Leader.

International student (non EU/EEA)

Click here for more information if you are a non EU/EEA student and will require a visa to study in the UK.