MFA IN DOCUMENTARY PRODUCTION
The UCLA TFT Master of Fine Arts degree in documentary production seeks students with imagination, curiosity, and a desire to take risks and cross boundaries in order to reach farther and dig deeper. We believe in reinventing documentary, using new technologies and cross-pollinating between disciplines. We believe the best training is through working closely with faculty actively contributing to the field.
Join UCLA TFT documentary alums such as Garrett Bradley (Time) Alex Gibney (Going Clear, Taxi to the Dark Side), Grace Lee (American Revolutionary: The Evolution of Grace Lee Boggs, The Grace Lee Project), Laura Gabbert (City of Gold, No Impact Man) and Caveh Zahedi (The Sheik and I, I Am a Sex Addict).
The Documentary MFA is committed to preparing our students for the profession while pushing and experimenting with new forms. This interdisciplinary program understands documentary as a dynamic practice that includes critical studies, research, creation, and collaboration, but also distribution, exhibition, and marketing to bring your story to the world. We are located in Los Angeles, international center of the media film industries and among the most diverse cities in the world. We are driven by a dynamic faculty working at the crossroads of documentary practice with state of the art equipment. We are enriched by an international network of artists, alumni, collaborators, and supporters.
The first year of the program is an intensive workshop in the collaborative processes of production. The curriculum includes directing, cinematography, editing, preproduction and postproduction.
The second year of the program provides further development of the student-mentor relationship in collaborative workshops as the student writes, directs, and develops their creative vision while taking critical studies and advanced craft courses.
In the final year, students create a documentary thesis production, a significantly researched and articulated vision for a film with a distinct voice and opportunity for social impact.
Please note: We are currently undergoing a comprehensive curriculum review. The courses listed below represent a sampling of the kinds of courses that we expect to offer in relation to the Documentary concentration. Program requirements are currently under revision and will be updated as we complete our process of curriculum review.
Students in the Documentary concentration take a combination of courses that are specific to documentary making and others that are congruent with the Directing or Cinematography concentrations. These may include but are not limited to the following:
- DOCUMENTARY RESEARCH METHODOLOGIES
- ADVANCED DOCUMENTARY WORKSHOP
- INTRODUCTION TO IMMERSIVE DOCUMENTARY
- BUSINESS OF DOCUMENTARY
- INTRODUCTION TO DIRECTING/COVERAGE
- DIRECTION OF ACTORS FOR FILM AND TELEVISION
- ADVANCED DIRECTION OF ACTORS FOR FILM AND TELEVISION
- ADVANCED COVERAGE
- DIRECTING ACTORS FOR CAMERA
- WRITING SHORT SCREENPLAYS
- ADVANCED WRITING FOR SHORT FILM AND TELEVISION
- ADVANCED NARRATIVE DIRECTING WORKSHOP
- ADVANCED ABSTRACT/EXPERIMENTAL MEDIA WORKSHOP
- COSTUME DESIGN
- DESIGN FOR FILM AND TELEVISION
- FILM ANALYSIS
- INTRODUCTION TO CINEMATOGRAPHY
- INTERMEDIATE CINEMATOGRAPHY
- ADVANCED CINEMATOGRAPHY
- DIGITAL CINEMATOGRAPHY
- LIGHTING FOR FILM AND TELEVISION
- CINEMATOGRAPHY AND DIRECTING
- EMERGING TECHNIQUES AND TECHNOLOGIES IN CINEMATOGRAPHY
- DIGITAL WORKFLOW
- DIGITAL MANIPULATION ON SET AND POST
- AVID EDITING
- ADVANCED FILM EDITING
- POSTPRODUCTION SOUND DESIGN
- DIGITAL AUDIO POSTPRODUCTION
- INTRODUCTION TO FEATURE FILM WRITING
- INTRODUCTION TO TV WRITING
- FEATURE FILM WRITING
- CONTEMPORARY TOPICS IN THEATER, FILM AND TELEVISION
- SPECIAL TOPICS: TRANSNATIONAL CINEMA
- SPECIAL TOPICS: REALISM
- SPECIAL TOPICS: ALTERNATIVE MEDIA PRAXIS
- DIGITAL IMAGERY AND VISUALIZATION
- INTRODUCTION TO VIRTUAL REALITY
- ADVANCED DIGITAL MEDIA WORKGROUP
- THESIS PREPARATION
- CAREER STRATEGIES
B. FTVDM Electives
In addition to required and elective coursework in Documentary, students also have the opportunity to take courses in other specializations within FTVDM. All program and departmental requirements (such as Cinema & Media Studies seminars, classes in outside specializations, and/or shared departmental classes) must be completed no later than the quarter when the advancement to candidacy takes place.
Seminar courses in Cinema and Media Studies may include:
- 203 FILM AND OTHER ARTS
- 204 VISUAL ANALYSIS
- 206A EUROPEAN FILM HISTORY
- 206B SELECTED TOPICS IN AMERICAN FILM HISTORY
- 206C AMERICAN FILM HISTORY**
- 207 EXPERIMENTAL FILM
- 209A DOCUMENTARY FILM
- 208B CLASSICAL FILM THEORY**
- 208C CONTEMPORARY FILM THEORY
- 209B FICTIONAL FILM
- 209D ANIMATED FILM
- 217 SELECTED TOPICS IN TELEVISION HISTORY**
- 217A AMERICAN TELEVISION HISTORY**
- 218 CULTURE, MEDIA AND SOCIETY
- 219 FILM AND SOCIETY
- 220 TELEVISION AND SOCIETY
- 221 FILM AUTHORS
- 222 FILM GENRES
- 223 VISUAL PERCEPTION
- 224 COMPUTER APPLICATIONS FOR FILM STUDY
- 225 VIDEOGAME THEORY
- 246 ELECTRONIC CULTURE
- 270 FILM CRITICISM
- 271 TELEVISION CRITICISM
- 277 NARRATIVE STUDIES
- 298 SPECIAL STUDIES (Topics vary and must be selected in consultation with the Graduate Counselor)
Please note that not all courses are offered every quarter. Students should consult the registrar's schedule for available courses and class times.
**These courses are sometimes taught as a core course for M.A. students and may not be available to MFA students in any given quarter.
As we are undergoing a comprehensive curriculum review, we will not be accepting applications for Fall 2021. The department plans to resume Graduate Documentary admissions for students entering in Fall 2022.
All M.F.A. programs in Film, Television and Digital Media are full-time. The Department admits new students only once each year for the Fall Quarter.
We do not accept films, DVDs or CDs.
Applicants must submit all required application materials to be considered for admission.
By the time of entrance, M.F.A. applicants must:
- Have at least a 3.0 GPA.
- Satisfy the University of California’s Graduate Admission Requirements.
- Complete equivalent to a 4-year U.S. bachelor’s degree.
Please complete all of the following steps:
Step 1: Online
- Complete the UCLA Graduate Division Online Application.
- Indicate MFA, Film and Television, Production/Documentary as the program.
- Upload the Statement of Purpose.
- Submit a 1-2 page document.
- Upload an Essay on Documentary as Storytelling.
- Submit a 2-4 page document.
- Upload Unofficial copies of all transcripts.
- Submit Three Letters of Recommendation
- Enter the Names and Emails of all recommenders into the UCLA Graduate Division Online Application.
Step 2: Mail
- Mail an Official copy of all transcripts from each Undergraduate and Graduate institutions attended.
- Note: Community College transcripts are not necessary.
- Request that all Test Scores be sent directly to UCLA.
- The GRE UCLA Code is 4837 and the Department Code is 2409.
- Note: The GRE is not required for M.F.A. applicants.
Please send all applicable materials to:
Graduate Film Admissions: Documentary
UCLA Department of Film, Television, and Digital Media
103 East Melnitz Hall, Box 951622
Los Angeles, CA 90095-1622
For more information on requirements and applying to UCLA as an International Student, visit https://grad.ucla.edu/admissions/international-applicants/.
English Proficiency: Any international applicant whose first language is not English must certify proficiency in English when applying to UCLA, and, if admitted, upon arrival. Such applicants must submit scores received on the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) or the International English Language Testing System (IELTS) as part of their application. The UCLA Code is 4837 and the Department Code is 2409. For more information about this requirement, visit https://grad.ucla.edu/admissions/english-requirements/. International applicants who have received a Bachelor’s degree from an American institution are not required to take the TOEFL.
Academic Records: Although the UCLA Graduate Division Application enables applicants to upload an unofficial copy of their academic records, all applicants are required to submit official records from each academic institution attended. For more information about this requirement, visit https://grad.ucla.edu/admissions/required-academic-records/.
Undergraduate Degree Requirement: Applicants must complete equivalent to a 4 year US Bachelor’s Degree. International students who hold three-year ordinary pass degrees, or who hold professional diplomas in accounting, business, librarianship, social work, physical education, health education and so on, or four-year degrees, diplomas or higher certificates from technical, vocational or post-secondary specialized schools are NOT eligible for graduate admission. For Academic Requirements by Country or Educational System, visit: https://grad.ucla.edu/admissions/required-academic-records.
Proof of Funding for Visa: U.S. immigration law requires that international applicants, if admitted, show documented evidence that sufficient funds to cover all tuition, fees, transportation, and living expenses are available for the first year of their studies at UCLA. This must be proven before a Certificate of Eligibility (I-20 or DS2019) for a visa can be issued. For more information about this requirement, visit https://grad.ucla.edu/admissions/visa-procedures/ .
For U.S. Citizens and Permanent Residents interested in receiving financial aid, note that the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) deadline for UCLA is March 2. Applicants must complete the FAFSA by this date if they want to be eligible for all awards, work-study, and scholarships that UCLA offers. If applying after March 2, please check with the Financial Aid Office for available funding opportunities. www.financialaid.ucla.edu
DREAM ActFor non-U.S. citizens or non-permanent residents who are approved to pay in-state tuition because they graduated from a high school in California; they will need to complete the California DREAM application by the March 2 deadline. The DREAM application can be accessed at https://dream.csac.ca.gov. If applying after March 2, please check with the Financial Aid Office for available funding opportunities. www.financialaid.ucla.edu
** Please do not contact the department to check on your application, as we cannot update you on your application status or materials.