Program type:


On Campus
Est. time to complete:

3 years
Credit Hours:

Refine your visual storytelling techniques and craft engaging nonfiction narratives with an M.F.A. in documentary production and studies.
The Department of Media Arts offers coursework leading to a Master of Fine Arts degree in Media Arts. Our M.F.A. program, with an emphasis in documentary production and studies, is one of the few in the nation and the only program of its kind in the region. Using a wide variety of professional, high definition cameras, audio gear and various post-production platforms, you'll be engaged in rigorous and ambitious production opportunities, while being immersed in the history and current theories of the global, documentary genre.

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Why Earn a Documentary Production and Studies Master's?

The Master of Fine Arts degree is now the most distinguished terminal degree for production faculty at college and university programs in the United States.

The goal of the M.F.A. degree in Documentary Production and Studies is the academic, aesthetic and technical training of production professionals. Our M.F.A. program is one of the few in the nation to emphasize documentary production and studies and it is the only program of its kind in the region.

Pursuing a graduate degree in Media Arts at the University of North Texas provides you many distinctive advantages, including:

  • Access to professional equipment, state-of-the-art facilities and a community of artists and scholars engaging with emergent, global media strategies
  • A curriculum that supplies a healthy combination of history, theory and industry studies, and comprehensive education in the aesthetic, ethical and legal aspects of media production and consumption
  • Opportunities to present your work at festivals, conferences and other related events

You'll receive instruction from internationally recognized scholars, seasoned media professionals and award-winning filmmakers. They've written textbooks used in courses throughout the world and had film and video productions broadcast on TV and screened at prestigious national and international venues. Many faculty members also work with national and international organizations dealing with media education and film preservation.

The degree culminates in a final documentary thesis production, accompanied by a substantial written thesis. An internship is required and study/research abroad is strongly encouraged.

Marketable Skills
  • Documentary storytelling through cinematic devices
  • Proficiency in essential components of documentary cinematography
  • Demonstrate professionalism synthesis theory/production
  • Documentary producer leadership
  • Recognize/evaluate diverse cultural documentaries technologies

Documentary Production and Studies Master's Highlights

Because of the quality instruction our students receive, our students have earned grants for rigorous research projects and had productions screened at domestic and international festivals.
We provide opportunities to study abroad and conduct research in London, Cuba and other international locations. In addition, there is an established student/faculty exchange program with the University of Sunderland (United Kingdom).
KNTU-FM, our 100,000-watt radio station, broadcasts educational, informational and entertainment programming. All UNT students are eligible to work at KNTU, where they learn radio production, programming and station administration.
North Texas Television (ntTV) features student-produced programs on a wide range of topics, including news, sports, public affairs and entertainment. All UNT students are eligible to work at ntTV.
Several graduate assistantships, graduate fellowships, and scholarships are awarded each year to new and continuing students.
The Department of Media Arts has placed a strong commitment on current high definition technologies in digital cinema. Graduate students have access to a wide variety of designated cameras, rigs, lenses, audio equipment and post production platforms. We have courses designed to encourage individual, single-author documentary media productions, as well as larger crewed productions.

What Can You Do With a Documentary Production and Studies Master's?

Alumni of this program have gone onto careers in documentary producing, directing, cinematography, sound, postproduction, broadcast management, social media platform design and management, international distribution, international production, freelance producers and documentary photography.

Other graduates hold tenured, tenure-track and multi-year faculty appointments and faculty artist positions at prestigious universities nationwide.

Documentary Production and Studies Master's Courses You Could Take

History of Documentary (3 hrs)
Overview of the history of the documentary film from 1895 to the present in the context of historical and political events of the time. Examination of the evolution of style and form, including the impact of production technology on the process.
Cinema and Video Verité (3 hrs)
Examines the development of this major style in documentary film and video, from its introduction in 1960 to its present use in nonfiction film and television. Outlines its history in detail and explores its employment in reality television, fiction film and television drama.
Theory and Technique of Visual Editing (3 hrs)
Overview of some of the most useful editing techniques and theories in the history and current practice of film and television. The craft of editing is introduced using digital nonlinear editing systems.
Documentary Preproduction (3 hrs)
Design of documentary productions of all types, in both film and video. Topics include the selection of subjects, research techniques, proposal writing, location scouting, funding and budgeting. Case histories are examined and excerpts from a variety of documentary productions are screened.
Media Law and Regulations (3 hrs)
Advanced study of the law and regulations governing film, television, and digital media.
Documentary, Visual Anthropology and Immersive Storytelling (3 hrs)
Advanced study of the theories, tools and techniques used to document and critically examine human culture within the fields of documentary film, visual anthropology, and emergent, immersive media forms.

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