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Merrill College

Merrill College Launches Documentary Master’s Concentration

COLLEGE PARK — The University of Maryland’s Philip Merrill College of Journalism will launch a documentary master’s concentration beginning in the 2024-25 academic year, Dean Rafael Lorente announced Monday. The Fall 2024 application deadline for the master’s program is Jan. 17.

A New Documentary Master's Concentration at Merrill College“Documentary films are powerful vehicles for distilling complex social issues through character-driven, cinematic storytelling,” Lorente said. “When pursuing a documentary master’s at Merrill College, students will develop strong filmmaking skills and have the opportunity to collaborate with distinguished faculty who stand among the nation's top long-form storytellers, investigative journalists and data journalists. Upon graduation, students will be ready to thrive as independent documentary filmmakers or video journalists.”

The four-semester Master of Arts program is flexible and designed for journalists and non-journalists alike, as it is geared toward applicants from a wide range of disciplines and professions who have a deep appreciation for documentary film and its vital role to an informed democracy. 

At the completion of the program, students produce a 30-minute documentary short ready for distribution at film festivals or that they can adapt into a feature. In their first two semesters, students will receive intensive training on cinematography, film editing, documentary theory and research methods. 

In the last two semesters, students will focus on completing their thesis film, with mentorship from a committee of three faculty members. In addition to the core curriculum, Merrill College students have the opportunity to take cutting-edge courses in data journalism, animation and investigative reporting. 

Students will also be encouraged to take advantage of the broad graduate course offerings in other departments at the University of Maryland to enhance their knowledge and further hone their filmmaking craft. 

Merrill College is uniquely positioned to train the next generation of documentary filmmakers with multiple accomplished documentarians on the faculty.

Senior Lecturer Josh Davidsburg is an award-winning journalist and filmmaker whose first feature-length documentary, “Queen of the Capital,” screened at film festivals across the country and is distributed by Mutiny Pictures. He is currently in production on his next two feature films.

Associate Professor Krishnan Vasudevan is a filmmaker and scholar who produces documentaries, research and journalism. His 2022 feature documentary debut, “One Driver, One Mic,” was an official selection at several film festivals, including the 2023 Big Sky Documentary Film Festival, and is distributed through Collective Eye Films. He is currently co-directing an environmental justice documentary feature about the South Baltimore community of Curtis Bay. 

Broadcast Lecturer Alanna Delfino-Kopania is an award-winning cinematographer and video journalist who co-produced “Queen of the Capital.”

For more information and to apply for the program, visit

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