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Master's students after graduating

Documentary Master's Concentration (M.A.)

Documentary films are powerful vehicles for distilling complex social issues through character-driven, cinematic storytelling. In the Philip Merrill College of Journalism’s documentary master's concentration, you'll develop strong filmmaking skills, while also learning the rigors of fact-based reporting.

Videography studentUpon graduation, you'll be ready to thrive in a career as an independent documentary filmmaker or video journalist, with a lifelong professional network that you can continue to rely on for mentorship and support. 

Merrill College's documentary master's concentration is flexible and designed for journalists and non-journalists alike, and for 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 four-semester 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.

Videography studentsIn 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 on data journalism, animation and investigative reporting. 

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

Fall I

Video and Documentary Cinematography (3 credits)
Documentary, Visual Theory course TBA (3 credits)
Journalism Law & Ethics (3 credits)
Broadcast Writing and Reporting (3 credits)


Topics in Broadcasting and Electronic Media; Documentary Filmmaking (3 credits)
Documentary-specific Research Methods course TBA (3 credits)
Elective (3 credits)


Master’s Thesis Research (3 credits)*

Fall II

Video and Documentary Lab or Elective (3 credits)
Master’s Thesis Research (3 credits)*

*In lieu of a written master’s thesis, a master’s student will submit a documentary of 30 minutes or more, along with a short document with an abstract, literature review, methodology and reflection on the filmmaking process.

Credits: 30


Learn from an esteemed faculty of accomplished filmmakers and videographers as you look to launch your own career. Click below for bios. 

Portrait of Josh Davidsburg

Josh Davidsburg

Senior Lecturer
Portrait of Alanna Delfino-Kopania

Alanna Delfino-Kopania

Broadcast Lecturer
Portrait of Krishnan Vasudevan

Krishnan Vasudevan

Associate Professor in Visual Communication

Partners and Centers

Merrill College is home to the nationally recognized Howard Center for Investigative Journalism and The Shirley Povich Center for Sports Journalism. Recent projects from these centers have been published in partnership with NPR, PBS NewsHour and USA Today. Throughout their time at the college, students have opportunities to work on projects with the Howard and Povich centers. 

The college is also partnering with Maryland Public Television to create screening opportunities for student’s projects.

For More Information

Portrait of Alexander Pyles

Alexander Pyles

Associate Dean, Academic Affairs; Director of Master's Program; Lecturer
Portrait of Serap Rada

Serap Rada

Assistant Director, Graduate Studies
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