Master of Arts Screen: Documentary

AFTRS-Australian Film Television and Radio School

About the Course

The MA Screen: Documentary seeks to produce the next generation of professional documentary makers, dedicated practitioners who aspire to excellence, are versatile, innovative, entrepreneurial and able to negotiate their place in the rapidly evolving and thriving non-fiction landscape.This intensive course is developed in conjunction with the industry at large, with a focus on concrete opportunities for forging your career. 


You will explore story theory and applied documentary practice across different forms. You will also work both in solo and crewed shoots and will complete exercises in various formats and styles. Cross-disciplinary workshops and individual projects will expand your understanding of all aspects of production, from the conception of ideas to pitching and the creation of market-ready elements.

Industry practitioners will contribute to the coursework program, providing insights to their practice. In small, cross-disciplinary groups, you will collaborate with your fellow students to develop an adaptable, creative skill-set and a shared vocabulary for cinematic storytelling. In your second year, you will embark upon a funded creative project using AFTRS’ extensive production facilities to realise your vision. You will learn to document and analyse your process through research workshops leading to a four-week professional placement at the end of your degree.


Since 2012 the documentary department at AFTRS has produced a slew of extraordinarily successful graduates whose shorts have screened all over the world, with some winning major prizes. Over 50% of our graduates have received development or production finance for long form projects, leading to the release of a number of feature and broadcast documentaries. Other graduates have gone on to secure significant roles at major production companies, or receive internships immediately upon graduation, both nationally and internationally. 


The two-year MA Screen combines high-level discipline training with shared subjects that allow students to develop a flexible, multi-faceted skill set and a deep knowledge of cinematic storytelling. The ongoing cycle of practical, industry-led collaborations enables students to test their skills and apply creative thinking in real-world environments. The course culminates in a major creative work.

The course is an intensive career accelerator designed to fast track students to head of department positions. Key features include:

  • One-to-one mentorships.
  • Taught by world-class industry practitioners.
  • Award-winning international guest speakers.
  • 4-week professional placement tailored to your goals.
  • Real world collaborative exercises to develop lasting partnerships.
  • Funding for an individual screen project.
  • Small class size - maximum of 6 places per discipline.
  • 3-days face-to-face teaching with 2 days free to pursue individual projects or work.
  • Scholarships available.
  • FEE Help approved

AFTRS has a long and successful history of postgraduate study. It is consistently rated as one of the top 15 film schools in the world by industry publication The Hollywood Reporter, the only Australian education institution on this list. AFTRS works closely with industry to ensure its courses are relevant and future-focused. Our graduates are sought after by industry across the country and around the world and have won and been nominated for a slate of Academy, Golden Globe, Emmy, BAFTA and AACTA awards.


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