School of Communications

MA in Documentary Practice

Shows digital cameras used in documentary making
Course Code:
Course Type:
NFQ Level
9 - Please see for further information
Delivery Modes
1 year
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700 5330

The new MA in Documentary Practice draws from our 30 years of experience teaching film and television in the School of Communications. It's our response to the increasing interest from students and the growing demand in the industry for long form documentary content.

Our School of Communications is recognized as the best media studies department in Ireland and ranks among the top 150 out of nearly 4,500 universities globally in the field of communications (according to QS Subject Rankings). We're dedicated to offering a range of advanced master's programmes that reflect the high-level knowledge and real-world experience of our faculty.

Programme Content and Structure

The course has been uniquely equipped with brand new camera equipment, a dedicated post-production lab as well as access to the school’s professional sound and television studios. What makes this MA programme truly unique is its holistic and practice based  approach to non-fiction storytelling. Students will immerse themselves in a multidisciplinary journey encompassing photography, audio production, and video production. Additionally, they will explore theory through extensive readings and the analysis of key documentary films and projects.

The culmination of this immersive experience is the capstone project, a production-based dissertation. After a meticulous development process, students will pitch their projects at an industry-standard level. Upon completion, these projects will be showcased in a public festival screening at the prestigious Irish Film Institute. 

Our commitment to quality education includes maintaining low student-teacher ratios, ensuring personalised attention, and providing consistent access to cutting-edge equipment within the School. While prior production knowledge from an undergraduate degree or industry experience is ideal, our programme is designed to challenge and elevate students from the very beginning, guaranteeing that their final dissertations meet the high standards expected in the professional world.

We actively promote external engagement throughout the programme, underscoring the enduring impact of our students' work beyond their university tenure. These engagements take the form of:

  1. Masterclass Series: Our students have the privilege of learning directly from industry experts who are at the pinnacle of their craft. This esteemed panel of professionals changes annually to reflect the latest trends and notable achievements in the field.
  2. Pitching Sessions: We provide a unique opportunity for students to pitch their ideas to commissioned editors in film, television, radio, and the arts. This direct interaction with decision-makers in the real world is a priceless experience, granting insights and connections that can significantly benefit their future careers.
  3. Festival Participation: Exceptional film projects completed during the summer are showcased at the renowned Irish Film Institute as part of the IFI Documentary Festival held in September. This is a public event which showcases student work to a paying audience and provides the final public engagement of the twelve month programme. 

Current MA in Documentary Practice programme structure

Course Life

Modules are delivered in a mixture of intensive on campus production days and online lectures. During term, it is envisaged that students will need to be physically on campus for one full day per week. Our programme stands out for its unique approach to documentary practice education. We prioritise:

  1. Innovative Approach: Fostering a creative and student-centered learning environment that encourages self-expression and collaboration.
  2. Hands-On Learning: Embracing a 'learn by doing' philosophy that cultivates excellence, innovation, and professionalism among our students.
  3. Cutting-Edge Resources: Providing access to state-of-the-art technical resources and equipment to ensure students are equipped with the latest tools of the trade.
  4. Experienced Faculty: Our dedicated teaching staff comprises both professional practitioners and academics, offering a wealth of real-world expertise and academic knowledge to guide our students on their educational journey.

​​Why should I choose DCU?

At the heart of our School's current strategy is the provision of a hands-on audio-visual programme, and documentary practice perfectly aligns with this vision. It sits at the intersection of journalism, filmmaking, and multimedia, making it a natural fit. Our commitment to this programme is further reflected in our diverse and accomplished full-time staff, which now includes internationally renowned practitioners in the field of documentary filmmaking, photography, and sound production.

Meet our outstanding team:

Tom Burke Tom Burke: An accomplished documentary filmmaker known for works such as 'Losing Alaska,' 'Shooting the Darkness,' and 'Sold – the Eircom Shares Saga.'
Dragana Jurišić Dragana Jurišić: A multiple award-winning photographer and documentary maker whose work is showcased in prestigious institutions like the National Gallery Ireland and the Arts Council.
Andreas Aurelio Rauh Andreas Aurelio Rauh: A sound designer and field recordist, Andreas is the recipient of a British Council grant and brings invaluable expertise to our programme.

In addition to these industry experts, our team includes specialists in the history and theory of documentary. 

Furthermore, we provide access to cutting-edge facilities, including a recently constructed media studio equipped with industry-standard cameras, sound recording equipment, and editing tools. 

This ensures our students have access to the best resources for honing their skills and achieving their creative aspirations.


Graduates from the Masters in Documentary Practice will be both valuable potential hires for the audio-visual industry and also have the potential to take ownership of their own career paths. Their mix of practical production skills and storytelling abilities will mean that many avenues of professional progression will be open to them. Indeed, graduates should find that they are prepared to either join a team of production operatives at the highest level or lead such a team.

Potential careers

  • sound recordist
  • camera operator
  • director
  • television producer
  • radio producer
  • researcher
  • editor
  • sound editor
  • In house communications
  • Public Service


The minimum criteria for entry to this taught postgraduate programme is that applicants hold a minimum of a second class honours, grade two primary degree (Level 8)  or equivalent professional qualification. In addition to the standard application form and personal statement outlining their interest in the course, applicants will be required to submit:

• a portfolio of previous work (this does not have to be to a professional standard, but should demonstrate basic familiarity with either video, photographic or aural story-telling


• a written proposal for a documentary project (video, photographic or audio), outlining the objectives, style and intended audience for the production.

Applicants with appropriate combinations of professional qualifications and experience may also be considered. This includes discipline-specific knowledge and know-how; transferable skills; basic research competency; personal effectiveness.

In the case of international applicants, having educational qualifications of a standard equivalent to those outlined above. In addition, where such candidates are non-native speakers of the English language, they must satisfy the University of their competency in the English language, with a minimum score of IELTS 6.5 or equivalent. Transfer from related Level 9 programmes in DCU or other third-level institutions is subject to having fulfilled educational qualifications of a standard equivalent to those outlined above.



Full time

EU Status Fee
Non EU Fee.

Next Steps

To apply for this programme:

  • All Applicants must apply through DCU's Student Application Portal which is available here. Here's a quick step by step guide if you need help with your application.
  • Provide Academic Transcripts for each and every year of study with English translation if applicable.
  • personal statement of 1,000 words (maximum) outlining their;
        (i) suitability for the programme;
        (ii)  relevant recent experiences
        (iii)  involvements in projects or initiatives specific to the programme.
  • Please upload a CV under the "Supplemental Items & Documents" section.
  • a portfolio of previous work (this does not have to be to a professional standard, but should demonstrate basic familiarity with either video, photographic or aural story-telling


  • a written proposal for a documentary project (video, photographic or audio), outlining the objectives, style and intended audience for the production.
  • If applicable, evidence of competence in the English language as per DCU entry requirements.  Please see link

Please note if you are a non EU student and require a study visa, you are not eligible to apply for part-time programmes as study visas are only granted for full-time programmes.

Application Deadlines

Applications will be accepted on a rolling basis until the programme is full or until the following dates:
• Closing date for non EU applicants is 1st July 2024.
• Closing date for EU applicants is 31st July 2024.

Note applicants who require a study visa for the purposes of studying at DCU, are advised to apply as early as possible. All entry requirements should be met before the commencement of the programme.

Queries from EU applicants should be directed to
Queries from non EU applicants should be directed to

Commencement of Programme
The programme commences in September 2024.