Master of Arts in Film and Television; Documentary Film

Aalto University

Program Description
EFMD Equis Accredited
AACSB Accredited

Master of Arts in Film and Television; Documentary Film

Aalto University

Master's Programme in Film and Television - Documentary Film

Goal of education

The goal of the Master’s Programme in Film and Television, major in Documentary Film is to train visionary documentary film directors who create the future of the field. In Master’s degree studies, the students deepen their vision regarding theory, history and contemporary expression in the genre, and develop their competence in relation to the changing professional field of documentary film.

A broader understanding of development in the field and its future possibilities is built on the foundation of the director’s competence in his/her professional role. Direction of the MA diploma film is an important framework within which students strengthen their specialisation in the professional field of the genre and take part in developing a tradition of expression.

A graduate with a major in Documentary Film (Master’s programme) is able to:

  • work as an independent documentary film director, teacher, instructor or be employed in applied professional tasks in the documentary film profession (such as festivals, financing, distribution, production, production of commissioned films)
  • identify his/her style as a director
  • question and develop practices in the field
  • question and reflect on the traditions in his/her field and apply for further film studies.

More about the language of instruction

The language of instruction in the Master’s Programme in Film and Television, major in Documentary Film is Finnish. However, part of the courses are taught in English. The degree can be completed in English.

Education content

The major in Documentary Film allows the student to deepen his/her vision of directing a documentary film. The teaching consists of workshops and lecture modules built around different varying themes, where progressing in the diploma film process is integrated with advanced studies in various approaches to the genre and styles, traditions and history, new forms of the modern documentary and the theory of the genre. Directing the diploma film and the related written diploma work are the essential framework of the master’s programme studies, a process that is supported by the other studies.

Teaching is offered in workshop format and as lecture courses, Master courses held by visiting teachers and independent project work. The students familiarise themselves with the history of film and especially that of documentaries, and are comprehensively introduced to the new forms of modern documentaries. Film analysis, reflecting on the conditions of one’s own medium, writing and thinking are important forms of teaching that support practical activities. Knowledge of other arts and experimental and fictional film as well as familiarising oneself with documentary expression in the fields of new media, visual arts and other media is vital. The students' ability to observe and interpret reality, their readiness to encounter people, critical thinking, willingness to experiment and ability to work in a team are developed through the above-mentioned teaching methods.

Career opportunities

The students graduate as independent film directors who have the opportunity to work as players, teachers, critics or event organisers who shape the future of the genre while working in organisations and at festivals and in the broader field of culture. In particular, master’s degree studies are a requirement for working in teaching positions. Students who graduate from the programme with a master’s degree are at the forefront of the field in our country and have an important influence as instructors or when working in other sectors. The works produced by graduates of Documentary Film studies are highly visible at various international festivals.


Students are encouraged to complete part of their studies in international exchange programmes or internships. International visiting teachers and students enrich the teaching and help students network.

Students attend and present their films at international film festivals. Various international film events, seminars and workshops are an essential part of documentary film teaching.

Admission procedure

Applicants for the Master’s Programme in Film and Television; Documentary Film apply in the master’s level admissions in the field of Art and Design. Students who have already made at least one film that has been publicly presented and thus demonstrated their basic skills as documentary film-makers are selected for master's degree studies. Gifted students who want to deepen their understanding of the means of expression, history and theory of documentary film as a genre are selected for the major.

This school offers programs in:
  • English
  • Finnish
  • Swedish
Aalto University

Last updated October 21, 2016
Duration & Price
This course is Campus based
Start Date
Start date
Aug. 2017
2 years
Full time
Request Info
The application period is 1 December 2015 - 15 January 2016.
Start date Aug. 2017
Finland Helsinki
Application deadline Request Info
The application period is 1 December 2015 - 15 January 2016.
End date Request Info
Duration 2 years