Master On Campus

Social Documentary Film

School of Visual Arts

24 months
48600 USD/year
48600 USD/year
Tuition fee
Apply date
Start date


The Social Documentary Film program at School of Visual Arts fosters filmmakers who are technologically and artistically assured. Students make many films throughout the program; each allows them opportunities to experiment and hone their craft with support, guidance and critique. 


Documentary film has changed dramatically over the years, evolving into a fully realized art form. Growing audiences watch nonfiction in theaters, in TV and online to see fresh global stories, and be inspired by the lives of change-makers, artists and everyday people. These stories delve into our history, inspire action and let us discover distant regions and our own neighborhoods with a fresh eye. But, as evolutions in technology make it easier to make film, more content competes for the opportunity to be seen. So, it becomes vital to have the talent to produce a film that stands out. Those with true fluency in the form—and a network of like-minded artists and mentors—have a crucial advantage.

Located in the heart of New York City, “SocDoc” is a part of the most active documentary film community in the world. Students work directly with accomplished filmmakers—who are faculty, mentors and collaborators—giving students the benefit of their expertise.

They are introduced to the industry through an unparalleled faculty of active, award-winning filmmakers, as well as through internships, guest speakers, film festivals, screenings, and other events. The department also works to foster a direct line into the production community that will be their best network after graduation.

SocDoc alumni have made an impressive impact. Alumni films have received more than a million dollars in production funding from Sundance Institute, ITVS, Just Films/Ford Foundation, Jerome Foundation, CAAM, IDFA Bertha Fund, Chicken & Egg Pictures, Tribeca Film Institute Frameline, and others. They have won an Emmy and the Student Academy Award, and received multiple nominations. Alumni have earned industry support via international film markets, have been broadcast on TV, received theatrical release in the U.S. and around the world, received countless views online, and played top-tier festivals including Berlin, IDFA, SXSW, Hot Docs, Busan and Tribeca.

More About the Department

The Social Documentary Film program at School of Visual Arts provides a solid foundation in the fundamentals of nonfiction filmmaking, as well as an immersion into the critical and analytical process necessary to conceptualize and develop significant, socially relevant film. This program represents the convergence of the art of filmmaking, journalistic research, and social activism.

Our program is open to qualified students from varying backgrounds—prior filmmaking experience is encouraged but not required. Ultimately, we are looking for passionate, insightful individuals who know how to tell a great story, and are eager to learn how best to share these stories through documentary.

Working with documentary filmmakers as teachers and mentors in a collaborative environment, the MFA Social Documentary Film program will not only teach students how to tell a story, it will guide them toward a lifelong career in filmmaking.

Programme Structure

Courses include:

  • Cinematography and Sound 
  • Camera and Sound Lab 
  • Directing 
  •  Editing 
  •  Editing Lab 
  • Producing 
  •  Visionary Journalism 
  • Process and Style 

Key information


  • Full-time
    • 24 months

Start dates & application deadlines


60 alternative credits


On Campus

Academic requirements

We are not aware of any academic requirements for this programme.

Other requirements

General requirements

  • Application & Fee
  • Statement of Purpose
  • Resume/CV
  • Letters of Recommendation
  • Official Transcripts
  • Transcripts or Academic Records from Foreign Institutions
  • English Proficiency

Tuition Fee

To alway see correct tuition fees
  • International

    48600 USD/year
    Tuition Fee
    Based on the tuition of 24300 USD per semester during 24 months.
  • National

    48600 USD/year
    Tuition Fee
    Based on the tuition of 24300 USD per semester during 24 months.

Living costs for New York City

1819 - 3968 USD /month
Living costs

The living costs include the total expenses per month, covering accommodation, public transportation, utilities (electricity, internet), books and groceries.


Studyportals Tip: Students can search online for independent or external scholarships that can help fund their studies. Check the scholarships to see whether you are eligible to apply. Many scholarships are either merit-based or needs-based.

Our partners

Social Documentary Film
School of Visual Arts


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