Documentary Filmmaking: Landscape and Ecology

Key Facts

Course Code P311
  • Qualification


  • Typical Course Length

    1 Year

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The MA in Documentary Filmmaking: Landscape and Ecology provides a unique opportunity to develop skills as a documentary filmmaker within a research-led, cross-departmental and technologically diverse context. Aberystwyth is the perfect location for an immersion in documentary filmmaking that responds to space, place, landscape and ecology. Encouraging students to find their own creative voice, the scheme offers practical instruction in both analogue and digital filmmaking, making use of industry-standard digital equipment, as well as a dedicated film lab and darkroom for Super 8 and 16mm production. Students will explore the history and theory of documentary film alongside specialist modules in Human Geography, allowing them to create innovative and thought-provoking works that negotiate the pressing issues of our time. This new MA provides several different creative pathways, embracing traditional and non-traditional documentary modes and supporting students through a range of technical approaches.


Why study MA Documentary Filmmaking: Landscape and Ecology at Aberystwyth University?

  • Rare access to a range of specialist equipment, with support in both analogue and digital workflows.
  • Unique interdisciplinary focus that combines instruction in both Film and Geography.
  • Develop a unique documentary voice in an environment that encourages experimentation and risk-taking.
  • A vibrant department where drama, theatre, film, media, scenography and theatre design collide.
  • Study with internationally recognised artists, scholars and curators who will help you to identify appropriate modes of address and screening platforms.
  • An annual programme of departmental research seminars, with high-profile visiting speakers and performers.
  • Access to the National Screen and Sound Archive at the National Library of Wales.
  • Extraordinary and inspiring location and environment in close proximity to a range of key environmental organisations (Dyfi Biosphere, Centre for Alternative Technology, Natural Resources Wales).

Course Details


12 months full-time; 24 months part-time. The academic year (September to September) is divided into three semesters: September to January; January to June; June to September. 

Contact Time: 

Approximately 12-14 hours per week in the first two semesters. During semester three you will arrange your level of contact time with your assigned supervisor, who will support you through your final practical project. In addition to scheduled teaching times, you will also have access to specialist technical workspaces to pursue independent study and creative practice throughout the course. 


Assessment takes the form of: short and medium length film projects; critical reflections; creative workbooks; reflective journals, critical essays and a curatorial project. In the third semester, each student will complete a piece of research-led documentary film practice, the shape of which will be determined in discussion with the relevant supervisor. You will be supported by an experienced staff member in the submission of your film work to appropriate film festivals and screening events. 

Entry Requirements: 

Good Undergraduate degree 2.2 (UK) (or above) equating to a mark of 56.5 or above in a related subject. European and International applicants can find their grade equivalence on our comparability page

English Language Requirements: 

If you have a Bachelor’s degree from a UK University, you do not need to take an English proficiency test. Non-native English speakers who do not meet this requirement must take a University-recognised test of academic English language proficiency. For further information please see our English Language requirements page

Course Fees: 

Please see the tuition fee pages for current tuition fees. Please note that all fees are subject to an annual increase. 


Funding opportunities may be available, please check our funding calculator for details. 


Please note: The modules listed below are those currently intended for delivery during the next academic year and may be subject to change. They are included here to give an indication of how the course is structured.


Module Name Module Code Credit Value
Practice Research Project TFM1060 60
16mm Filmmaking TFM0720 20
Documentary Practices TFM0840 40
Ecocriticism and Ecocinema TFM0920 20
Key Concepts and Debates in Human Geography GGM3120 20


Module Name Module Code Credit Value
Exhibiting Film TFM3520 20
Human Geography Theory and Method GGM1320 20
Risk, Resilience and Behaviour in a Changing Environment EAM4420 20

* Also available partially or entirely through the medium of Welsh


You will be well-prepared to work within a breadth of creative and related industries, as individual practitioners or as collaborators within creative companies and organisations. You will also acquire essential skills to pursue practice-based research and further academic study at PhD level.

Learning & Teaching

How will I learn?

The taught part of the course is delivered through lectures, seminars, practical workshops and screenings. During semester three (June-September), you will arrange your level of contact time with your assigned supervisor. In addition to scheduled teaching times you will also have access to technical workspaces to pursue independent study and creative practice throughout the course.

What will I learn?

In the first two semesters (September to May), you will study a number of modules, together worth a total of 120 credits. Modules include: Documentary Practices; Exhibiting Film; Ecocriticism and Eco-cinema; 16mm Filmmaking; Key Concepts and Debates in Human Geography and Final Production Project.. Optional modules allow you to determine your own technical and/or critical specialism. They include: 16mm Filmmaking; Key Concepts and Debates in Human Geography; Geographical Impact and Engagement. The scheme has been designed to equip you with key transferrable skills and professional experience alongside your development as a creative practitioner in the field of documentary.

In the final semester (June to September), you will undertake a 60 credit practice-based Production Research Project, supported by a dedicated supervisor who will work closely with you.

How will I be assessed?

Assessment is designed to extend your critical and creative capabilities. You will engage in at least five practical film projects, write a number of essays, reflective journals and critical reflections and devise a curatorial project related to documentary film. In the third semester, you will complete a substantial research-led film project of 15-20 minutes, with a supporting 5,000 word essay.