May 24, 2024  
2011-2012 Graduate Studies Bulletin 
2011-2012 Graduate Studies Bulletin [ARCHIVED BULLETIN]

Documentary Studies and Production, M.F.A.

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Associate Professor Noschese, Graduate Program Director, (516) 463-6549

The M.F.A. Program in Documentary Studies and Production is designed to teach students the critical, analytical and practical tools for producing documentaries. In combining studies and production, the program reflects a balance between critical inquiry and technical skill, while stressing the importance of aesthetics, ethics and humanistic values through personal, creative expression.

The M.F.A. program is designed to encourage in our students the capacity to discover, develop and express their own voices and individual perspectives on important issues in society in general and their communities in particular. With the M.F.A. as their terminal degree, graduates of the program will be prepared to continue their work in current and emerging fields of nonfiction media as well as to teach at the university level.

Admission Requirements

Prospective students must complete and return an application to the Dean of Graduate Admissions, 126 Hofstra University, Hempstead, NY 11549-1260. The application process includes:

  1. Baccalaureate degree from an accredited college or university.
  2. Undergraduate overall GPA of at least 2.75.
  3. A written personal statement of professional intent and rationale.
  4. Two letters of recommendation addressing the applicant’s potential to succeed in a graduate program.
  5. A portfolio of applicant’s work (visual, aural or written).
  6. An interview with the program director.

The department understands that any single criterion may not reliably predict a student’s potential for success in the program. Students may consider applying even if they fail to meet one of the criteria but feel that other aspects of their experience might compensate.

Financial Assistance

A limited number of partial scholarships are awarded for qualified students. Other student aid in the form of loans and work-study programs may also be available. General questions about financial aid (grants and loans) should be directed to the Office of Financial Aid, 202 Memorial Hall, (516) 463-8000.

Program Requirements – Semester Hours: 55-56

I – Semester Hours: 24

II – Semester Hours: 3

III – Semester Hours: 16-17

Select (with advisement) from the following:


With written approval of the M.F.A. graduate program director, students may also choose from among other graduate level courses. Students may choose, but are not limited to: courses in anthropology; comparative arts and culture; English and creative writing; English literature; fine arts; history; mass media studies; music; political science; psychology; Spanish; and speech communication, rhetoric, and performance studies.

IV – Semester Hours: 12

Graduation Requirements

  1. Completion of a thesis project.
  2. Successful oral defense of the thesis project.
  3. Completion of all program requirements with a minimum GPA of 3.0 in overall graduate course work.

Career Opportunities

The knowledge and skills students develop in our program translate well into the public and private sectors of American culture. Documentarians are often independent artists, driven to tell a story to more than just a few. Some are social activists seeking change; others are cultural critics or analysts; some are educators – but all share a common goal: to engage an audience in the wonder of actuality, creatively interpreted.

Whether already working or just beginning their careers, students who complete our documentary program will find numerous opportunities to apply their learning. For example, teachers on the elementary and high school levels are not only using audio and video resources, but are also teaching students to make documentaries; social service professionals across the country use documentaries in their programs; and corporations use the documentary form as an integral part of their education and training efforts.

The body of knowledge and the skills our students will acquire are necessary prerequisites for responsible positions in mainstream and independent media production companies as well as broadcast and cable radio and television. Our graduates will be capable documentary makers who have also received training in documentary studies, research methods, proposal and program development and fund-raising. They will also be uniquely positioned to take advantage of the rapidly increasing career opportunities in the field as well as to explore their own passions and creativity.

Hofstra is located a short distance from New York City, considered the largest media capital in the world. The metropolitan area’s many television and radio stations, network headquarters, production houses, museums, and arts festivals are an invaluable resource for documentary graduate students, providing opportunities to expand their knowledge in research and production and to meet and work with documentary professionals.


Graduate students in the School of Communication should contact the graduate program director to have an adviser/mentor assigned as soon as they arrive on campus. Students should meet with their adviser to schedule classes for each semester. Advisers/mentors are available throughout each semester.

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