Documentary Studies Minor

A Program for Students with a Passionate Interest in Documentary Creation

Stories are powerful, and with the explosion of media in our times, documentaries and storytelling are more relevant now then ever. No matter what your interest or major, the documentary studies minor can teach you to communicate your message—improving our worlds, our minds, and helping create a common future.

With this in mind, the minor in documentary studies is interdisciplinary, tapping into faculty and production facilities from several colleges.

The minor accommodates a variety of student interests in documentary production: from radio, to still photography, to film and video, to multimedia and interactive web documentary.

The minor is a six-course program of study that culminates in the creation of a student-produced documentary in any of the several forms of documentary presentation.

Entrance to the minor is via Film 3100, Introduction to Documentary Studies, taught fall semester.*

*For 2019, Film 3100 Introduction to Documentary Studies will be taught spring semester. 

Students who achieve a grade of B or better in the course and file a program of study from the list of Allied Courses are accepted into the minor.

Questions about the minor can be directed to Program Director, Nancy Green at or the College of Fine Arts academic advising team.

Documentary Studies Minor Requirements

The minor consists of six courses (18-22 hours, depending upon the student’s choice of courses):

  1. The initial course must be 3100, Introduction to Documentary Studies. This course is taught every Fall semester by members of the Documentary Studies Faculty. The course is cross-listed in the Communication and Film and Media Arts Departments.
  2. Four of the courses must be taken from a list of Allied Courses approved by the Documentary Studies Faculty Advisory Committee. It’s recommended that students take courses outside their major that are affiliated with their interest as a documentary filmmaker.
  3. The final course is a documentary production capstone class at the upper division level. The course may be one inside or outside the student’s major, an independent study with a faculty mentor.

When selecting courses from this list for their programs of study, students should consult the particular department to determine course prerequisites, if any, as well as when the course likely will be taught.


  • ANTH 4134 Language, Thought and Culture
  • ANTH 4135 Symbolic Anthropology
  • ANTH 4165 Ethnographic Methods
  • ANTH 4186 Human Ecology

Art & Art History:

  • ART 2060 Non-major Digital Photography
  • ARTH 3600 The History of Photography


  • COMM 1535 Basic Digital Photography
  • COMM 2530 Photojournalism
  • COMM 3330 Negotiation and Interviewing
  • COMM 3510 Introduction to Web Design
  • COMM 3550 Principles of Visual Communication
  • COMM 3560 Video Production I
  • COMM 3770 Cross Cultural Documentary
  • COMM 4610 Magazine Writing
  • COMM 5510 Advanced Web Design
  • COMM 5550 Digital Imaging
  • COMM 5555 Documentary Photography
  • COMM 5560 Video Production III
  • COMM 5660 Media Ethics

Comparative Literary and Cultural Studies

  • CLCS Film and Culture


  • ENGL 5210 Film Genres
  • ENGL 5530 Creative Nonfiction Workshop

Family & Consumer Studies

  • FCS 3200 Research Methods in Family & Consumer Studies
  • FCS 3620 Environmental Psychology & Sustainability 

Film & Media Arts

  • FILM 2500 Film Production I
  • FILM 3140 Documentary Film Survey
  • FILM 3250 Cinema of the Developing World
  • FILM 3260 International Film & Culture
  • FILM 3420 Sound for Film & Digital Media
  • FILM 3520 Documentary and Social Justice
  • FILM 3560 Grip & Lighting
  • FILM 4210 Film Genres
  • FILM 4510 Documentary Video Production


  • HIST 4315 Latin America in Film


  • LING 3470 Language and Culture


  • PSY 3620 Environmental Psychology & Sustainability


  • THEA 2000 Production Design for Film and TV
  • THEA 2170 Lighting I


  • SOC 3111 Research Methods