October 8, 2014

Social Documentation (SocDoc) MA: call for applications

University of California, Santa Cruz
Photo: Julie Rogge.

SocDoc is a one-of-a-kind program designed for future documentarians committed to social change and to documenting communities, cultures, issues, and individuals who are marginalized in our current landscape of representation. SocDoc goes beyond the story. That’s our motto and our practice: to go beyond storytelling into the intimacy of people’s lives, the causes underlying social injustice, the issues too pressing to ignore. There’s a story, too, but we think that should be the beginning, not the end, of the matter.

With training from professionals outstanding in their fields, students gain the skills and confidence to enter the increasingly sophisticated world of documentary production. Students train in production, creating projects on their own as well as in a group to learn what works and gain experience. Lighting, cameras, locations, subject and character choices all come into play. So do editing techniques, motion graphics and animation, trailers and websites. As important as training in equipment is training in world-view, from the ethics of documentary to perspectives of narrative, and markers of evidence. SocDoc is a laboratory of discovery for students and professors alike, as we search for the best pathways to make a difference in the world through videography, photography, audio, and words.

Founded in 2005, SocDoc has a contemporary view of documentary that sets it apart from traditional approaches. Students considering enrollment should have a clear idea of a project, a commitment to social justice and human rights, and a desire to study their subject areas in depth. We prepare graduates for careers in independent media, documentary, human rights work, and creative contributions to a range of fields.

SocDoc students work closely with a faculty of eminent professionals in the documentary field (production, criticism, theory), and draw from the topical and analytic expertise of scholars across the campus.

Student work examples can be found here and here.


The program
The UCSC Social Documentation Program is a two-year, full-time program leading to a Master of Arts (MA) degree. The program provides opportunities for the graduate student who is actively committed to social justice a chance to develop expertise in the understanding and production of social documentaries in film/video, photography, documentary animation, new digital media, and other genres.

Upon completion of the program, Master of Arts degree holders will be qualified to enter documentary-related professions such as documentary directing, producing editing and research. Degree holders may work within industries such as public broadcasting, the documentary film business, as independent producers, artists and journalists, with social-change organizations, or for archival centers, museums, and non-governmental organizations. Alumni may also choose to pursue a PhD in a related field in the Arts, Humanities, or Social Sciences.

To apply
Students are admitted into the program only in the fall. Online applications are available at UCSC Division of Graduate Studies website. The GRE is not required.


Social Documentation (SocDoc) MA at UC Santa Cruz: call for applications

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