Documentary Film And Television FTV4030

  • Academic Session: 2023-24
  • School: School of Culture and Creative Arts
  • Credits: 20
  • Level: Level 4 (SCQF level 10)
  • Typically Offered: Semester 2
  • Available to Visiting Students: Yes

Short Description

This course will begin by covering some of the significant historical landmarks of documentary filmmaking. The course will begin in a national context but will become progressively international in focus as the course progresses. The early weeks will provide the ground for the discussion of the construction of documentary and the key terms and concepts which have informed the framework for understanding documentary - such as truth, realism, objectivity, witness and testimony, history and knowledge. The second half of the course will be concerned with the scrutiny of texts, genres and criticism that pose a challenge to the received meaning and value of documentary film and television.

The course will also include a session dedicated to an invited local practitioner and this will provide students with the opportunity to gain an insight into the practicalities of production and the process of documentary filmmaking. For those students who select a practical pathway through the degree programme this will supplement their particular experience of filmmaking.


Ten x 4 hour sessions including a screening, short lecture and seminar

Requirements of Entry

Normal requirements for Honours entry


1 x 3,000 word essay

1 x 90 minute exam

Main Assessment In: April/May

Are reassessment opportunities available for all summative assessments? Not applicable

Reassessments are normally available for all courses, except those which contribute to the Honours classification. For non Honours courses, students are offered reassessment in all or any of the components of assessment if the satisfactory (threshold) grade for the overall course is not achieved at the first attempt. This is normally grade D3 for undergraduate students and grade C3 for postgraduate students. Exceptionally it may not be possible to offer reassessment of some coursework items, in which case the mark achieved at the first attempt will be counted towards the final course grade. Any such exceptions for this course are described below. 

Course Aims

This course aims to:

■ Introduce the key concepts that underlie the historical understanding of the form and function of documentary.

■ Identify and evaluate recent developments in and challenges to documentary that are posed by recent television genres.

■ Examine how and why recent developments and innovations in documentary problematize the critical terms that are traditionally deployed to evaluate documentary.

Intended Learning Outcomes of Course

■ On successful completion of the course students will be able to

■ Demonstrate an understanding of key terms and debates that define the field of documentary studies.

■ Relate the received meaning and understanding of documentary to students' own experience and positions upon recent challenges to the status of documentary across film and television.

■ Demonstrate an awareness of how the changing production contexts of film and television affect the practice of documentary filmmaking.

Minimum Requirement for Award of Credits

Students must submit at least 75% by weight of the components (including examinations) of the course's summative assessment.