Wildlife, Biology and Ecology
Wildlife Documentary Production
Salford School of Arts, Media and Creative Technology
In a nutshell
Do you see yourself staging shots of wildlife species in their natural habitats? Or perhaps you want to shed light on the pressing environmental issues affecting the natural world? Wherever your filmmaking interests lie, this MA Wildlife Documentary Production degree will give you the research, scriptwriting and technical skills you need to take the first step in your professional career.
Designed to give you the hands-on experience you’ll need to establish yourself as a skilled filmmaker, this wildlife documentary master’s degree will provide you with the opportunity to attend fascinating masterclasses given by expert practitioners with links to the television industry. So, alongside your lectures, seminars and field trips, you’ll also have access to advice from people with firsthand experience of the industry.
What’s more, as a postgraduate student studying at Salford, you’ll be able to make the most of the creative opportunities this exciting city has to offer. From the top of the range studio facilities and equipment on campus to the variety of reputable TV production and media companies across Greater Manchester, you’ll be joining a vibrant community of like-minded creatives with a wealth of experience.
Want to find out more about our degree in MA Wildlife Documentary Production degree? Sign-up for an Open Day.
International applicants: Please check the international intakes page for the latest information and application dates.
Below, you can watch a documentary by a graduate from the programme, Luca Antonio Marino, who said:
"The MA in Wildlife Documentary Production was very important to learn how to produce wildlife films that meet broadcast standards and to know better the industry of natural history documentaries. A strong emphasis is given to storytelling and the production of individual projects and this gave me the chance to put into play my filmmaking skills and practise with the equipment. I really appreciated studying in a stimulating environment close to some of the most important production companies in the world and along with expert practitioners with links to the television industry."
- Gain the tools and training you need to take the first step in your professional wildlife documentary filmmaking career
- Learn from experts in the field through a variety of masterclasses
- Develop a strong portfolio of work evidencing your ability to produce polished and informative wildlife documentaries
This is for you if...
You have a passion for using documentary to communicate knowledge about wildlife and the environment.
You want to learn from expert practitioners with links to the television industry.
You want to graduate with a portfolio of work that can be used to establish yourself as a successful wildlife documentary producer.
All about the course
Wildlife cinematography courses are designed to capture high-quality footage of wildlife species in their natural habitats – but at Salford, it doesn’t end there. As part of this Wildlife Documentary Production MA, you’ll learn how biology, ecology and behaviour relate to documentary production, as well as how to use specialist research to inform your practice.
Designed to enhance your knowledge of, and skills in, the specialised techniques of production, you’ll be honing your technical skills in areas including long-lens photography, time-lapse photography, macro-photography, high-speed photography and professional close-up sound recording techniques. And with the variety of field trips you’ll undertake as part of this course, there will be plenty of opportunities for you to apply these newly acquired skills in a real-world setting.
What’s more, you’ll also be building a strong portfolio of work to evidence your ability to secure employment or for further study. The final element of this master’s in wildlife documentary production will involve you producing your own wildlife film, bringing together all of the knowledge and experience you’ll have accumulated throughout your programme.
Sound interesting? You can find out more about what you’ll learn in each module below.
The University of Salford is tremendously proud to have been the premier partner for the Asian Media Awards over the last ten years and is determined to play its part in inspiring the next generation of Asian talent to consider and pursue a career in the creative industries.
You will gain a comprehensive understanding of techniques applicable to the study of the biology, ecology and behaviour of wildlife species as relevant to wildlife documentary production and a practical understanding of how established techniques of research and enquiry are used to create and interpret knowledge of the biology, ecology and behaviour of wildlife.
Media Theory and Practice
A series of lectures aims to develop your appreciation and engagement with critical approaches to contextualising and informing your practical creative work. The lectures examine the theory and practice of media production and contextualise the contemporary broadcasting and film environment.
Advanced Production Practices
In contrast with the production skills workshop in semester one, this module will specifically enhance your knowledge of, and skills in, the specialised techniques of production. You will therefore deal with specialised elements such as long-lens photography, time-lapse photography, macro-photography, high-speed photography, specialised close-up sound recording and advanced post production techniques.
Wildlife Research Skills
This module looks at a range of research and practical skills needed for the preparation of a wildlife documentary production. Through a combination of lectures, seminars, exercises and projects, you will deal with issues around wildlife law, the logistics of organising field trips and the challenges of organising a film production. You will also be taken through all the key areas that link science to production, including the communication skills necessary to facilitate the appropriate dialogue between scientist and filmmaker.
Major Project: Practical Research Project
Building on research carried out in the Wildlife Research Skills module, you will carry out further research, script, produce and complete a 10-20 minute wildlife film, bringing together all your accumulated knowledge and experience. You will be guided by a supervisor.
Major Project: Dissertation
This is an opportunity to demonstrate the theoretical skills that you’ve gained over the two previous semesters. You will demonstrate your creative and critical skills through self-directed research that demonstrates original and innovative work within the field of contemporary media practice.
Please note that it may not be possible to deliver the full list of options every year as this will depend on factors such as how many students choose a particular option. Exact modules may also vary in order to keep content current. When accepting your offer of a place to study on this programme, you should be aware that not all optional modules will be running each year. Your tutor will be able to advise you as to the available options on or before the start of the programme. Whilst the University tries to ensure that you are able to undertake your preferred options, it cannot guarantee this.
What Will I be Doing?
Before you start your MA Wildlife Documentary Production, you’ll receive a timetable that breaks down your scheduled lessons and includes timeslots for you to explore your independent research interests.
Your classes will be based at our MediaCityUK campus.
With an emphasis on practical and professional skills development, you’ll enjoy a range of teaching and learning styles, including multidisciplinary lectures and more intimate seminars.
You’ll hone your production skills with camera, sound and editing skills sessions and student-led project work and field trips, as well as develop your research techniques and theoretical knowledge through case study analysis and an independent research project.
Assessment of your wildlife documentary masters will be based on outcomes, self-reflection exercises and learning plans. Each module within the course uses and combines several assessment criteria, and may rely on production exercises and portfolios, projects, critical essays and a dissertation project.
BE A PART OF A CREATIVE, SUPPORTIVE COMMUNITY
All our Film, TV and Radio courses are delivered by the Salford School of Arts, Media, and Creative Technology. Our focus is to ensure that you have the skills you need to pursue your dreams, and we encourage our students, past and present, to collaborate with each other and achieve great things.
Each year - through the Create Student Awards – our School rewards the incredible achievements and successes of our final year and postgraduate students.
Whatever you choose to study with us, you’ll be mentored and supported by experts. And once you graduate, it won’t end there. You’ll join a thriving alumni network across Greater Manchester and beyond, meaning you’ll be supported professionally and personally whenever you need it
Our MediaCity facilities are industry-standard, so much so that they are used by our industry partners themselves.
When you study with us on this Film Production degree, you’ll learn from our experienced tutors and demonstrators, who’ll teach you how to use our facilities. These include:
TV studios - our TV studios have been used by the BBC for a variety of broadcasts, such as the Olympics and Christmas music concerts, and they’re equipped with the same audio-visual systems used by ITV and Sky too.
The studios have green screen facilities as well as basic props so you can design and build sets for a range of projects.
Green screen facilities - these allow you to create effects such as those you see on weather reports and incorporates a camera system and 3D graphics software.
Audio production - we’ve got all the hardware and software you need to make sure you’ll know just how to create, edit, mix and master audio for film and television. Our main studios feature Avid S6 consoles – a similar set-up to those at our MediaCityUK neighbours, such as Dock10 and ITV.
MakerSpace - bring your designs to life using 3D scanners and printers, power tools and a range of art and craft materials.
Stop-frame studio – we have animation booths equipped with industry-standard lighting, grip, software and cameras and learn just what it takes to make your ideas and storyboards a reality.
Computer Suites and Editing Studios – our computer suites are equipped with the latest industry-standard software. You’ll learn from our experienced demonstrators, who’ll teach you the skills needed to turn your concepts into a reality.
Equipment stores - cameras, lighting kits and mics – they’re all essential to media production. But don’t worry, you won’t need to spend thousands of pounds to get the set-up you need – we have a fully equipped equipment store available for you to use and take out industry-standard kit.
Laura Pennafort, MA Wildlife Documentary Student 2020/21
"Coming from a biology background, the MA Wildlife Documentary Production programme has helped me apply my scientific knowledge onto nature documentaries using elements of storytelling. I learned how to address the topic of conservation in a more creative and engaging way, rather than academic as I was used to. The master's has also given me invaluable insight about the production process of nature documentaries and how the industry works in general, which in turn has helped me understand where I wanted to go with my career. The course has also pushed me to work on my own films and ideas, which have resulted in great industry opportunities.
My final film “Pantanal: A Charred Wetland” has been selected for numerous festivals and won awards at nine of them.
As a result of the success of my film, I had the chance to be a speaker at Wildscreen’s Emerging Talent Week for a webinar about local storytelling, which has been a great experience and gave me exposure to industry professionals."
What about after uni?
If you’ve always wanted to work in wildlife documentary production, this course will open up a range of exciting career opportunities. With the knowledge, practical skills and confidence gained throughout this programme, many of our recent graduates have gone on to secure professional roles in a variety of areas, including producing, directing and researching.
But the possibilities don’t end there. Graduates of this course have gone on to work for internationally renowned organisations, including the BBC Natural History Unit. Others are working for ITV, producing short films for their wildlife images catalogue, and as an assistant cameraman for a leading independent wildlife company. So, where will your journey take you?
Graduates showing strong academic and research skills can pursue a further academic research path through our doctoral (PhD) programmes on a full-time or part-time basis subject to a satisfactory proposal.
This course has a number of links with media companies throughout the UK including the BBC Natural History Unit in Bristol. Students have undertaken work experience both at the BBC, Warehouse51 Wildlife Production Company and Films@59, the post production company that works on a range of wildlife programmes for the BBC and Disney Nature.
What you need to know
Are you passionate about shedding light on the natural world in interesting and informative ways? Are you hoping to develop your skills in research, scriptwriting and camerawork? Do you see yourself following in the steps of the great Sir David Attenborough?
If so, we’d like to hear from you. We’re looking for committed science graduates who are eager to take their abilities to the next level. You will need some experience of the documentary form, whether that’s in a professional context or through undergraduate study.
In addition, you should have a keen interest in wildlife documentary production and how it relates to the natural world. Ideally, you’ll want to explore this further in the form of developing your knowledge of the technical skills used in documentary filmmaking.
The application process
To apply for this MA Wildlife Documentary Production course, you’ll need to prepare a personal statement, We’ll want to understand:
- what motivates you and what current experiences do you have in terms of film and media creation; whether that’s scriptwriting, filming cameras, and editing for example?
- how have you been involved and what did you do?
- Are you a creative thinker and how do you develop ideas?
- do you have any knowledge of the film production industry or film sector; are there any projects that inspire you?
- why do you want to work in the film and TV sector?
- and why this degree at the University of Salford is the right choice for your future goals.
For some applicants, you’ll be asked to provide us with a portfolio of work.
Once you’ve made your application to study with us, we’ll contact you and let you know the next steps.
Standard entry requirements
To join this MA you should have a relevant second class honours degree, 2:2 or above.
For the MA programmes in Media Production you will be required to submit a project proposal related to your chosen specialist field, to support your application. A brief written synopsis (max. 500 words) of your ideas would also be required. Please note that this would be for discussion purposes at the interview only.
International applicants will be required to show a proficiency in English. An IELTS score of 6.5, with no element below 5.5, is proof of this.
We accept qualifications from all around the world. Find your country to see a full list of entry requirements.
Accreditation of Prior Learning (APL)
We welcome applications from students who may not have formal/traditional entry criteria but who have relevant experience or the ability to pursue the course successfully.
The Accreditation of Prior Learning (APL) process could help you to make your work and life experience count. The APL process can be used for entry onto courses or to give you exemptions from parts of your course.
Two forms of APL may be used for entry: the Accreditation of Prior Certificated Learning (APCL) or the Accreditation of Prior Experiential Learning (APEL).
|Type of study||Year||Fees|
|Full-time home||2024/25||£9,990.00per year|
|Full-time international||2024/25||£16,380.00per year|
You should also consider further costs which may include books, stationery, printing, binding and general subsistence on trips and visits.
Scholarships for International Students
If you are a high-achieving international student, you may be eligible for one of our scholarships. Explore our international scholarships.