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Frequently Asked Questions

  • When is your next application period?

Applications for fall 2023 admission will open on October 1, 2022 and will close in mid-January.

  • How do I apply?

Applications are completed online through the UCSC Division of Graduate Studies. For information about the application process and to apply, visit the Division of Graduate Studies admissions website. If reapplying to the program, a new application must be submitted.

  • Can I apply mid-year or apply for admission to winter or spring quarter?

No. Students are admitted into the program only once per year, into the fall quarter only.

  • How long does it take to go through the program?

Two years.

  • Can I attend part-time?

No. Full time enrollment in the program is a requirement. No exceptions are available for this.

  • What is your policy on deferral?

We cannot defer admission. An applicant who is unable to accept admission for the year in question can reactivate the application for the following fall term. However, while the applicant has a very good chance of again being offered admission, there is no guarantee this will happen.

  • Do I need to have experience in documentary production?

Yes. You need to have some production experience in film/video production, photography, or new media/digital media. Experience in radio/audio, museum installation, oral history or creative non-fiction/ethnography may be considered on a case-by-case basis.

  • Will a documentary sample be required when I apply to the program?

Yes. You are required to submit a sample of your best documentary work in the genre of your concentration when applying to the program.  More information on required application materials can be found via the UCSC Graduate Division.

  • Can my letters of recommendation come from professional rather than academic sources?

The Social Documentation program is academically rigorous and letters of recommendation are weighed heavily in determining your academic preparation for the program. Therefore, we recommend that at least one and preferably two of your letters of recommendation come from persons who can best speak regarding your academic abilities.

  • What kind of job can I get with this degree?

Upon completion of the program, Master of Fine Arts Degree holders will be qualified to enter documentary related professions such as documentary directing, producing or editing. Degree holders may work within industries such as public television, public radio or the documentary film business, as independent producers and artists, or for archival centers or museums. Degree holders may also choose to pursue a PhD in a related field in the Arts, Humanities, or Social Sciences.

  • Do you provide financial support?

Admitted students are guaranteed support as described in their offer of admission.  This will include, at minimum, the support described in the university's 2-year/50% program for MFA students, which provides a minimum level of support equivalent to a 50% teaching assistantship for two years. In total, this program will bring MFA student support—stipend, fees, tuition, GSHIP, etc. up to a minimum of $43,000 annually.  In some cases, support may also surpass this level, as described in the admissions offer letter.  

  • What is the cost of the program?

Current information on Resident and Non-Resident Tuition can be found at:  Upon admission, students will receive a letter of offer that includes support to defray these costs, as described above.

  • Do you provide funding for project production?

No. At this time, the department is not able to offer production funding to students. We do, however, make every effort to help our students find and apply for appropriate grant funding, both on campus and through external organizations.

  • How many students do you admit to the program each year?

Between seven and ten students have traditionally been admitted into the program each year.

  • How many people apply to the program?

On average, the program receives about forty applications per year.

  • Can I attend one of your classes?

Prospective students are encouraged to visit the program in mid-November. Please contact the graduate coordinator for more information.

  • Can I talk to the faculty?

You are welcome to contact any of our faculty by email. Faculty contact information can be found in our online directory. If you would like advice regarding faculty contact, you can email the graduate coordinator for recommendations.

  • What if my questions weren't answered here?

You can contact the graduate coordinator with specific questions at any time. Faculty can also be contacted about academic and research questions.

For More Information, please see the attached article below.

PDF icon IDA Profile- SocDoc MA.pdf158.62 KB