Behind the scenes of a video crew

Bachelor of Arts

Interdisciplinary Studies - Documentary Studies

Program of Study

Understand documentary studies through a varied curriculum covering topics in communications, art, music, history and journalism. Introductory courses will help you explore the notion of what constitutes a documentary, aspects of documentary production and common themes across documentary forms.

Hone in on your special interests within the field by selecting elective studies on everything from photography and its history, to narrative journalism and visual culture. The BA degree requires a fieldwork seminar and practicum, which serves as the program's capstone.

 

Core Theory & History Courses

Choose two: 

  • Nonfiction Media Storytelling
  • History and Theory of the Documentary Film
  • A Cultural History of American Photography
  • Literary Journalism 
  • History of Photography
  • Photography 1970 to the Present 
  • The Documentary Film
  • Theories of Mass Media
  • Radio and the Public Imagination 
  • Persuasion and Film
  • History of American Documentary Media
  • Media in the Digital Age

 

Documentary Studies Fieldwork Seminar 

Documentary Studies Seminar and Fieldwork Practicum

Skills Courses 

Choose 4:

  • Intermediate Photography and Digital Imaging
  • Intermediate Digital Imaging
  • Advanced Photography and Digital Imaging
  • Advanced Digital Imaging
  • Advanced Film Production
  • Communication on the Internet
  • Narrative Journalism 
  • Foundations of Documentary Filmmaking 
  • Introduction to Documentary Photography
  • Foundations of Documentary Web/Hypermedia Production
  • Photojournalism
  • Workshop in Oral History
  • Readings and Practicum in Aural History and Audio Documentary Production
  • Practicum in Historical Documentary Filmmaking
  • Readings and Practicum in Digital History and Hypermedia
  • Readings and Practicum in Nonfiction Media Storytelling 
  • Transmedia Storytelling
  • Broadcast Journalism
  • Digital Media Workshop I: Web Publishing
  • Digital Media Workshop II: Desk-Top Publishing
  • Digital Publication
  • Music Composition in Electronic Media I 
  • Sound Design and Multimedia 

 

Electives 

36 credits in select courses in topics, art, art history, communication, documentary studies/history, journalism and music.


See the Undergraduate Bulletin for details

For more information, contact Gerald Zahavi at gzahavi@albany.edu.

Applied Learning

Participate in on-campus and off-campus internships to gain valuable experience working alongside faculty and other professional practitioners. Some of the specific possibilities include recording podcasts or web videos, working at a local radio station or broadcast TV channel, editing a documentary piece and creating a virtual museum.

UAlbany's proximity to local museums and archives, such as the New York State Museum and the Albany Institute of History and Art, provides many such opportunities to extend your studies and build your professional network.

Person using a video camera

Career Paths

The bachelor’s in interdisciplinary studies with a concentration in documentary studies puts you on track for an MA, MFA or PhD in the field, or for the pursuit of many career options.

Potential job titles include:

  • Associate producer
  • Photographer
  • Videographer
  • Communications director
  • Publicist
  • Graphic designer
  • Program coordinator
  • Reporter
  • Secondary school teacher


 

Nature photographer at work

"I appreciated how available the professors were and how they helped me understand the work ethic of being on-time and prepared in the real world of filmmaking. They  always provided me ample resources on how to get my films made and edited."

- Desiree Shepherd, Class of 2018

What Makes The University at Albany Great

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Living-Learning Communities

Live and take classes with other incoming freshmen who share your personal interests, passions or intended academic major.

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Study Abroad

Become a global citizen: international experience is crucial to success in business, education, research, and public policy.

Undergraduate Research

Research, scholarship, and creative activities at the University at Albany is an option for all students, across all academic disciplines. You will be able to learn more about a specific academic field or career path all while building a long-lasting mentoring relationship with a faculty member or principal investigator.

Explore Minors

Build competency in a passion or strengthen your resume.

A minor consists of 18–24 graduation credits which must include a minimum of 9 graduation credits of advanced coursework at or above the 300 level. Most undergraduate degrees require completing a minor and it has to have a different title from your major.

Full List of Minors
  • Acting
  • Africana Studies
  • Anthropology
  • Art
  • Art History
  • Atmospheric Science
  • Bioethics
  • Biology
  • Broadcast Meteorology
  • Business
  • Chemistry
  • Chinese Studies
  • Cognitive Science
  • Communication
  • Computer Science
  • Creative Writing
  • Criminal Justice Studies
  • Documentary Studies
  • Economics
  • Educational Studies
  • Electronics
  • Emergency Preparedness, Homeland Security and Cybersecurity
  • English
  • Film Studies
  • Financial Market Regulation
  • Forensic Science
  • French
  • Geographic Information Science
  • Geography
  • Globalization Studies
  • Hebrew
  • History
  • Informatics
  • International Studies
  • Italian
  • Japanese Studies
  • Journalism
  • Judaic Studies
  • Korean Studies
  • Latin American and Caribbean Studies
  • Law and Philosophy
  • Leadership
  • Legal Studies
  • LGBTQ Studies
  • Library and Information Science
  • Linguistics
  • Mathematics
  • Medical Anthropology
  • Medieval and Renaissance Studies
  • Music
  • Musical Theatre
  • Neuroscience
  • Organizational Studies
  • Philosophy
  • Physics
  • Political Science
  • Portuguese
  • Psychology
  • Public Health
  • Public Policy
  • Religious Studies
  • Russian
  • Russian and Eastern European Studies
  • Social Welfare Studies
  • Sociology
  • Spanish
  • Statistics
  • Sustainability
  • Theatre
  • Theatrical Design/Technology
  • Urban Studies and Planning
  • U.S. Latino Studies
  • Women's, Gender and Sexuality Studies