Media Practice

Work in an exciting and supportive environment for postgraduate study and research. Meet writers, filmmakers, directors and gain real-world experience on placements with production companies. At Sussex, we have a wide range of Masters and PhD degrees, so whatever you're interested in, you'll find the perfect course for you.

Our Masters courses and PhD degrees: 

Digital Documentary MA

Taught by practicing producers and directors with expertise in filmmaking, our MA in Digital Documentary gives you the practical skills to make documentary films and focus on media theory, research methods or film studies.

You get involved in practical workshops and are introduced to key production and post-production techniques in camera, lighting, interviewing, editing and sound design. You also take part in masterclasses hosted by visiting filmmakers - recent masterclasses have been held by academy award winning writer/director Andrea Arnold, film composer Peter Cotye and editor John Mister.

Find out more about our Digital Documentary MA

Are there any placement opportunities? 

  • we currently offer an internship in association with Brighton-based TV company back2back.tv. If you are a UK/EU student, you can apply for the internship when you have been accepted on to the course
  • if you are successful you will also receive a £5,000 bursary towards your tuition fees (this internship scheme is in addition to the general School scholarships for which all applicants are eligible)
  • staff may also advise you to apply for optional placements at local production companies. Our students regularly assist at See - the annual Brighton Documentary Festival.

What can I read to prepare? 

Wilma de Jong, Jerry Rothwell and Erk Knudsen (2012) Creative Documentary: theory and practice Harlow: Pearson.

Keith Beattie (2004) Documentary Screens: non-fiction film and television London: Palgrave Macmillan.

Thomas Austin and Wilma de Jong (eds) (2008) Rethinking documentary: new perspectives, new practices. Maidenhead: Open University Press.

Filmmaking MA

Led by award-winning filmmakers, our MA in Filmmaking gives you the chance to produce a low-budget independent film to a professional standard.

You learn how to write scripts, raise funds, cast and direct actors, and shoot and edit films using professional equipment and software.

You also take part in masterclasses hosted by visiting filmmakers - recent masterclasses have been held by academy award winning writer/director Andrea Arnold, film composer Peter Cotye and editor John Mister.

Find out more about our Filmmaking MA

What can I read to prepare?

MacKendrick, A. & Cronin, P. (2004) On Filmmaking, New York, Faber and Faber

It is also a good idea to watch as many short films as you can to gain inspiration and understanding of the short film genre:

Media Practice for Development and Social Change MA

Our Media Practice for Development and Social Change MA brings together the practical side of media production (multimedia, documentary, photography, radio and web-based media) with media theory, focusing on international development and social change. 

You can specialise in a particular area of media production, go on work placements in relevant media, activist, or development organisations, or concentrate on a written dissertation.

Development Studies at Sussex was ranked 1st in the world in the QS World University Rankings by Subject 2017.

Find out more about our Media Practice for Development and Social Change MA

Are there any placement opportunities?

  • you benefit from our extensive connections with civil society organisations, local media producers, official aid institutions, foundations, government agencies and NGOs in Africa, Latin America, South and East Asia, North America, Australasia and Europe
  • you can go on an eight to ten week work placement with an organisation working in a field relevant to your degree, normally between May and July after assessments on other modules are completed.
Types of placement might include:
  • local organisations in the Brighton area, such as the International HIV/AIDS Alliance and an independent film companies based in Brighton (Media for Development, Animal Monday)
  • organisations in London - these might range from London-based voluntary and communication organisations (VCOs) to international non-governmental organisations (NGOs), to media and development organisations
  • organisations internationally - such as research-policy centres in Brazil, Bangladesh, Ghana, Nigeria, international NGOs, national and local NGOs and civil society organizations and social movements.

What can I read to prepare? 

Andrea Cornwall and Deborah Eade (eds) (2011) Deconstructing Development Discourse: Buzzwords and Fuzzwords (free download)

Practical Action Publishing Robert Chambers (2004) Ideas for Development: Reflecting Forwards (free download) IDS Working Paper 238

de Jong, Wilma, Rothwell, J and Knudsen, E (2012) Creative Documentary: Theory and Practice London: Pearson Education - this will be a set text on the Producing Media for Development and Social Change core module. Chapters 1 and 2 would be good preparatory reading. 

Creative and Critical Practice PhD

As a Creative and Critical Practice student at Sussex, you: 

  • combine media production with critical writing - our Creative and Critical Practice PhD involves practice-led research and a written thesis where you explore form, genre, technology, representation, technique or narrative
  • have the freedom to explore video, photography, imaging, interactive media, sound, digital or social media
  • engage in the active research culture of the School, which has an international reputation for research. We offer expert supervision across a wide range of critical and creative practice with specialist focus on documentary filmmaking, digital arts, photography, media practice for development and social change, and sonic media. 

Find out more about our Creative and Critical Practice PhD

See also

Fernando's student perspective

'For me, this experience has been more than learning, it’s been an opportunity to live what I’m passionate about. I’d advise anyone considering studying at Sussex to apply for your place now. You will come to think of your time at Sussex as one of the best gifts you’ll ever give yourself.'

Fernando Sobron
MA in Digital Documentary