What do Man on Wire, An Inconvenient Truth, The Fog of War, The March of the Penguins, Born into Brothelsand Bowling for Columbine have in common? They are all Academy Award winning documentaries. They are all powerful and compelling stories based on real life ideas, issues and people, and they move and enlighten us in ways that fiction film does not.

The Documentary Production Minor will prepare you to be a part of the tradition, history, theory and production of documentary forms and modes of expression. That means film, video, audio, web, photography – any medium with which you can examine the wonder and complexity of the real world.

Our focus is on bringing high level production and analysis together to produce theoretically informed work. Students will gain a cutting edge understanding of the challenges of representing reality through film making courses. We will screen the best works of the present and the past, work in teams to create short and long form documentaries and interact with the best of contemporary documentarians.

Graduates of the minor will be prepared for success in the world of the documentary, whether it is in journalism, public or cable television, or independent or feature films.


The minor in documentary production, in collaboration with the School of Journalism, is jointly administered by the Department of Media and Informationwithin the College of Communication Arts and Sciences and the College of Arts and Letters. The Department of Media and Information is the primary administrative unit.

The minor is available as an elective to any student enrolled in bachelor’s degree program at Michigan State University, however students in the Department of English, the School of Journalism, the Department of Media and Information and the Department of Writing, Rhetoric, and American Culture may find this minor of particular interest.

Application Process

Students who are interested in the minor are eligible to apply if they are in good academic standing. Students may apply for the minor in the spring semester of their sophomore year. Applications will be reviewed prior to annual enrollment.


Swarnavel Pillai
Film Studies Program &  Department of Media and Information

Alexandra Hidalgo
Writing, Rhetoric, and American Cultures

John Valadez
Media and Information