Center for the Performing and Cinematic Arts / SCHOOL OF THEATER, FILM AND MEDIA ARTS

Learn more about the graduate certificate in Documentary Arts and Ethnographic Research.

About the Certificate

The graduate certificate in Documentary Arts and Ethnographic Research is a 12-credit interdisciplinary program that involves faculty and courses in the Center for the Performing and Cinematic Arts, the College of Liberal Arts, and the Lew Klein College of Media and Communication. The certificate builds on Temple’s strong international reputation in documentary film and visual anthropology. It is ideally suited for students who plan to incorporate visual studies, ethnographic methods and documentary practices into their artistic and scholarly projects. The certificate program offers students the opportunity to develop marketable applied expertise in practices that bridge the arts, humanities and social sciences.

The philosophy behind the certificate program is to promote a broad and critical use of diverse media tools in the study and representation of culture(s). Program topics include the theories, methods, aesthetics and ethics of documentary research and visual representation; the relationships between artistic, humanistic and scientific visual research methods; the collaborative use of visual media in indigenous, diaspora and non-Western communities; the critical understanding of the use of new media in documentary contexts, such as mobile media; and the political economy that shapes how images are made, distributed and used worldwide. Students in the program develop skills to:

  • create cultural, cross-cultural and interdisciplinary documentary projects through film, digital technologies and representational media;
  • integrate visual and cross-cultural materials through innovative uses of technologies;
  • incorporate cultural aesthetics, research ethics, cross-cultural research and the use of documentary arts and media tools in their teaching careers; and
  • work on collaborative projects involving multiple countries and contexts that can include scholarly research, international government and nongovernmental research, participation in cross-disciplinary projects on contemporary issues, and media activism.

Time Limit for Certificate Completion: 3 years

Campus Location: Main

Full-Time/Part-Time Status: The graduate certificate can be completed on a part-time basis. NOTE: International students may not be eligible to apply for a student visa based on admission to the certificate program. Please contact the certificate program director for more information.

Non-Matriculated Student Policy: The certificate program is open only to students enrolled in MFA and PhD programs at Temple University.

Admission Requirements and Deadlines

Application Deadline:

Fall: March 21
Spring: October 21

Access the certificate application here.

Letters of Reference:
Number Required: 1

From Whom: A letter of support must be written by the applicant student's advisor.

Bachelor's Degree in Discipline/Related Discipline: Applicants must hold a baccalaureate degree — and must be currently enrolled in an MFA or PhD program at Temple University.

Statement of Goals: Describe your reasons for pursuing the certificate in Documentary Arts and Ethnographic Research in 250 words.

Interview: Qualifying applicant students are invited for an interview with a member of the Certificate Steering Committee.

Other Requirement: Applicant students must provide certification that they are currently enrolled in good standing, maintaining a minimum GPA of 3.5 in their MFA or PhD program at Temple University.

Certificate Requirements

Number of Credits Required to Complete the Certificate: 12

Required Courses:

Core Courses
Select at least one ANTH course and one FMA course to complete a minimum of two of the following:6
Fieldwork in Ethnography
Anthropology of Mass Media
Anthropological Problems in Visual Production
Approaches in the Anthropology of Visual Communication I
Anthropological Film/Media
Documentary Arts and Visual Research
Select at least two from the following: 16
Theory and Methods in Culture and Communication
Anthropology and Photography
Anthropology of Public Culture
Ethical Considerations in Anthropology Research
Seminar in Expressive Culture
Approaches in the Anthropology of Visual Communication II
Problems in the Anthropology of Visual Communication
Seminar in Visual Anthropology and the Arts
History of Photography
Cinematography Workshop 2
Videography 2
History of Documentary Film
Time-Image Arts/Cinema Praxis
Media Arts Thry-Practice
Experimental Methods
Documentary Workshop
Advanced Documentary/Fiction Workshop
Topics in Production
Topics in Media
Digital Post-Production
Topics in Media Studies
Advanced Topics in Media Arts Studies
Media Ethnography
Graduate Projects in Photography I
Graduate Projects in Photography II
Sociology of Culture
Total Credit Hours12

Alternately, students may choose to take one or two additional courses from the list of core courses above to fulfill the electives requirement.


Only non-FMA students make apply this course toward the certificate.

GPA Required to be Awarded the Certificate: 3.0 minimum


Certificate Program Web Address:

Department Information:

Film and Media Arts Graduate Admissions

Center for the Performing and Cinematic Arts/School of Theater, Film and Media Arts

2001 N. 13th Street, 127 Presser Hall

Philadelphia, PA 19122-6016


Fax: 215-204-4957

Submission Address for Application Materials:

Department Contacts:

Program Director:

Roderick Coover

Associate Professor



Chet Pancake