MA Wildlife Filmmaking
Page last updated 3 August 2020
This postgraduate degree has been co-designed by UWE academics and producers, directors and production managers from the BBC's world renowned Natural History Unit (NHU).
Bristol is the global capital of natural history programme making and the natural place to study for an MA in Wildlife Filmmaking. On this highly popular Masters course you will learn how to develop and pitch ideas, tell great stories and make intelligent and surprising programmes to captivate and engage audiences.
Our partnership with the BBC Natural History Unit (NHU) means that, alongside your studies, you will have incredible opportunities to network with professional wildlife film makers, attend talks, film festivals and other events around the city.
Our MA students graduate with the skills, experience and knowledge needed for entry level jobs in all areas of production from online to broadcast. Graduates now work for the BBC, Icon Films, Discovery, Tigress and other top production companies in the UK and overseas.
Why study this course?
The course is based at Bower Ashton, part of the City Campus, in the creative heart of Bristol. Bower has exceptional facilities and resources which include a news studio, TV studio and post production areas which offer the latest technology.
Be inspired by watching some of the Wildlife Filmmaking videos created by students on our Vimeo site.
Alum, Lindsey Parietti, won a student BAFTA for her powerful nature documentary Blood Island, a film created for this course. In this video she talks about what compelled her to tell the story, and the success that followed.
Engaging, industry-led teaching
On this Masters course you will learn all you need to know via technical workshops, seminars, masterclasses and through experience and opportunities making films and digital content for clients. We also help you develop skills in research, script writing, directing, producing, production management and the pitching and commissioning of ideas.
One of the unique aspects of this course is that you will be matched with an industry mentor who, alongside your tutor, will guide you through the production of your final project. All students complete their Masters by writing, directing and producing a final project/film. These films are premiered each year and seen by an audience of invited film and television professionals from the BBC and independent sector.
Watch: The learning and teaching experience
The course is practical and production-based. During the year, students will produce a series of projects.
- Creating the Story - Explores the art and science of storytelling. Teaches you the writing skills to produce films that are both distinctive and commercial.
- Mastering the Business - Gives a solid introduction to the business and production of wildlife films.
- Preparing for Production - Guides you through the production process for your final film, exploring research and development, editorial specification and pitching.
- Future Documentary - Explores how to produce wildlife stories for a range of new and emerging multi-media platforms.
- Professional production - An extended 3-6 month production module, where you will undertake your own creative project and showcase your portfolio of skills. This bespoke module will be largely self-directed, supported by tutorials and sessions with an industry mentor.
The University continually enhances our offer by responding to feedback from our students and other stakeholders, ensuring the curriculum is kept up to date and our graduates are equipped with the knowledge and skills they need for the real world. This may result in changes to the course. If changes to your course are approved we will inform you.
Learning and Teaching
The main teaching will take place in seminars and in workshops focused around the University's creative media centre at its Bower Ashton campus (see Study Facilities). You will also benefit from BBC visits, real-life filming experiences and allied conferences and external events.
All our teaching is informed by the latest industry developments, with valuable industry insight thinking on business developments from professional practitioners.
You will also have access to the resources and expertise of the Digital Cultures Research Centre and the region's leading media innovation lab, the Pervasive Media Studio, based in the city's Watershed Media Centre. Strong connections with Wildscreen and local NGOs provide further resources around the wider landscape of wildlife, conservation and sustainability.
This intensive and rigorous year long course is delivered as full time only and runs from September to September.
Modules are assessed by a range of submissions including portfolios of work together with films and production work. The first two semesters drive your skills and learning towards your final natural history production which must be of professional standard with appropriate documentation and matching industry standard deliverables.
See our full glossary of assessment terms.
Teaching will take place at our Bower Ashton Campus. Studying at Bower Ashton offers an excellent base for students within the exciting City Campus that connects teaching and learning with some of the best creative and cultural organisations in Bristol. Bower Ashton houses the main library supporting the creative and cultural industries, student support services, as well as the extensive resource base that make up the technical resource areas. You will also have the opportunity of studying and accessing facilities at other sites within City Campus. This may include attending lectures, including guest lectures, and seminars at Arnolfini and Watershed in Bristol City Centre.
The media hub encompasses upgraded studio facilities for news, television production and creative filmmaking as well as a post-production facility with sound and picture editing, grading suites and a dubbing theatre. There is an extensive range of location filming equipment including specialist industry-standard cameras and micro-computers.
You will also have access to the range of technical resources available to support your practice, including fabrication, photography, computer suites equipped with the latest Adobe software and a recently extended and well-resourced library.
We aim to produce ready and able graduates with the skills and understanding suitable for entry level posts in wildlife, natural history and specialist factual programming (including conservation, environmental, adventure, expedition and travel). We equip students to be documentary film-makers with an understanding of high production value skills transferable to other documentary genres.
Find out more about the facilities and resources UWE has to offer.
Study in Bristol
With our graduates already working in the BBC and in the independent sector in Bristol and beyond, we have established ourselves as part of the industry here in the city.
Our BBC Partnership is unique and so is our location, bringing opportunities for engagement, collaboration and ultimately employment - the BBC highly values the talent, fresh ideas and enthusiasm of our students.
Your final project
As part of the Professional production module you will create your own 10 minute film with supporting multiplatform content. This project will showcase your skills and abilities and provide valuable portfolio material to showcase to potential employers.
Past students have produced a wide range of expedition-based, observational documentaries and high-concept, awareness-raising films drawing inspiration from the migration of birds, giant Chinese salamanders, the reproduction of snails and the poaching of rhinos.
Students often travel overseas to film for their final project, many returning to their home countries. Past film locations have included Cuba, Sri Lanka, Israel, Brazil and Australia whilst the UK continues to provide a great source of wildlife inspiration, from the Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust at Slimbridge to the London Aquarium.
Careers / Further study
Students have worked on BBC series, produced films for the Festival of Nature, The Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust at Slimbridge, the RSPB and the Zoological Society of London - some of the UK's top wildlife and conservation organisations.
We also have an ongoing partnership with Wildscreen, the award-winning wildlife conservation charity and Encounters, the Bristol-based international short film festival. Students have been highly commended in the British Wildlife Photography Awards HD film category and were nominated in the Wildscreen Panda Awards. Graduates have also secured internships and employment with the BBC and other organisations such as Discovery, Icon Films, RDF and Tigress Productions.
Our award-winning careers service helps you develop your employment potential through career coaching, a vacancy service for internships, placements, jobs, global opportunities, volunteering and community activity plus support for entrepreneurial activity, and access to employer events.
Full Time Course
Supplementary fee information
The additional costs listed are those that students could reasonably expect to incur during their studies and are for items not covered by the standard tuition fee. These could be materials, text books, travel, clothing, software or printing.
See our funding pages for more information.
For funding options, please see our funding and scholarships information.
Usually applicants will have an undergraduate degree and basic media production skills. Highly motivated individuals already engaged in developing a portfolio of relevant experiences and activities (eg volunteer work, conservation experience, wildlife or travel filmmaking, writing, photography, adventure activity) will also be considered.
For country specific entry requirements please find your country on the country information pages.
As part of your application you will be required to submit:
- A programme idea for a one hour wildlife documentary (on a single side of A4)
- A list of ten documentary titles you have seen, and a paragraph on each giving us your thoughts
- A sample of something you have made whether it is film, photography, written or another creative form
Shortlisted candidates will be invited to interview and you will need to bring/provide a show reel or concise portfolio of previous work. This may include audio, film, video, photography and writing. Skype or telephone interview will be arranged for international applicants.
English Language Requirement
International and EU applicants are required to have a minimum overall IELTS (Academic) score of 6.5 with 5.5 in each component (or approved equivalent*).
*The university accepts a large number of UK and International Qualifications in place of IELTS. To find details of acceptable tests and the required grades please visit English Language requirements.
English language support
If you meet the academic requirements but require additional support to take your language skills to the required level, you may be able to attend one of our pre-sessional English courses. Students who successfully complete the pre-sessional course can progress onto their chosen degree course without retaking an IELTS or equivalent.
Read more about our pre-sessional English Programme.
How to apply
The deadline for applications to this course is 14 February. Applications can be submitted after this point but please be aware that late applications cannot be guaranteed for consideration.
Please note, we are unable to allow applicants holding offers to defer their entry.
For further information
- Email: Admissions@uwe.ac.uk
- Telephone: +44(0)117 32 83333