Salt Graduate Certificate in Documentary Studies

Focus: 2 Tracks of Study

Radio & Podcasting

The focus of Salt’s radio and podcasting rack is storytelling with sound. Our approach borrows from the fields of journalism, anthropology, art, and design, and allows students to hone their skills in the elements required to tell a compelling audio story. Via fieldwork, assignments, class discussion, instructor feedback, and peer critique, students learn how to: identify, pre-report, and evaluate a possible story; carry out successful interviews; use interview tape and other elements to build and shape a story; write and edit; and produce polished work in ProTools, the industry standard for audio editing. Students also practice pitching their work and learn to market themselves as radio producers. Over the course of the semester, students produce a variety of short audio assignments as well as an in-depth final project. The class is organized to mirror the structure and flow of an editorial team, with students working as both producers and editors. Students regularly listen to professional and student-produced work as a way of developing the ability to effectively understand and discuss the language of audio storytelling. Graduates of Salt’s radio track leave with a portfolio of work and a clear understanding of how to tell stories using sound.

Short Film & Photography

The focus of Salt’s short film and photo track is storytelling with visual media. Our approach borrows from the fields of journalism, anthropology, art, and design, and allows short film and photo students to hone their skills in the elements required to tell a compelling visual story. Via fieldwork, assignments, class discussion, instructor feedback, and peer critique, Salt students learn how to: identify, pre-report, and evaluate a possible story; carry out successful film and photo shoots; use images and video to build and shape a story; write and edit; and produce polished work in Adobe Photoshop and Premiere Pro, the industry standards for editing visual media. Students also practice pitching their work and learn to market themselves as short filmmakers and/or photographers. Over the course of the semester, students shoot and produce short assignments as well as an in-depth final project. The class is organized to mirror the structure and flow of an editorial team, with students working as both producers and editors. Students regularly view professional and student-produced work as a way of developing the ability to effectively understand and discuss visual language. Graduates of Salt’s short film and photography track leave with a portfolio of work and a comprehensive understanding of how to tell stories using short film and photos.


All students who attend Salt also take the following courses:

Salt Writing Intensive Seminar

Documentary work is creative and artistic; it’s also a powerful form of communication and a tool for public engagement. This writing intensive seminar asks students to examine a range of documentary forms and questions via readings, discussion, and writing assignments in three key areas. History: Students are exposed to a range of major documentary works and contexts, while discussing possible definitions of what makes documentary. Ethics: Students consider the role of race, class, gender, geography, and other identities, while considering major ethical debates and what it means to practice documentary in an ethical and responsible way. Process: Students examine the process, work habits, and professional tools critical to working in documentary, while reflecting on their own professional practice and learning to promote their work and build a career.

Field Research

With Maine and northern New England as their classroom, students carry out focused, professional fieldwork as a key part of their Salt experience. In consultation with the instructors of their core tracks (radio and podcasting, or photography and short film), students develop their own story ideas early in the semester based on their interests and the viability of pursuing the topic while at Salt. Students are expected to plan extensively, keep detailed notebooks documenting their research and records of their reporting trips, and uphold the highest standards of ethical behavior with their subjects. Students present their field research and stories-in-progress on a weekly basis, and discuss their goals and challenges with fellow students and faculty. They are also instructed on how to best manage the digital assets and archives they create, and are expected to uphold those practices.


Artist Credit – Header

View the Federal SGC Disclosure here.