Salt Graduate Certificate in Documentary Studies

The Salt Institute for Documentary Studies at Maine College of Art is a 24/7 15-week experience.

Motivated individuals from all walks of life come to Salt to focus on just one thing: documentary storytelling. Learn all about the world of documentary storytelling and how to navigate it. Take the time to critically examine your work and the work of your classmates in your track in a collaborative peer environment. Bring your passion, your ideas, your fears, your unfinished projects… Leave with a professional quality body of beautifully crafted, in-depth stories.

Focus: 2 Tracks of Study

  • Short Film & Photography
  • Radio & Podcasting


Salt radio students hone their skills to tell a compelling story through sound alone. Through fieldwork, instructor and peer critique, and discussion, Salt students learn how to identify a possible story and gain access to it; conduct interviews; write for the ear and use interview tape to enhance and shape a story; and produce polished work to develop a professional quality portfolio. Students also practice pitching their work for air and learn to market themselves as radio producers in today’s media world.

Short Documentary Film

Through this course, students elevate their work to reflect the cutting edge of video storytelling. They learn how to record quality video, photos, and audio, and how to identify and produce compelling short documentary films. Students learn how to craft polished work through in-depth instructor and peer editing as well as through techniques such as storyboarding. From researching and exploring viable story ideas to learning about industry trends and marketing their work, they gain a better understanding of documentary storytelling.


Students learn how to tell a story through creating a strong visual narrative. They refine and extend their ability to read, analyze, and articulate the meanings of photographic images; learn to propose and research a topic, approach a subject and conduct a photo-based documentary project; discuss the ethical questions and topics involved in doing documentary work; and discuss how image sequences and series can serve to expand, contain, and confound the meaning of photographs.


Students are challenged to find stories, explore them fully, and present them in the most compelling and responsible way. Students become proficient in literary writing and documentary storytelling through finding, framing, and pitching; learn and apply field interview techniques; master an understanding of story elements, architecture and assembly; and hone tools for evaluating issues of ethics, fairness, and loyalty to their stories and subjects.

Access to Urban Centers & the Natural World

Located on the southern coast of Maine, Portland is just the right size, easy to navigate on foot, filled with arts and culture and minutes from islands, beaches, lakes, forests and farmland. Just a few hours from Boston and a few more hours to Manhattan, the city of Portland is a collection of unique neighborhoods with a strong commitment to community. Between the outdoor activities, the booming local food movement, and the vibrant visual and performing art scene, Portland offers a place to live and a way of life.

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