Documentary Studies Application Info | Media Studies

Application Instructions

  • The Certificate Program in Documentary Media Studies welcomes applicants whose education and experience demonstrate motivation and creativity, including recent college graduates, people working in related fields, and career changers. The only prerequisite for admission is a bachelor's degree from an accredited college or university. Enrollment is limited and selective, however, and a personal interview is required. The interview will be arranged after all application materials have been reviewed.

    Priority Application Deadline

    The priority application deadline is February 15 for the following fall semester. All application materials must be received in the Office of Admission by the deadline date for priority consideration. Late applications may be considered at the discretion of the Admission Committee.

    The Office of Graduate Admission is available to assist you during the application process. Email Sarah VanHorn, the Documentary Studies admission liaison, at with any questions during the application process.

    How to Apply

    Plan ahead to meet the application deadline. It takes time for documents such as official transcripts to reach The New School. Your application will not be reviewed until all the required documents have been received by the Office of Admission.

    All applicants must use the online application. The application fee and most supporting documents can be submitted online with the application. The online application form includes detailed instructions for all the items described below. You can also download the instructions. Please read the instructions carefully before filling out the application.

    A complete application includes the following items:

    • Application
    • The $50 application fee (nonrefundable)
    • Transcripts from every college or university previously attended, including documentation of undergraduate degree completion or the U.S. equivalent
    • A statement of purpose—a 1,000-word explanation of your interest in and preparation for graduate study and documentary studies in particular
    • A one-page résumé or curriculum vitae
    • A creative portfolio, as described below
    • Two academic or professional letters of recommendation

    The portfolio and any other supporting documents not submitted online can be mailed to the Office of Admission with an Application Materials Cover Sheet.

    Creative Portfolio

    Submit a portfolio consisting of two samples of original creative work and a proposal for a short documentary project, as described below. Your name and New School ID (N plus eight digits, from the online application) should appear clearly on all portfolio materials you submit. If you have any questions, contact the Office of Admission. Like all other application materials, the portfolio will not be returned.

    Creative Sample 1

    Make a short video self-portrait (no more than three minutes long) revealing something interesting about yourself in relation to objects, places, activities, and/or people in your life. Think visually (show, don't tell), and in terms of a story. Submit your video with a Vimeo URL. Clearly label your work. Only Vimeo URL submissions will be reviewed.

    Creative Sample 2

    Provide a sample of any creative work over which you had primary artistic control, such as audio, video or film, creative writing (fiction, nonfiction, poetry, dramatic writing, or criticism), photography, drawing or painting, sculpture, or installation. You can upload a file to your online application or submit a Vimeo URL or links to a personal website. Clearly label your work.

    Documentary Project Proposal

    In two pages, double-spaced, describe an idea for a short documentary based in or around New York City, including human subjects, locations, and the social or intellectual issues you propose to address. Outline the activities or events to be filmed and the way they might be arranged into scenes and sequences.


    Unofficial Transcripts

    Upload an unofficial transcript, mark sheet, or academic record for each institution attended (even if you didn't receive a degree) in the Educational Background section of the online application. These copies must be uploaded before you submit the application. All transcript uploads must be accompanied by a key, a legend, or the back copy of the transcript. All uploaded transcripts are considered unofficial.

    Transcripts in a language other than English must be accompanied by an English language translation. Records from non-U.S. institutions must include grades or marks and contain a copy of the diploma if a degree has been conferred.

    Make sure your name appears on the transcript or record. Scans must be clear and legible. Do not mail materials that have been uploaded with the online application or any other materials unless they are requested by the admission office.

    If you have trouble uploading your transcript, email with the subject line "Upload Transcript Issue," give a detailed description of the problem, and attach the document in question.

    The New School reserves the right to require official transcripts at any time during the admission process. Any fraudulent activity or discrepancies found between uploaded and official transcripts will result in the immediate revocation of admission and/or dismissal from The New School.

    Official Transcripts

    Applicants offered admission will be required to submit official transcripts (as well as official certified translations and evaluations of the transcripts or mark sheets and degree certifications if the degree was earned outside of the United States) to The New School.

    Your offer of admission will be contingent upon the receipt and verification of these official documents. New students will not be permitted to register for their second semester of study until all official transcripts (including degree-awarding transcripts) have been received by the Office of Graduate Admission.

    Transcripts by Mail

    Official transcripts should have an original signature or a raised university seal and must be received in a sealed envelope that has been signed or stamped by the issuing university's registrar or records office. Applicants can send official transcripts with an Application Materials Cover Sheet or request that institutions send transcripts directly to the Office of Graduate Admission.

    Electronic Transcripts

    The New School accepts electronic transcripts sent from the following approved vendors:

    • National Student Clearinghouse
    • Naviance by Hobsons
    • Parchment, which includes Avow Systems Inc. and Docufide Inc.
    • SCRIP-SAFE International

    We do not accept electronic transcripts sent directly by a student or school offices as official transcripts. This policy does not apply to international documents. All international academic credentials must be translated and evaluated by either WES or another NACES provider.

    Foreign Credentials

    All transcripts not written in English must be accompanied by a certified English language translation.

    Foreign Credentials with Transfer Credits

    See special requirements for transcript evaluation.

    International Applicants

    See special requirements for English language proficiency.

    Costs and Financial Aid

    Tuition is charged per credit. Go to Registrar for current tuition and fee information and to Student Financial Services for estimated additional costs of attendance. Speak to an admission counselor if you are concerned about cost. All U.S. citizens and permanent residents who file the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) are considered for loans and grants on the basis of need. (The New School's federal school code is 002780.) You do not have to wait for an admission decision to file the FAFSA. If you are a veteran or active member of the U.S. armed services, you may be eligible for education assistance from the Department of Veterans Affairs.

    Additional Application Information

    Successful applicants will receive a letter of acceptance, including detailed information about and instructions for housing, tuition and fees, student visas (for nonresidents of the United States), and other matters.

    All materials submitted in association with the application for admission become the property of The New School and cannot be returned to you or transmitted to a third party.

    Students can apply to only one department or program at The New School in any given term. Applicants who file more than one application in a given semester will be required to withdraw one of the applications, and application fees will not be refunded.

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