MFA Program in Documentary Expression

A new Master of Fine Arts degree in Documentary Expression began in the fall of 2017 at the Center for the Study of Southern Culture at the University of Mississippi. The new MFA is a two-year (30-hour) graduate program that combines coursework in Southern Studies and interdisciplinary fields with advanced training in photography, film, and audio production.

Coursework in cultural studies paired with advanced training in production will enable students to tell compelling and nuanced stories of a complicated region and world.

At present, the MFA program requires students to already have an MA degree in the humanities, social science, or journalism. The class entering in 2017 includes students with a range of backgrounds, with MA degrees in Southern Studies, journalism, anthropology, and language study.

The Center for the Study of Southern Culture has a long history of engaging in documentary work, beginning with the Center’s founding in the 1970s by documentarian William Ferris, who explored southern culture through film and photography. Today, many of the Center’s interdisciplinary faculty use documentary methods in their own research and teaching, and undergraduate and graduate students have produced photography and a number of films and oral histories.

Faculty and staff at the Center’s institutes the Southern Documentary Project and the Southern Foodways Alliance play a major role in instruction and mentoring in the MFA program, teaching workshops and providing individual guidance for students.

For examples of the Center’s work, see the  multimedia documentary website  Mississippi Stories at, the films of the Southern Documentary Project, and the films, podcasts and oral history work of the Southern Foodways Alliance.

Students can apply through the University of Mississippi Graduate School website. Contact Graduate Coordinator Katie McKee ( with questions.