Documentary Storytelling, Minor


College of Social and Behavioral Sciences

NAU is set amid the striking and diverse Southwest. With its manifold communities, environmental issues, and high desert landscapes, the Colorado Plateau setting provides a rich palette for the next generation of documentary storytellers. A minor in Documentary Storytelling provides students with the intellectual and creative skills to make documentaries in a variety of media. It is focused on documentary production, allowing students to build their skills in documentary filmmaking, photography, and audio.

  • A minor is earned in conjunction with a bachelor's degree.

    To receive a minor (18 - 24 units) at Northern Arizona University, you must complete a planned group of courses from one or more subject matter areas with a cumulative grade point average of at least 2.0. At least 12 units of the minor must be unique to that minor and not applied to any other minor.

In addition to University Requirements:

  • Complete individual plan requirements.

Students may be able to use some courses to meet more than one requirement. Contact your advisor for details.

No more than fifty percent of the units used to satisfy minor requirements may be used to satisfy major requirements.

Minimum Units for Completion 18

Purpose Statement

Discipline: The Documentary Storytelling minor will give students a variety of storytelling skills and a mastery of technical skills that will prepare them for future work with clients and/or their places of work, as they will develop skills in audio editing, researching material in archives, digital filmmaking skills, composition, photography, and lighting revolving around creative ways to tell nonfiction stories. These are all essential skills within today’s complex and constantly changing profession of visual storytelling. Students can build these skills by creating projects about and within the content of their majors. (In order to make it easier for students to complete the Documentary Storytelling minor, we will remove or provide instructor overrides to existing pre-requisites.) 

Content/Skills: An introductory course provides the intellectual foundation (CMF 106) and then students enroll in documentary production skills classes (filmmaking, photography, audio, and/or archival storytelling). This is a hands-on skill-building minor to meet the production demands of students who may want to build skills in these areas within their existing majors, whether they are in history, sustainable communities, sciences, social sciences, business, the natural world or hotel management, among others. 

Career/education goals: This minor prepares students to gain skills for their future career goals by adding documentary production skills that a variety of fields and businesses require within their communication channels (through websites, email newsletters, and social media). Stories need to be told about research in the sciences, social services, and education, to name a few examples. The documentary storytelling minor opens more opportunities for visual creative storytelling in the nonfiction field for NAU students, no matter their major.

Student Learning Outcomes

  • Build and refine skills in photography, filmmaking, sound recording, editing, and sound design in a variety of projects.
  • Research, plan, produce, budget, finance, shoot, edit, and promote a variety of documentary projects.
  • Apply skills of interviewing, gathering information, researching people and ideas for potential documentary stories.
  • Read, write, and discuss the traditions and history of a variety of documentary stories.
  • Integrate other areas of knowledge students currently receive through their respective majors.

Minor Requirements
  • Students enrolled in this minor may not enroll in or pursue the following due to the number of overlapping units:

Additional Information
  • Be aware that some courses may have prerequisites that you must also successfully complete. For prerequisite information, click on the course or see your advisor.