Due to the global health pandemic and in the interest of not jeopardizing the health and safety of our students, CDS Courses Fall 2020 will be truncated: All labs and building access for CDS Courses will be closed for the Fall 2020 semester. We are offering three (3) required classes for enrolled certificate students, all online. Any required Advance Project classes will be offered as a virtual Independent Study.

If you are planning to graduate in Fall 2020 or Spring 2021 and need electives to complete your certificate, please get in touch with us directly. You can schedule an advising session here.

Based on the directives of local health officials, we are aiming to be back in person for the Spring 2021 semester. Please stay connected via our Facebook page to keep up with changes as they unfold.


The Center for Documentary Studies offers a wide range (up to a hundred annually) of onsite and online courses, summer intensive institutes, and short workshops for adults who are interested in doing their own documentary work, whether starting a first project or refining an existing one. Most classes are offered during in the evening or on weekends to accommodate the schedules of working adults. These hands-on courses, available via open admission and with reasonable fees, involve instruction in photography, video, audio, writing, and other creative media. Special topics integral to conducting and presenting documentary work are covered, such as documentary traditions, techniques, fieldwork theory, and ethics. 

This open-admissions adult education program includes the option of completing a Certificate in Documentary Arts; a two-year distance-learning certificate track is available for non-local students. View handouts on recommended equipment and Certificate requirements. Note: Duke University staff, faculty, students, and alumni receive 10 percent off fees for CDS Courses in the fall and spring.