The Center for Documentary Studies (CDS) at Duke University offers courses through three main programs: undergraduate education, a Master of Fine Arts in Experimental and Documentary Arts, and continuing education. Courses include instruction in photography, audio, film/video, narrative writing, and new media along with an examination of documentary traditions, practices, and ethics.

Documentary work is creative and artistic, driven by personal motivations and talents; it is also a public process of engagement and a powerful tool for communication and for fostering understanding and change. In its approach to education, CDS emphasizes documentary fieldwork, collaborative partnerships, and a balance between individual artistic expression and community goals.