10 Best Educational Netflix Series: Must-Watch Documentaries For Students

10 Best Educational Netflix Series: Must-Watch Documentaries For Students - Inside Pulse

For many of us, Netflix represents the height of relaxation. There’s nothing better than getting home from a long day at school or work and curling up on the couch to watch some TV. But that doesn’t mean we have to completely switch off our brains when we go to watch our favorite streaming platform. Some of the best shows on Netflix are those with a highly educational aspect. 

Netflix has in fact made documentaries a far more accessible genre of entertainment, proving to be some of the most popular shows on the platform. Many Netflix documentaries have achieved a high degree of critical and public praise, and been nominated for the most prestigious awards of the entertainment industry. With so many interesting topics to choose from, Netflix can in fact make for a great source of inspiration for homework assignments for college. 

The range of educational videos for people of all backgrounds on Netflix is so wide that narrowing down your options may indeed prove to be the most difficult part! Whenever a student may think “need help to do my assignment’, Netflix proves to be a great educational resource. If you’ve got an upcoming research assignment or essay to write – fear not, we’ve got you covered. Here are the top 10 educational documentaries you should check out on Netflix today!


13th is an eye-opening documentary that reveals the deep-rooted levels of systemic racism built into American incarceration. Filmmaker Ava DuVernay explores the long and dark history of racial oppression in the United States, all with the intention of exposing the inequality built into the country’s justice system. A difficult, but incredibly important, documentary – 13th makes a great first step in researching racial injustice in the USA. 

The Social Dilemma

Inside Pulse Social Dilema

The Social Dilemma has been attracting a lot of attention for its frank discussion of the negative impacts of social media platforms on individuals and society’s mental health. The most poignant element of The Social Dilemma may be that many of those consulted for the documentary are those who designed these platforms. 

American Factory

American Factory tells the story of a Chinese billionaire who opens up a factory in post-industrial Ohio. While the story begins as one of aspiration and optimism, as time goes on, we become more aware of the cultural clashes between Asian tech development and working-class America. 


Blackfish was one of the first documentaries to gain acclaim through Netflix, just as the streaming service was becoming popular. It tells the story of Tilikum, a captive killer whale that is responsible for several human deaths. The documentary investigates all the issues built into zoos and sea-parks and provides a profound exploration into humankind’s relationship with the natural world.

Cowspiracy: The Sustainability Secret 

Cowspiracy on Inside Pulse

Another documentary that exposes a dark side of humanity’s relationship with animals, Cowspiracy is a groundbreaking documentary that unearths the dire state of our environment and seeks for an answer to sustainability. Despite its grave subject matter, Cowspiracy can be surprisingly humorous, making it a great choice for students with a passion for the environment. 

Amanda Knox

A compelling documentary that follows the trial and surrounding media storm of Amanda Knox. Knox was accused of murdering a fellow student while on exchange in Italy, and her treatment by the public reveals a lot about today’s media, and the perils of sensationalism. 

LA 92

A great example of a documentary examining a recent chapter of history, LA 92 opens the door for some fascinating academic research. The documentary examines the infamous LA riots that took place over the course of 1992, following the Rodney King verdict. Another important lesson in America’s history of racial tension – this is a must watch for students. 

Dirty Money

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Dirty Money is a 2018 documentary series that exposes the gross levels of greed and corruption in the world’s most powerful business circles. This series explores various cases that highlight corporate greed, and the natural inequality of the global economic system. Any of these cases make a great starting point for research for international relations or economics class. 

Our Planet

As much a treat for the eyes as it is a source of education, Our Planet is a stunning documentary series that highlights the natural world’s beauty and fascination, featuring cinematography that would not be amiss in a Hollywood blockbuster. 

Girls Incarcerated

Girls Incarcerated follows a little-discussed side of prison life: that of young girls on the inside. This illuminating series follows a bunch of young women as they spend their youth behind bars. An interesting insight into an under-represented demographic of inmates, Girls Incarcerated makes a great starting point for a social studies class research assignment. 

Whether you’re a teacher or a student, all of these documentaries offer a great place to find inspiration for class, while keeping time in your schedule for leisure and relaxation!