University of Sheffield

University of Sheffield

Material Culture Studies

Material culture is human creativity. It is the best means we have of understanding past societies - how people engaged with each other and how they felt about the worlds they lived in. Our MA teaches you how to read material culture. We look at the methods archaeologists use to identify material objects, and we reconstruct the technological and social processes that shaped them. You can use the course as a basis for a PhD, or you could take the vocational track, which prepares you for work as a materials specialist in professional archaeology. If you choose the research track, we will show you how to manage your own research, from planning and execution through to presenting your findings. You will be assessed on a dissertation. Choose the vocational track and you will take an extended work placement over the summer. Your placement can be in a commercial setting, a museum or an academic environment. There are opportunities to get involved in research projects with Sheffield City Council and Sheffield Museums Trust. We also encourage you to take part in public engagement activities.Our graduates work in Europe, North America, Asia and Australasia. Universities, museums, archaeological consultancies, heritage parks and government departments value their expertise. Jobs include: historic buildings projects officer, commercial field archaeologist and postdoctoral researcher.

Entry requirements

Minimum 2.1 Honours degree in archaeology, history or a related subject; English language requirements: overall IELTS grade of 6.5 with a minimum of 5.5 in each component, or equivalent.

Course modules

Core modules: archaeology and ethnography of production and consumption; assemblage study; introduction to material culture studies; reconstructing ancient technologies: ceramics OR reconstructing ancient technologies: vitreous materials OR reconstructing ancient technologies: metals; dissertation in material culture studies OR fieldwork placement in material culture studies. Optional modules (choose 4): funerary archaeology; Greeks, Romans and �others� in the ancient world; the archaeology of Neolithic and Bronze-Age Britain; the archaeology of classical Athens; Viking-Age Europe; ethnicity and identity in the early Middle-Ages; society and culture in the later Middle Ages; War of the Roses to Elizabeth: the archaeology of England 1455�1603.

Assessment methods

You are assessed on coursework assignments and a dissertation.


Qualification Study mode Start month Fee Course duration
MA Full-time £ 5,750 per Academic year (home fees) 1 years
MA Full-time £ 16,500 per Academic year (overseas fees) 1 years
MA Part-time - 2 years

Campus details

Campus name Town Postcode Region Main campus Campus Partner
Main Site Sheffield S10 2TN Yorkshire and the Humber

Key information

Postgraduate Admissions Tutor
Telephone number: 
0114 222 5104