MA Cultural Materials


MA Cultural Materials postcard

An intensive 1-year (or 2 year part-time) postgraduate taught degree with research experience

Be part of a world class research community

Achieve technical expertise in all areas making use of our state-of-the-art laboratories, extensive field survey equipment or experimental facilities

Develop detailed understandings of theoretical research and cultivate your own integrated research frameworks

Tailor you own bespoke curriculum through selecting specialist streams and developing your own coursework in partnership with academic staff

Engage directly with the opportunities offered by a world class international group of academics and researchers that leads current approaches to cultural materials research

Our MA in Cultural Materials consolidates Sheffield’s two decades of successful postgraduate provision in Archaeological Materials, Materials Culture Studies and Experimental Archaeology. The development of the Cultural Materials MA indicates a coming of age of Sheffield as a leading world centre for research and teaching in this area.

The new MA consolidates existing opportunities in technological studies, materials analysis, material culture theory, and experimental archaeology and integrates them with added emphasis on the development of both academic and professional research frameworks. While maintaining a commitment to the demanding technical aspects of materials analysis, the new MA foregrounds the need to embed scientific materials-based research within a theoretically aware humanities-based perspective.

MA students will continue to form an important aspect of Sheffield’s research community which has led to so many graduates flourishing in funded PhD research or high profile professional practice. The course provides students with a solid grounding in all aspects of material culture studies from analytical to theoretical while allowing students to tailor their own thematic and period specialisms. The availability of defined streams for materials analysis, material culture and experimental archaeology will allow students to demonstrate specific specialisms through personalised coursework and dissertation study to ensure progress in their chosen fields.

Cultural Materials image

Duration Full-time (one year) or Part-time (two years).
Semesters The teaching component of the programme will commence late September and is based on semesters (Autumn/Spring). Semester dates Over the summer you will undertake your independent research in consultation with an academic supervisor. Part-time students will commence this aspect of the programme in the summer of their second year.
Qualification This programme is offered as a MA (180 credits), Diploma (120 credits) or a Certificate (60 credits).
Assessment Typical forms of assessment include essays, presentations and completion of a research-led dissertation*.

Information relates to 2017-18 academic year: The content of our courses is reviewed annually to make sure it is current and relevant. Individual modules may be updated or withdrawn in response to discoveries through our world-leading research, funding changes, professional accreditation requirements, student or employer feedback, curriculum review, staff availability, and variations in student numbers. In the event of a material change the University will inform students in good time and will take reasonable steps to minimise disruption.

The programme has been created to work as three specialist streams, your preferred option will be discussed during your induction week when you elect your modules.

Students investigating artefacts A pottery find being measured

MA Cultural Materials (Materials and Technological Analysis)

You will take:

And a 30 credit module from the Department of Archaeology or from the Faculty of Arts and Humanities.

MA Cultural Materials (Experimental Archaeology)

You will take:

And a 30 credit module from the Department of Archaeology or from the Faculty of Arts and Humanities.

MA Cultural Materials (Material Culture Studies)

You will take:

And one from these two:

And one from this group:

And modules to the value of 75 credits from the Department of Archaeology and from the Faculty of Arts and Humanities.

A list of Department of Archaeology modules can be viewed here. Full programme specifications are also available.

*While the majority of dissertation projects do not involve any additional cost to the student, you may incur some expenses if you choose a topic that is not resourced by the department.

**Depending on a student's choice of placement, this may involve additional travel or other costs.


Core Teaching Staff:

Peter DayProf Peter Day

Peter is a specialist in material culture, with particular emphasis on ceramics and the Aegean. His research interests include archaeological material culture, The technology of ceramics, Ethnographies of craft, The archaeology of the Aegean.

Roger DoonanDr Roger Doonan (Programme Director)

Roger’s areas of interest include Material Culture Studies, Archaeological theory, Community archaeology, and Experimental Archaeology.

Caroline JacksonProf Caroline Jackson

Caroline’s main research is on the study and scientific analysis of archaeological materials, specialising in glass and other vitreous materials such as faience. The primary focus of this work is in Bronze Age Egypt and the Aegean mainly from production sites and on Roman glasses from consumption contexts. She uses scientific methods to analyse archaeological glass and experimental archaeology to elucidate patterns relating to provenance, trade and consumption in the ancient and historic world.

Colin MerronyMr Colin Merrony

Colin’s research interests include the economy and landscape impact of Medieval Premonstratensian Abbeys in Britain. Landscape change in southern Yorkshire and the North-east Midlands. The development and application of field techniques for investigating historic landscapes. The use of archaeology as a mechanism for basic skills education and for enhancing social cohesion. The geochemistry of New Zealand greenstone.

Hugh WillmottDr Hugh Willmott

Hugh's research interests lie in the archaeology of the medieval and early modern period in Europe. Currently, he is currently focusing upon exploring the archaeology of the Dissolution of the Monasteries in England and exploring the longer-term development of monastic landscapes in early and later medieval Lincolnshire. Other aspects of his work examine the development of historical societies through their production, consumption and deposition of material culture.


Academic Requirements:

A minimum of a 2:1 honours degree (GPA 3.0) in an arts, humanities or science subject is usually required. Your interest in and knowledge of archaeological matters are more important than the specific discipline of your undergraduate degree. EU and international student entry requirements can be found using the link below:

English Language Requirements:

For applicants whose first language is not English, IELTS is the preferred test of language. You need an IELTS score of 6.5, with at least 5.5 in all the component tests. Further information can be obtained from the following link:

Fees and Funding:

Funding options, instalment plans and tuition fee information are located at:

For those that accept a place on MA Aegean Archaeology, you will automatically considered for the Conart Bursary, worth up to £1,000.

How to Apply:

Applications forms are completed on-line at the following link:

Applying to start in over 12 months time?

Please feel free to submit your application via our online system, however please note that we will not be able to process your application for this course until 12 months before your proposed start date.

Visit Us:

If you’re considering a postgraduate programme at Sheffield, you are very welcome to visit us. You can attend an open day or a visit afternoon, which will include a tour of the University campus and the department, or contact the department directly ( to arrange a personal visit to meet with the director of your chosen programme.

Further Information:

If you'd like to know more about any aspect of this course please contact Dr Roger Doonan,

For any other queries please contact: E:, T: +44 (0)114 222 2900

Frequently Asked Questions:

The link below contains questions most commonly asked about the application process:


Cultural Materials research is a truly international in its scope with ongoing student projects in the UK, Russia, China, Albania, Italy, Spain, Greece, Cyprus, Serbia, Croatia, Kenya, Canada and the USA. We are familiar with developing and facilitating projects in all areas and welcome students from across the globe. The commitment to internationalisation among the research group enhances each students appreciation of the diverse approaches to cultural materials while allowing individuals to broaden their horizons while taking advantage of the many opportunities that it offers.

We encourage applicants to visit the following webpages aimed specifically at our EU and international students.

We also have a departmental page for our international applicants:

Prospective EU Students