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    Cultural Data Management and Communication

    School of History, Philosophy and Digital Humanities, Faculty of Arts and Humanities

    Cultural data is digital data about human culture and society. In this MA you'll learn the concepts and methods for how cultural data is created, managed, analysed and communicated. You'll get a grounding in how the digital world works in practice, how to manage digital projects and an opportunity to learn about digital culture and how digital products are created.
    Students and lecturer

    Course description

    Learn how to create, manage, analyse and communicate cultural data.

    Data is the new oil, and cultural data is all around us, influencing every aspect of our lives, from work and leisure, to e-commerce and relationships.

    Cultural data can be anything from digital representations of ancient documents, artefacts and environments to present-day social media, digital arts, shopping apps and virtual worlds. It draws on a diverse range of digital and computational methods for its creation, management, analysis and communication: from digitisation, databases, data standards, citizen science and web apps, to computational linguistics, data visualisation, machine learning (AI) and user-centred design.

    You don't need a background in information science, computer programming or have mathematical competencies as this course will provide you with the digital skills required to create, manage and communicate cultural data.

    Learning about the concepts of data, and the methods for how data is used to represent and influence culture, is essential for understanding how the modern world works and how to create more value from it.

    Video introducing the MA Cultural Data management and Communication


    A selection of modules is available each year - some examples are below. There may be changes before you start your course. From May of the year of entry, formal programme regulations will be available in our Programme Regulations Finder.

    Introduction to Cultural Data

    This module examines cultural data, including methods for creating, analysing and communicating data. Cultural data is digital data about human culture and society, past and present: from ancient documents, artefacts and environments to present-day social media, digital arts and virtual worlds. Cultural data also uses a wide range of digital methods for its creation, analysis and communication, such as digitisation, crowdsourcing, AI, data visualisation, apps, digital exhibitions, and user-centred design. You will learn the principles, methods and tools for working with all types of cultural data, preparing you for a career in the media, information and cultural sectors.

    30 credits
    Managing Digital Projects

    This module examines project management in the context of developing data products and digital performances. Data products might be websites, databases, apps, or virtual environments which use cultural content. Digital performances might include music, art, video or digital exhibitions in which the practices and/or the outputs are digital. The module will teach the skills and tools necessary to manage the design, planning and execution of a digital project, including: developing ideas; understanding user requirements; developing specifications for design teams; planning; choosing the best design and development methodology. The module does not require the product or performance to be executed.

    30 credits

    This module enables you to design a digital product, service, performance, installation or artefact which uses cultural data. The design might be to address a problem or a need, or to communicate ideas, and be of value to people in academia, business, arts, heritage or the community. You will create an e-portfolio of written pieces, drawings, designs, and example data, and you can also include practical work (such as a music composition or software code). You will be able to demonstrate self-directed learning, critical judgement, ideas and creativity, building on knowledge acquired throughout your MA, as evidence for future employers.

    60 credits

    The content of our courses is reviewed annually to make sure it's up-to-date and relevant. Individual modules are occasionally updated or withdrawn. This is in response to discoveries through our world-leading research; funding changes; professional accreditation requirements; student or employer feedback; outcomes of reviews; and variations in staff or student numbers. In the event of any change we'll consult and inform students in good time and take reasonable steps to minimise disruption.

    Open days

    An open day gives you the best opportunity to hear first-hand from our current students and staff about our courses.

    You may also be able to pre-book a department visit as part of a campus tour.Open days and campus tours


    • 1 year full-time
    • 2 years part-time


    This course capitalises on over 25 years of expertise and an international reputation in cultural data at the Faculty of Arts’ Digital Humanities Institute (DHI).

    The DHI is the UK’s leading centre for the development, analysis and communication of cultural data (digital humanities). DHI colleagues deliver modules that draw on their knowledge, expertise and track record.

    Your career

    This MA will provide you with the skills and intellectual training to prepare you for a career in the information, media and communication sectors, the creative industries and the cultural heritage sector (including galleries, libraries, archives, and museums), as well as providing excellent preparation for doctoral research.

    It will prepare you for a  variety of leadership roles in project management, product development and media production.


    School of History, Philosophy and Digital Humanities

    In the School of History, Philosophy and Digital Humanities, we interrogate some of the most significant and pressing aspects of human life, offering new perspectives and tackling globally significant issues.

    The Digital Humanities Institute is the UK's leading centre for research, development and communication in digital culture and digital humanities.

    Established in 1994, our mission is to support the innovative use of technology and computation within arts, humanities and heritage research as both a method of inquiry and a means of dissemination. Digital culture is everywhere, and it is driven by cultural data.

    We collaborate with a wide range of academic and research colleagues, as well as professionals in the heritage, culture and information industries, across the UK and internationally on funded projects with a computational component or digital output.  Since the DHI was established, we have delivered over 120 externally funded research projects, collaborated with more than 125 external partners, and received grants from 39 funders.

    Approximately 50% of all our projects are led by academic or cultural institutions outside the University of Sheffield which means we have a wide network of industry experts and organisations which our students are able to tap into and benefit from through things such as our annual Business Leader talks.


    Our students get to make the most of the University's facilities across campus. Explore some of the teaching, library and social spaces you'll be able to visit as an arts and humanities student.

    Entry requirements

    Minimum 2:1 undergraduate honours degree in a relevant subject, such as history, music, archaeology, languages and cultures, English, philosophy, sociology and information studies.

    We also consider a wide range of international qualifications:

    Entry requirements for international students

    Overall IELTS score of 6.5 with a minimum of 6.0 in each component, or equivalent.

    Pathway programme for international students

    If you're an international student who does not meet the entry requirements for this course, you have the opportunity to apply for a pre-masters programme in Business, Social Sciences and Humanities at the University of Sheffield International College. This course is designed to develop your English language and academic skills. Upon successful completion, you can progress to degree level study at the University of Sheffield.

    If you have any questions about entry requirements, please contact the department.


    You can apply for postgraduate study using our Postgraduate Online Application Form. It's a quick and easy process.

    Apply now

    This course has a date of equal consideration of 31 October 2023. This date has now passed, but we are currently still welcoming applications.


    Dr Isabella Magni

    Any supervisors and research areas listed are indicative and may change before the start of the course.

    Our student protection plan

    Recognition of professional qualifications: from 1 January 2021, in order to have any UK professional qualifications recognised for work in an EU country across a number of regulated and other professions you need to apply to the host country for recognition. Read information from the UK government and the EU Regulated Professions Database.