Explore this course:

    Applications for 2024 entry are now open. Apply now or register your interest to hear about postgraduate study and events at the University of Sheffield.

    2024 start September 

    Digital Culture and Communication

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

    Explore the ways in which technologies are transforming the human experience. Investigate how digital content and theories are used in culture and heritage, and how digital projects are managed. You'll also have an opportunity to acquire practical training in digital methods and learn how digital products are created.
    Students sat around desks with laptops

    Course description

    If you have a passion for understanding culture and society and a desire to influence digital innovation, this MA is for you.

    It will help you better understand the cultural contexts of digital media developments through historical, critical and theoretical perspectives.

    Digital culture is about the emergence and use of digital content, networks and technologies - for example, social media, algorithms, online groups, digital images and sounds - and their interactive relationship with the ways culture is created, consumed and altered.

    The very nature of digital culture means users don’t just receive it, they interact with it and are influenced by it. For example:

    • Whose voices are present or absent online and how that relates to inequality
    • How personal and group identities are expressed in the digital world and how this affects identity
    • The degree that digital objects emerge from our culture and cause changes to it

    You’ll also learn how digital content is used to represent human culture and society in the past and present, such as ancient documents, artefacts and environments as well as present-day social media, digital arts and virtual worlds.

    You don't need a background in information science, computer programming or have mathematical competencies. It's far more important for applicants to have an interest in culture and society.

    Video introducing the MA Digital Culture 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 Digital Culture

    This module examines the theory and history of the interaction between culture and information and communication technology (ICT). ‘Digital culture’ refers to culture shaped by the emergence and use of digital technologies, their practices and artefacts. This module focuses on the changes wrought by the widespread adoption of networked computing, personalised technologies and digital images and sound, for the way we think about culture and cultural data, the contexts in which digital culture exists and is made, and their impacts for the creative/cultural industries. You will learn about the characteristics of digital culture including types of cultural forms and experiences, technical processes, and about digital practice and computing as a cultural activity, including its history, socio-cultural context, aesthetics, epistemologies, its ethical problems and critical debates. This will enable you to understand current forms of digital culture, critically contextualise your own and others’ digital practice, and anticipate future developments, as appropriate to knowledge-based careers in the cultural sector.

    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 digital culture at the Faculty of Arts’ Digital Humanities Institute (DHI).

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

    Your career

    You’ll transform your knowledge of the arts, humanities or social sciences with training in digital theory, methods and project management.

    This will prepare you for a leadership role in the digital media, arts, cultural heritage and information technology sectors, as well as provide excellent preparation for doctoral research.


    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.