Taught course (will run subject to approval)

Cultural Materials

University of Sheffield · Department of Archaeology

Entry requirements

Minimum 2:1 honours degree in archaeology, history or a related subject with professional experience in the field.

Months of entry


Course content

About the course

Our MA in Cultural Materials consolidates Sheffield’s two decades of successful postgraduate provision in Archaeological Materials, Materials Culture Studies and Experimental Archaeology. The course builds on existing opportunities in technological studies, materials analysis, material culture theory, and experimental archaeology, integrating 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, this MA foregrounds the need to embed scientific materials-based research within a theoretically aware humanities-based perspective.

This programme has three streams: Material Culture Studies, Experimental Archaeology and Materials and Technological Analysis.

Your future

Each of our masters courses is designed to equip you with valuable employment skills and prepare you for your future career. If you’re seeking to move into an archaeology-related field from a different academic or employment background, our courses and supportive staff will help you to realise your ambitions and develop professionally.

Graduates from our MA and MSc courses successfully compete for some of the most sought-after archaeological posts in the world. Our courses help students to develop essential transferable skills, and upon graduation they are also in demand by a wide variety of employers outside of the sector.Many of our graduates decide to continue their studies, carrying out doctoral research in their chosen specialist field, equipped with a solid theoretical and practical grounding from which to develop their research.

World-leading expertise

The character and strength of research carried out by Sheffield’s Archaeology department is captured under the following broad themes. These reflect the range of our research and its cross-disciplinary, embedded nature:

  • Funerary Archaeology
  • Landscape Archaeology
  • Bioarchaeology
  • Medieval Archaeology
  • Cultural Materials
  • Mediterranean Archaeology

Specialist facilities

The Archaeology department is situated on the edge of the main campus, near to Sheffield’s city centre. The department houses world-class reference collections and facilities to support teaching, learning and research in a range of archaeological disciplines. Facilities include specialist lab space dedicated to teaching and research, dedicated study spaces, and a student common room.

Fieldwork opportunities

We offer you the opportunity to get involved in our research projects in the UK, Europe and further afield.

How we will teach and assess you

Our students come from all around the world and the content of our courses reflects this. You can expect a balanced timetable of lectures, seminars and practicals. Many of our masters courses also include a fieldwork or project work component. Our teaching staff are leading scholars in their field. Through their research and field projects they are active in generating new knowledge that feeds directly into their teaching.

Funding, scholarships and bursaries

If you accept a place on one of our courses, you may be eligible to apply for WRoCAH and University of Sheffield studentships. There are also a number of departmental and programme-specific scholarships available each year. See our website for details.

Part-time study

All of our postgraduate taught programmes can be taken either as an intensive one-year course or as a two-year part-time course with the exception of MA Cultural Heritage Management which is full-time only.

Core modules

All streams: Ethnography in Archaeology; Reinventing Archaeology; Materialising Culture: Agents, Things and Social Processes; Dissertation*

*Material Culture Studies stream choose between a fieldwork placement and a dissertation.

Examples of optional modules

Depending on which of the three streams you choose to study, these may include:

Analysis of Inorganic Materials; Reconstructing Ancient Technologies: Ceramics, Metals or Vitreous Materials; Experimental Archaeology; Research Design: Planning, Execution and Presentation.

Information for international students

Overall IELTS grade of 6.5 with a minimum of 5.5 in each component, or equivalent.

Fees and funding

If you accept a place on one of our courses, you may be eligible to apply for WRoCAH and University of Sheffield studentships. If you’re considering applying for funding, we recommend you contact us as soon as possible.

Qualification and course duration


part time
24 months
full time
12 months

Course contact details

Postgraduate Admissions Tutor
+44 (0) 114 222 2900