Culture - Source: Sophie Haines

Source: Sophie Haines


Materials - Source: Laurence Douny

Source: Laurence Douny


Design - Source: Rafael Schacter

Source: Rafael Schacter

MA Culture, Materials & Design

Our Core Vision: The material world is a world of social potential. Social scientists should be better equipped to engage with materials and objects through ethnographic, critical, analytical, presentational and collaborative skills. Designers, artists, engineers, architects and curators should be better equipped to work with people using similar skills.

The MA in Culture, Materials and Design is part of a triage of masters programmes taught by staff in the world-renowned Material Culture group of the Department of Anthropology at UCL. We especially support students who are exploring Design Anthropology, Materials, Crafts, Making, and Design Ethnography.

The MA is for people who are interested in developing their people-skills, and ways of thinking about culture and society, to work alongside, and with, designers, engineers, heritage professionals, environmentalists, materials scientists, and others with a pragmatic interest in materials and design.

The course is about anthropological analytical skills and ethnographic methods, with some presentational and studio group-work skills. We mainly apply these skills to exploring the cultural and social implications of materials and design. We do social science in ways which have an affinity with design and related fields.

The MA accompanies programmes in the study of Material & Visual Culture, and in Digital Anthropology, and benefits in its first term from debate and intellectual discussion with those areas. We also have close teaching and research links with the Institute of Making, with its well-known materials library, and with the largest Institute of Archaeology in the UK.

Two Mary Douglas Awards, worth £2,000 each, are available to candidates. For details, see:

You should consider our MA if:

  • You have a cultural interest in a particular Material, in Design, or in Crafts.
  • You have a Professional background which uses materials and objects (design, art, heritage, engineering, architecture).
  • You are interested in learning and researching through Doing and Making using materials and objects, as well as texts.
  • The questions you are asking in your work are two-fold: firstly about Communities, and secondarily about institutional Audiences and Agendas (companies, museums, NGOs, Governments).

  • You can find out more about the Institute of Making at:

    For details of the Institute of Archaeology, see: