Human Ecology Graduate Programs

Master of Arts (MA) - Material Culture

Master of Arts (MA)

Length of Programs 

The time to complete the thesis-based master’s degree will vary with the individual candidate; however, for those entering the program with a background in a related discipline, it normally takes two years of full time study to complete the program. The course-based program is designed to be completed in 12 months of full-time study. Our program welcomes and accommodates part-time students. 

Available Programs


MA in Material Culture

In the Department of Human Ecology we study social meaning related to the creation, use and circulation of objects today and in the past, with an emphasis on clothing and textiles. In studying material culture we seek to understand people, improve their surroundings, and preserve and exhibit artifacts. Come work with leaders of the Material Culture Institute as they explore the meaning of material goods of all sorts in urban and rural, local, national, and international, and historic contexts.

Research Topics in Material Culture

Material Culture research in the Department of Human Ecology considers the social meaning of objects in relation to their creation, use, circulation and consumption in both contemporary and historical contexts, with a particular emphasis on clothing and textiles. The focus on these particular material goods is enhanced by the Department’s museum quality Clothing and Textiles Collection which consists of more than 20,000 textile and garment artifacts. The interdisciplinary research in this field seeks to reveal how material forms are central to the socialization of human beings into culture.

Research website

University of Alberta Museums' Clothing and Textiles Collection