The Material Culture Program at the University of Wisconsin-Madison examines forms, uses, and meanings of objects, design, and environments in everyday life. Associated faculty pursue innovative interdisciplinary teaching and research that engages the material worlds of diverse cultures and times. As an interdisciplinary program in a major research institution, it draws upon an active community of scholars, a broad curriculum, rich study collections, and close ties to other local cultural institutions. Undergraduate students participate in the Program to gain a Certificate in Material Culture Studies. Typically, they work closely with core faculty in the Departments of Art History and Design Studies.

Undergraduates are encouraged to study in a variety of departments to build upon their majors. With ten departments across campus participating in the program, students are able to take advantage of a number of exciting elective courses en route to earning the Certificate.

Students are encouraged to sample across departments to build upon their departmental majors.

To officially enroll in the Certificate Program, students must fill out a Declaration Form, and the appropriate checklist downloadable below. Fill these out with your advisor and turn them in to your department office.

In order to formally receive the undergraduate certificate, please fill out and return the Material Culture Program Undergraduate Certificate Declaration Form to Teddy Kaul, Department of Art History, 222 Elvehjem Building.

Student Checklist

Admissions to the graduate certificate in Material Culture are closed at this time. Graduate students interested in material culture study are a vital part of the material culture community and are invited to join the graduate-level Material Culture Focus group and participate in all programming. Some graduate level material culture classes will be listed here, but no certificate is currently offered.
A student may build upon core courses with a number of exciting electives.

Undergraduate students are encouraged to pursue an individualized program of study that builds upon core courses and multiple electives. Our “classroom” is broad and varied, as we make use of a variety of local research collections, buildings, and sites to study and interpret the material world. We like to think that after you study material culture, the world will never be the same.

For more information, please contact:

Department of Art History
University of Wisconsin-Madison
Chazen Museum of Art, Room 232
800 University Avenue
Madison, WI 53706

Design Studies
School of Human Ecology
University of Wisconsin-Madison
3191 Nancy Nicholas Hall
1300 Linden Drive
Madison, WI 53706
Phone: (608) 262-2651
Fax: (608) 262-5099