Maria graduated with a history degree before completing the post graduate diploma in textile conservation at the Textile Conservation Centre (TCC), Hampton Court Palace. After working as a conservator and completing a PhD in History at the LSE, University of London, she worked at the TCC, both at Hampton Court and after it joined the University of Southampton in 1999 and was based on its Winchester campus. During this time, she was Head of Studies and Research, as well as Director of the AHRC Research Centre for Textile Conservation and Textile Studies (2004-2007). In 2004 she was elected as a fellow of the Society of Antiquaries and in 2008 she transferred to History.
Since joining History she has taught modules on early modern history at BA and MA level, she has supervised PhD students and she is a member of the Centre for Medieval and Renaissance Culture. She has undertaken a range of admin roles and will be Head of Department from 1 August 2022. In 2021 she was elected as a fellow of the Royal Historical Society.