We review recent developments and advances in multiferroic and magnetoelectric heterostructures. Driven by the promise of new materials functionality (i.e. electric field control of ferromagnetism), extensive on-going research is focused on the search for and characterization of new multiferroic materials. In this review we develop a comprehensive overview of multiferroic materials, including details on the nature of order parameters and coupling in these materials, the scarcity of such materials in single phase form, routes to create and control the properties of these materials, and we finish by investigating such effects in a number of model materials and heterostructures. This includes an in-depth discussion of BiFeO 3, an investigation of recent advances in magnetoelectric materials, and an introduction to a variety of approaches by which one can achieve novel materials functionality. © 2011 Acta Materialia Inc. Published by Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.