University of Sussex


The University of Sussex is a public research university situated in Falmer, near Brighton in Sussex. The university received its Royal Charter in August 1961, and was a founding member of the 1994 Group of research-intensive universities promoting excellence in research and teaching.

In an effort to establish a university to serve Brighton, a public meeting was held in December 1911 at the Royal Pavilion in order to discover ways to fund the construction of a university; the project was halted by World War I, and the money raised was used instead for books for the Municipal Technical College.

The idea was revived in the 1950s and, in June 1958, the government approved the corporation’s scheme for a university at Brighton, to be the first of a new generation of what came to be known as plate glass universities. The University was established as a company in 1959, with a Royal Charter being granted on 16 August 1961. The University’s organisation broke new ground in seeing the campus divided into Schools of Study, with students able to benefit from a multidisciplinary teaching environment. Sussex would emphasise cross-disciplinary activity, so that students would emerge from the university with a range of background or ‘contextual’ knowledge to complement their specialist ‘core’ skills in a particular subject area.

Sussex counts three Nobel Prize winners, 14 Fellows of the Royal Society, six Fellows of the British Academy and a winner of the Crafoord Prize among its faculty. In the latest rankings, the university was placed 62nd in Europe and 140th in the world by the Times Higher Education World University Rankings 2015–16. The Guardian University Guide 2016 placed Sussex 19th in the United Kingdom and the Times and Sunday Times Good University Guide 2016 also ranks Sussex 19th. The 2015 Academic Ranking of World Universities placed the university within the top 18-21 in the United Kingdom and in the top 151-200 internationally.


The university was founded with the unusual structure of “Schools of Study” (ubiquitously abbreviated to “schools”) rather than traditional university departments within arts and science faculties.

By this time the original schools had been developed somewhat and were:

  • African and Asian Studies(abbreviated to AFRAS)
  • Biological Sciences(BIOLS)
  • Chemistry and Molecular Sciences(MOLS)
  • Cognitive and Computing Sciences(COGS)
  • Cultural and Community Studies(CCS)
  • Engineering and Applied Sciences(ENGG, formerly EAPS)
  • English and American(ENGAM or EAM)
  • European Studies(EURO)
  • Mathematical and Physical Sciences(MPS)
  • Social Sciences(SOC)

There was also the Institute of Development Studies(IDS).

In 2001, as the university celebrated its 40th anniversary, the then Vice-Chancellor Alasdair Smith proposed major changes to the curriculum across the “Arts schools”, and the senate agreed to structural changes which would create two Arts schools and a “Sussex Institute” in place of the five schools then in place. Corresponding changes would be made in Sciences.

The changes were finally implemented in September 2003. After discussion in senate and the schools, disciplinary departments which had been located across the different schools, were located firmly within one school, and undergraduates were offered straightforward degree subjects. The multi-disciplinarity provided by the school courses was now to be achieved through elective courses from other departments and schools. The new schools were:

  • Humanities(HUMS)
  • Life Sciences(LIFESCI)
  • Science and Technology(SCITECH)
  • Social Sciences and Cultural Studies(SOCCUL)
  • Sussex Institute(SI)

In 2009 the university adopted a new organisational structure. The term “Schools of Studies” was retained, but each was headed by a “Head of School” rather than the traditional “Dean”. Many of these new heads were appointed from outside Sussex rather than from existing faculty. The schools as of 2009 are listed below. The term “department” has been retained in some cases, where a school contains separate disciplines.

  • Engineering and Informatics (two separate schools before 2011)
  • Life Sciences (includes Biology, Environmental Science, Chemistry and Biochemistry and houses the Centre for Genome Damage and Stability)
  • Mathematical and Physical Sciences (includes Mathematics, Physics and Astronomy)
  • Psychology
  • Business, Management and Economics
  • Education and Social Work
  • Global Studies (includes Anthropology,Geography and International Relations, as well as interdisciplinary programmes in Development Studies)
  • Law, Politics and Sociology
  • English
  • History, Art History and Philosophy
  • Media, Film and Music 


Standard A level offers are between AAA and CCC, depending on degree programme (including foundation years).

Sussex has a proud tradition of welcoming mature students, and takes a flexible approach when considering their applications.


The University of Sussex is ranked amongst the top 20 universities in all three major UK rankings guides.

In the Complete University Guide 2017, the following subjects at Sussex are ranked in the top 10:

  • American Studies (2nd)
  • Marketing (6th)
  • Anatomy and Physiology (7th)
  • Chemistry (9th)
  • Biological Science (10th)

Their distinguished faculty includes 8 Fellows of the Royal Society, 9 Fellows of the British Academy, 11 Fellows of the Academy of Medical Sciences and 18 Fellows of the Academy of Social Sciences.

Three Nobel Prizes and one Crafoord Prize have been awarded for research conducted at Sussex.

They are continuously building on their research excellence in a wide range of academic disciplines, establishing major research centres on campus including the Andrew and Virginia Rudd Centre for Adoption Research and Practice; the Sackler Centre for Consciousness Science; the Middle East and North African Centre at Sussex (MENACS); and the Sussex Centre for the Study of Corruption (SCSC).


All their teaching is informed by their cutting-edge research – meaning the students will be taught by some of the world’s leading thinkers, doers and entrepreneurs.

In the 2016 National Student Survey, 88% of Sussex students said they were satisfied or very satisfied with the teaching on their course.


To help the students find a rewarding career after university, Careers and Employability Centre staff offer a wide range of employability, professional and career development services. These include work experience and internships, careers fairs and training courses, plus one-to-one support from one of their friendly experts.

They will give them the support they need to develop their confidence, boost their skills, and gain a competitive edge in their career.

Sussex graduates can use the services of The Careers and Employability Centre for up to three years after graduating.

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