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Four years at the top: University of Sussex named best in the world for development studies for fourth year running

The University of Sussex has been ranked as best in the world for development studies for the fourth year running, in the 2020 QS World University Rankings by Subject.  

The rankings reflect the quality, impact and range of international development research and courses offered by the University’s School of Global Studies, the University of Sussex Business School, Sussex Sustainability Research Programme (SSRP), School of Media, Film and MusicCentre for International Education (CIE), and the University’s partner the Institute of Development Studies (IDS).  

Sussex has now been number one for development studies for five out of the past six years.  

Head of the School of Global Studies, Elizabeth Harrison, said: “It’s fantastic that the exceptional work in development studies carried out at both Sussex and IDS has been recognised for the fourth year running. Our concern for global inequalities and social justice is reflected in our wide range of courses for both undergraduates and postgraduates, and in our world-class research.”  

Steven McGuire, Dean of the University of Sussex Business School, said: “Our extensive and deep-rooted expertise is unique among business schools, producing graduates capable of designing and influencing policy, transforming economic systems and creating successful businesses that are sustainable and inclusive.”

Director of the Institute of Development Studies, Melissa Leach said: ““The Institute of Development Studies is at the forefront of research, learning and teaching for development studies globally. To be ranked number one in the world is testament to our unique partnership with the University of Sussex and our staff and students who are united in their commitment to address real-world challenges such as inequality, disease, climate change and conflict.” 

Sussex offers a range of degrees in development studies, at both undergraduate and postgraduate levels. The School of Global Studies is home to our undergraduate development degrees, while more than 20 masters degrees are offered across campus. The University of Sussex Business School comprises world-leading researchers in development economics, sustainable development and related fields, including within the Science Policy Research Unit (SPRU). IDS and Global Studies also each offer PhD programmes in development studies.  

Last year, the University of Sussex Business School, with IDS, also launched an MSc in Sustainable Development that is taught entirely online, opening up a world-leading education in development studies at Sussex to people around the world. The University is also developing new summer programmes, including in International Development, which will complement the short courses and professional development activities offered by IDS. 

Sussex and IDS courses are taught by some of the world’s leading development experts, many of whom are active in the field as researchers and practitioners and who bring this valuable experience of applied research into the classroom. 

Adam Tickell, Vice-Chancellor of the University of Sussex, said: “With so many pressing global challenges needing solutions and expertise, I am hugely proud that Sussex has been named again the best university in the world for development studies. 

“Our extensive research and education in this field can now truly be described as peerless.” 

The University of Sussex was among the world’s top 100 universities for six subjects in total. Alongside development studies, these are: 

  • Anthropology  
  • Geography  
  • English language and Literature   
  • Politics and International Studies 
  • Sociology  

Nine subjects in total were ranked within the UK top 20 – including Communications and Media Studies, History and Economics and Econometrics, as well as those mentioned above. 


By: Stephanie Allen
Last updated: Wednesday, 4 March 2020

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