Doctoral School

Profile: Miles Willey - Head of Research Student Administration

There are many staff in professional services across campus working to support doctoral researchers. In this item we highlight a staff member and service supporting the doctoral community & tell you a bit more about their role, and how they can help you.

Miles Willey profile pictureName: Miles Willey
Role: Head of Research Student Administration 
Department/Division: Research Student Administration Office

What do you do?

I have just started at Sussex as the new Head of the Research Student Administration Office team.

My role involves developing policy, regulations and guidance for the University on doctoral research. I also provide advice to supervisors, examiners and students on regulation and processes to make sure the high standards of the doctoral degree are maintained across the University.

As a team, we provide advice to you, the doctoral researchers, at the University on regulations and procedures. We also manage all administrative processes relating to your admission, registration, academic progress and assessment at Sussex. And we’re there to take your photograph, if you like, when you come to hand in your thesis.

Where were you before?

I worked at the University of Brighton for 15 years, where I worked as the Assistant Registrar (Quality & Standards) and latterly as the Brighton Doctoral College Manager. During my time at Brighton I am proud to have overseen growth in doctoral student numbers and the award of their first four Research Council Doctoral Training Partnerships.

I have also advised and presented on best practice in the sector, and am a member of the UK Council for Graduate Education Graduate School Managers Network. My interest has always been in making rules and regulations simple and useful for both doctoral students and supervisors, and balancing personal situations with the rules that govern a university.

Before working at Brighton, I played bass guitar for the not-quite-successful-enough band Lowgold and even had a top forty album.  Before this, I played an unhealthy amount of table-tennis and to this day invite pong-challenges from all.

What support do you offer to doctoral researchers?

Doctorates can be complex things – you are producing new-knowledge after all. Here are some of the things the Research Student Admin Office can help you with:   

  • The admissions criteria and how to apply for doctoral study at Sussex
  • Registration and Induction to the University
  • The Annual Review Process
  • Applying for fieldwork
  • Intermission
  • Appointing examiners
  • Submitting your thesis
  • The viva examination
  • Visas for international doctoral researchers

How can doctoral researchers get in touch?

You’re welcome to visit our reception in Sussex House for advice. Or, you can email us on or call on 01273 876550.

Are there any useful tips for doctoral researchers?

The Handbook and Regulations for Doctoral Researchers is a one-stop shop for everything you need to know about doctoral studies at Sussex.

You will most likely already know your School Research and Enterprise Coordinator (REC). If not, I would advise you make contact quickly as they are an invaluable and local support to your time here as a doctoral student.

One simple and useful piece of advice I offer to doctoral students is to make formal records of your supervisions. All doctorates involve a personal relationship between student and supervisor, and a simple written record is one way of making sure that you have a shared understanding of your research, your progress, and ultimately your award.  

Doctoral School

T: 00 44 (0)1273 87 7767