Doctoral School

New doctoral researchers

Our website for new researchers is designed to help you navigate the early days of your doctorate.

These pages provide all the information you need to get started, bringing together resources from the main Sussex website in addition to video interviews with Sussex doctoral researchers and staff, giving lots of advice on making the most of your time here. 

September 2021 Doctoral School Induction events

We're looking forward to welcoming you to the Doctoral School in September! 

Our induction events introduce some of the key services that support PhD researchers at Sussex, offer you a chance to meet other new PhDers and get to know the doctoral community, and get discipline-specific advice from faculty and current PGRs

While we expect to run most of our induction in person, we will move sessions online if the situation on campus dictates it. We wll keep you informed in the run-up to Welcome Week.

Our Autumn 2020 online induction and Starting Your Doctorate panel discussions were recorded, meaning you can catch up or refer back to them whenever you want. Scroll down for a full list of available videos. 

Welcome to the Doctoral School
Wednesday 22nd September, 11.00-14.00
Attenborough Centre for the Creative Arts (ACCA)

Are you starting your doctorate at Sussex this autumn? Join us for the main Doctoral School welcome event, and hear from the key support services around the University who will help you throughout your PhD journey.

You will be welcomed by Prof Jeremy Niven, Director of the Doctoral School, and hear short presentations from the Researcher Development Programme, the Library, the Careers & Entrepreneurship, the Student Life Centre, Health & Safety, the Students' Union and the Research Hive Scholars.

The talks will be followed by lunch and a chance to chat to your fellow researchers and find out about some other opportunities on campus.

Book your place via SussexDirect


PhD Essentials: Starting Your Doctorate Panels
Thursday 23rd September, 10.15-11.45

Make a successful start to your doctorate at this session developed to prepare you for the journey ahead. Hear from current doctoral researchers and academics in your discipline and discuss issues such as managing your research, first-year milestones, working with your supervisor, training and development, and dealing with challenges.

If you have any questions or concerns about starting your PhD this is the place to come!

Arts & Humanities - Jubilee Building, Room 115 Book your place via SussexDirect

Sciences - Jubilee Building, Room 155 Book your place via SussexDirect

Social Sciences - Jubilee Building, Room 118 Book your place via SussexDirect

PhD Essentials: International Researchers Lunch
Tuesday 28 September, 11.00-12.00
The Quiet Room, Meeting House

Whether you're new to the UK or continuing your studies, this informal event is a chance to meet other international PhD researchers and get advice from international student advisors, in one of the most iconic buildings on campus.

Book your place via SussexDirect

Welcome to the Doctoral School online induction
Wednesday 29 September, 10.30-12.00 (UK time)

For those of you who can't join us on campus, this online session combines the welcome talks with a mixed-discipline Starting Your Doctorate panel to help you get started on your PhD journey.

Hear short presentations from the key services who support PhD research at Sussex, then chat with other new researchers and put your questions and concerns to a panel of current PGRs and academics from different Schools.

Book your place via SussexDirect

PhD Essentials: Introduction to the Library

One of the first things to do when you start your PhD is get to know your friendly local librarian! Find out about the resources and collections you can access at Sussex, the tailored support available to doctoral researchers, and the Research Hive study space for PGRs. SIgn up for either the in-person or online introductions below:

On campus: Tuesday 28th September, 14.00-15.00, Library Open Learning Space

Book your place via SussexDirect

Online: Thursday 30th September, 10.00-11.00 (UK Time)

Book your place via SussexDirect

Hive Happy Hour
Thursday 30th September, 16.00
ACCA Lawns

Join fellow doctoral researchers, old and new, to kick of the new academic year! There will be a range of drinks (alcoholic and non-alcoholic), snacks and party favours!

Book your place via SussexDirect


Starting your PhD during a pandemic 

The pandemic has made this a difficult time for anyone starting their PhD, but here at Sussex we have a clear plan to help support you through this and help you get settled in. The University campus is currently open and as the lockdown restrictions change in the UK, we are hopeful that researchers joining Sussex in September 2021 will be able to fully enjoy what our campus can offer.

For the latest information from the University on how Covid-19 may affect your research, see the the University's Covid-19 webpages which include some useful FAQs about how campus, research and supervision is expecting to run this year. If you are an international researcher travelling to the UK, see the University website for international guidance.

In September 2021, the University is hoping that most supervision and research activities will be delivered in-person on campus. You are encouraged to have regular discussions with your supervisors on how often you will need to be on campus. In some disciplines, it will be normal to visit campus occasionally, and for others there will be an expectation of daily attendance. All patterns of time on campus are permitted, as agreed with your supervisor.

If your plan of doctoral research includes the collection of data overseas whilst on fieldwork, this will be under continual review and will be supported when it is safe to do so. We will, of course, always prioritise health and safety and it may be necessary to make other changes during the academic year.

Our Researcher Development Programme workshops will be a blended format from Autumn 2021, with a mix of both in-person and online sessions. This will also be kept under review in line with government advice. 

A number of Covid safety measures will be in place across the University, including sanitiser stations, track and trace QR codes, and lanyards to indicate if you prefer greater social distancing. There is an expectation that face masks will be worn in crowded spaces across campus. Please be considerate of your fellow researchers, who may feel less comfortable about returning to in-person activities.


2020-21 induction recordings

Please note - the auto-captioning on these videos is variable and mistakes should be expected. If that causes you any issues please contact

Welcome to the Doctoral School: Starting your PhD in a Pandemic
Recorded on 22 September 2020
A special welcome session with an introduction from the Director of the Doctoral School and talks from key staff supporting the doctoral community
Watch the recording
Slidedeck from the Welcome session
Student Life Centre presentation

PhD Essentials: Starting Your Doctorate panel discussions
Recorded on 22 September 2020
Split by discipline, our panellists included current doctoral researchers and Directors of Doctoral Studies from across Sussex departments. 
Arts & Humanities - watch the recording
Sciences - watch the recording
Social Sciences - watch the recording

PhD Essentials: Tutoring, archives and peer review
Recorded on 9 December 2020
When you've got to grips with the PhD basics it's time to explore opportunities further afield. Hear about paid tutoring placements in schools with the Brilliant Club, the rich archival resources and support on offer at The Keep, and the chance to gain peer reviewing and publishing experience with Excursions, Sussex's own postgraduate journal. 
Watch the recording
Slidedeck from the tutoring, archives and peer review session

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