Sussex 2025

Information for students


Following the decision by Senate on the 11 December, and approval by Council on the 18 December of the Combined School Proposal, the University will create a new school, that brings together arts, humanities and media subjects at Sussex. The new school will combine the School of English, the School of History, Art History and Philosophy, the School of Media, Film and Music and the Sussex Centre for Language Studies.

This follows activity during the last term of the 2018/19 academic year, including a comprehensive engagement process that was undertaken with students and staff at the University. You can read more about the first phase of the engagement process. As a result of the engagement process the University Executive Group (UEG) agreed that the proposal should enter a Design Phase which began on the 26 September and finished on the 1 November 2019.

The Design Phase activity provided students and staff with the opportunity to explore and discuss individually and collectively as to what a proposed Combined School structure could look like. This feedback helped shape a proposal to the UEG for consideration on whether to continue progressing the Combined School proposal.

We want to be clear that none of the Combined School Proposal activity will disrupt students' studies in any way, nor would it change the course they are studying or the degree they are awarded. Actually, we hope that by joining forces we can make it easier for students to access teaching and modules from across our combined subjects, enriching their learning experience.

We encouraged as many students as possible to take part in the Design Phase. The Students' Union collected student feedback during October, and used it to produce a report that was included in the appendices to the UEG and Senate papers.

A key principle of the overall process to explore the creation of a Combined School is transparency. This ethos continued in the Design Phase and a range of comprehensive information is available on the Rationale documents page. It is recommended that staff and students read the materials to understand what primary information has been used in the proposed Combined School structure.

You can also view a short narrated Panopto presentation of some possible models, the design principles arising from Phase One and suggested questions that were presented for student and staff consideration.

Frequently asked questions

What are the reasons for setting up a new school?
The three heads of school and centre director believe that coming together as one unit will provide a strong and internationally renowned platform for the Arts, Humanities and Digital Media, which builds on the visionary foundation that saw Sussex define these fields of study from the outset. The hypothesis is that a merger of schools would further liberate the interdisciplinary energies at work in research and teaching, and that this in turn would provide greater success in academic terms to the benefit of students, staff and the University.

How will students benefit from being part of one unit?
Firstly, we believe it would liberate our timetabling and academic structures, making it easier for you to study across subjects. This would give you far greater choice academically. Secondly, it would allow us to develop new joint degrees for undergraduates and postgraduates, which we know enhance students’ experience of university. This model that crosses disciplines is how Sussex built its reputation and we are excited about reimagining this for a new generation. Thirdly, we can get more creative with our buildings and open up more spaces for teaching, studying and socialising. Our vision is for a thriving community clustered around the Arts and Silverstone buildings.

When can I comment on the proposed Combined School structure?
We will be conducting an engagement process to enable students and staff to comment on the proposed Combined School structure. Your School will be in touch to let you know about how you can share your views at a School meeting and later on in the first term at a joint Schools meeting.

What will happen with the feedback that staff and students provide during the engagement process?
All comments and views will be reviewed by the Engagement Group and taken into consideration as part of the recommendation for UEG.

What is the membership of the engagement group and how is the University is ensuring wide consultation on this proposal?
An Engagement Group oversees the engagement process and Provost Saul Becker chairs this. The group will include all three Heads of School and the Centre, a Students’ Union representative and an additional representative from each school, nominated by the Head of School.

If the proposal is approved, what changes will occur for current students?
If the University’s Council approves this proposal, there will not be any immediate changes for students but we will ensure that we will be sharing information of any upcoming benefits as soon as possible. Students’ studies will not be disrupted in any way and we will ensure that everyone is made aware of any changes coming out of the merger.

What is the timing for the implementation of the proposal, if it is approved?
If the proposal is approved, we envisage that a reconstructed School would be in place by September 2020.

What if I have more questions which come up during the engagement process?
The Engagement Group will be meeting regularly throughout the process and will be providing updates on common questions. Please check back on these web pages. You can also email