1 year full time, 2 years part time
Starts September 2017

Corruption and Governance

Develop your understanding of what corruption is, where and why it proliferates, and what can be done to counteract it.

You’ll address challenging issues of how different disciplines define corruption and how this can lead to different anti-corruption approaches. You’ll examine specific examples – from systematic abuses of power by parties, politicians and civil servants to small-scale, petty misdemeanours. The role of business can also be analysed.

Based in the world-leading Sussex Centre for the Study of Corruption, this course remains the only full-time MA in the world analysing issues of corruption, anti-corruption and governance. 

Key facts

  • This course is the only full-time Masters in the UK addressing issues of corruption. 
  • We were ranked in the top 5 UK institutions for research output in the most recent Research Excellence Framework (REF).
  • Sussex was rated one of the top UK universities for its political scene (Which? University Student Survey 2016).

How will I study?

You'll study core modules and options during the autumn and spring terms. In the summer, you work on your dissertation.

All modules are assessed by term papers and exams. You also write a 15,000-word dissertation in the summer term. The internship is assessed by a report on what you did and how this links in to theories of corruption, anti-corruption and/or good governance.


In the spring term, you have the opportunity to take up a three-month internship. Here, you put the theory learned in the seminar room in to practice.

Full-time and part-time study

Choose to study this course full time or part time, to fit around your work and family life. Modules for the full-time course are listed below.

For details about the part-time course, contact Professor Dan Hough at

What will I study?

  • Module list

    Core modules

    Core modules are taken by all students on the course. They give you a solid grounding in your chosen subject and prepare you to explore the topics that interest you most.

    • Anti-Corruption

      15 credits
      Autumn Teaching, Year 1

      This module analyses the wide and diverse set of anti-corruption approaches, procedures, mechanisms and policies that have been developed by governments, international organisations and interest groups. It analyses the nexus between quality of governance and (un)successful anti-corruption strategies, and co-ordinates theoretical insight from a range of disciplines with a range of practical examples.

      You will learn to critically evaluate anti-corrption regimes, the polices they promote, and the motives that lie behind their creation. You will also learn to critically assess which type of anti-corruption regime is likely to be successful in which particular context.

    • Interdisciplinary Approaches to Analysing Corruption

      30 credits
      Autumn Teaching, Year 1

      The objective of this core module is to help you develop analytical and theoretical tools that will allow for the analysis of corruption across both time and space. We begin by analysing exactly what we understand ‘corrupt’ behaviour to be and how this appears to differ (often quite starkly) across national boundaries and over time. Do humans appear to be naturally corrupt? If so, does this matter? Is corrupt behaviour absolute and universal or does it depend on location and context? Indeed, can corruption sometimes even be a good thing? The module will have contributions from the political science, legal, anthropological, business and management and development studies disciplines.

      Armed with the analytical tools aimed at unpacking the complex phenomenon of corruption, we will examine specific examples of corruption across the developed and developing world, ranging from systematic abuses of power by parties and politicians to small-scale, almost trivial, petty misdemeanours. This analysis then provides a foundation for examining what reforms might contribute to lessening instances of political corruption in the western world and beyond.

    • Research Methods and Approaches

      15 credits
      Autumn Teaching, Year 1

      The module will cover the range of qualitative and quantitative methods in social science and will provide the skills to develop a research outline. It will equip you with the ability to come up with an interesting and workable research question and testable empirical hypotheses, an ability to select cases/sample and appropriate methods for analysis, a focus on how to find appropriate data sources and conduct data analysis (either quantitative or qualitative), and how to interpret the results in relation to the available literature.

    • Corruption and Governance Dissertation

      60 credits
      Summer Teaching, Year 1

      There is no formal teaching for the dissertation, but a series of workshops is organised to provide you with the necessary skills for researching and writing a long dissertation. Individual sessions with a supervisor are arranged throughout the Summer Term


    Alongside your core modules, you can choose options to broaden your horizons and tailor your course to your interests.

    • Corruption and Governance in International Business: Risks, Rules and Remedies

      30 credits
      Spring Teaching, Year 1

      This module is divided into three main parts, plus an introduction and conclusion.

      The introduction gives you an overview of types and patterns of corruption, both bribery in international business, state capture and facilitation payments - building on and recapping the session on the 'Interdisciplinary Approaches' module.

      In the first part of the module, you focus on specific sectors (one per week), such as:

      • defence
      • construction
      • pharmaceuticals
      • finance.

      In the second part of this module, you consider the legal environment and corporate responses.

      You begin with the theory of legislating against bribery, looking at Optimal Deterrence theory and the Klitgaard approach to anti-corruption.

      You are then introduced to the main Anti-Bribery Laws and conventions, covering FCPA/OECD ABC/Bribery Act. You analyse changing enforcement patterns and new developments, discuss exceptions such as facilitation payments, and then evaluate the main corporate responses to AB laws (compliance, risk assessment, corporate disclosure and reporting).

      This section includes a teaching case based on a recent enforcement.

      In the third part of this module, you focus on Voluntary Private Regulation and Collective Action Initiatives. You start by elaborating on the theory of collective action and clubs, before evaluating some key industry initiatives, with engagement from external speakers such as:

      • EITI
      • Maritime Anti-Corruption Network
      • PACI etc.
      • TI guiding principles etc.
    • Corruption and the Law

      30 credits
      Spring Teaching, Year 1

      You will examine the ways legal systems seek to control the problem of corruption and bribery.

      The module initially focuses on the regulation of bribery in domestic law, examining the Bribery Act 2010.

      It then examines the domestic law of other national jurisdictions before turning to consider the position under international law. It focuses on anti-corruption agreements including the United Nations Convention Against Corruption and the United Nations Convention Against Transnational Organised Crime.

    • International and Transnational Offending

      30 credits
      Spring Teaching, Year 1

      In order to assess the effectiveness of legal responses to offending that cross national boundaries, it is essential that you gain an insight into the phenomenon itself, rather than merely into the legal responses which we have examined in International and Transnational Offending. This module explores the nature and extent of both state and sub-state or individual offending. It includes such examples as the use of torture, war crimes, economic criminality, including illegal arms and drug dealing, corporate crime, computer and share frauds and organised crime and international crimes of violence.

    • International Crimes

      30 credits
      Spring Teaching, Year 1

      This module will focus on the four core crimes in international law, including genocide, crimes against humanity, war crimes and the crime of aggression. In each case we will highlight their development, application in international and domestic courts and matters of controversy in relation thereto, before examining other so-called quasi-international crimes including torture, hijacking, and terrorism.

    • Internship

      30 credits
      Spring Teaching, Year 1

      The internship option enables you to spend three months working on a project within an NGO, regulatory body, business or other suitable organisation that has an active interest in analysing and tackling corruption. You will be expected to spend a minimum of three and a maximum of four days per week working with the organisation. You will be expected to write a 5,000 word report based on what you did and how it links in to the theoretical analysis of corruption introduced in the term 1 modules.

    • The Politics of Governance in Central and Eastern Europe

      30 credits
      Spring Teaching, Year 1

      This module surveys the politics of Central and Eastern Europe since 1989 to the present by exploring the process of democratic transition and consolidation. It aims to identify the specific characteristics and features of post-communist politics in the newly democratic states of Central and Eastern Europe by studying examples within the analytical frameworks normally employed for the study of more established Western democracies. It also examines the particular challenges posed by the process of integrating post-communist states into Western political, economic and security structures.

Entry requirements

An upper second-class (2.1) undergraduate honours degree or above in a social science or humanities discipline.

English language requirements

Standard level (IELTS 6.5, with not less than 6.0 in each section)

Find out about other English language qualifications we accept.

English language support

Don’t have the English language level for your course? Find out more about our pre-sessional courses.

Additional information for international students

We welcome applications from all over the world. Find out about international qualifications suitable for our Masters courses.

Visas and immigration

Find out how to apply for a student visa

Fees and scholarships

How much does it cost?


Home: £7,700 per year

EU: £7,700 per year

Channel Islands and Isle of Man: £7,700 per year

Overseas: £15,100 per year

Note that your fees may be subject to an increase on an annual basis.

How can I fund my course?

Postgraduate Masters loans

Borrow up to £10,280 to contribute to your postgraduate study.

Find out more about Postgraduate Masters Loans


Our aim is to ensure that every student who wants to study with us is able to despite financial barriers, so that we continue to attract talented and unique individuals.

Chancellor’s Masters Scholarship (2017)

Open to students with a 1st class from a UK university or excellent grades from an EU university and offered a F/T place on a Sussex Masters in 2017

Application deadline:

1 August 2017

Find out more about the Chancellor’s Masters Scholarship

Lady Monica Cockfield Scholarship (2017)

Two full UK/EU fee waivers for students who hold an offer of a place on the MA in European Governance and Policy.

Application deadline:

31 July 2017

Find out more about the Lady Monica Cockfield Scholarship

Sussex Graduate Scholarship (2017)

Open to Sussex students who graduate with a first or upper second-class degree and offered a full-time place on a Sussex Masters course in 2017

Application deadline:

1 August 2017

Find out more about the Sussex Graduate Scholarship

Sussex India Scholarships (2017)

Sussex India Scholarships are worth £3,500 and are for overseas fee paying students from India commencing Masters study in September 2017.

Application deadline:

1 August 2017

Find out more about the Sussex India Scholarships

Sussex Malaysia Scholarships (2017)

Sussex Malaysia Scholarships are worth £3,500 and are for overseas fee paying students from Malaysia commencing Masters study in September 2017.

Application deadline:

1 August 2017

Find out more about the Sussex Malaysia Scholarships

Sussex Nigeria Scholarships (2017)

Sussex Nigeria Scholarships are worth £3,500 or £5,000 and are for overseas fee paying students from Nigeria commencing a Masters in September 2017.

Application deadline:

1 August 2017

Find out more about the Sussex Nigeria Scholarships

Sussex Pakistan Scholarships (2017)

Sussex Pakistan Scholarships are worth £3,500 and are for overseas fee paying students from Pakistan commencing Masters study in September 2017.

Application deadline:

1 August 2017

Find out more about the Sussex Pakistan Scholarships

How Masters scholarships make studying more affordable

Living costs

Find out typical living costs for studying at Sussex.


Meet the people teaching and supervising on your course.

  • Faculty profiles

    Ms Liljana Cvetanoska
    Teaching Fellow in Corruption, Law and Governance

    View profile

    Dr Elizabeth David-Barrett
    Senior Lecturer in Politics

    Research interests: Anti-corruption, Balkans, british politics, Corruption, International aid, International business, International Development, lobbying, Parliament, public policy, Public Procurement

    View profile

    Dr Rekha Diwakar
    Lecturer in Politics

    Research interests: comparative politics, electoral politics, Indian politics and public policy, party politics, Politics, Research methods in political science

    View profile

    Dr Shahrzad Fouladvand
    Lecturer in International Criminal Law

    Research interests: Anti-corruption, complementarity Regime of the International Criminal Court, human trafficking, international criminal court, Islamic Studies, Modern slavery, organised crime, Persian/Arab Gulf GCC countries

    View profile

    Dr Olli Hellmann
    Senior Lecturer in Politics

    Research interests: Corruption, democratisation, electoral politics, party politics, State building

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    Prof Dan Hough
    Professor of Politics

    Research interests: Corruption, Devolution, Germany, Political Parties, The GDR/east Germany

    View profile

    Dr Michael Kearney
    Senior Lecturer

    Research interests: accountability, anarchism, apartheid, capitalism, Colonialism, cover up, fact-finding missions, Human Rights, incitement, international criminal court, International Criminal Law, jurisdiction, lawfare, middle east, palestine, propaganda for war, Public international law, responsibility, statehood, Transitional justice, war crimes

    View profile

    Dr Colin King
    Senior Lecturer

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    Mr Francis Mcgowan
    Senior Lecturer in Politics

    Research interests: Energy, EU Policy, Regulatory Politics

    View profile

    Prof Aleks Szczerbiak
    Professor of Politics & Contemporary European Studies

    Research interests: East European politics, Euroscepticism, party politics, Poland, Transitional justice

    View profile

    Prof Richard Vogler
    Professor of Comparative Criminal Law &Criminal Justice

    Research interests: Comparative Law, Criminal justice reform, Criminal law and criminal justice, Criminal Law And Criminology

    View profile

    Prof Paul Webb
    Professor of Politics

    Research interests: British party politics, democracy, Political participation, Voting & elections

    View profile


Our MA equips you with the skills for a career in a wide variety of fields. You are particularly well placed to work:

  • at the interface between the private and public sectors
  • in the area of public policy-making
  • the Civil Service and business
  • in areas of corporate social responsibility – an area of growing importance for many national and international companies.

Development and a wide variety of NGOs and charities are also options. The skills you develop are highly valued in journalism, including a fine eye for what is and is not acceptable government and business practice.

The optional internship helps you to develop and apply a range of practical skills prospective employers find attractive.

Find out more about our alumni

Graduate destinations

89% of students from the Department of Politics were in work or further study six months after graduating. Our Corruption and Governance MA graduates have gone on to jobs including:

  • project coordinator, Fundacion Poder Ciudadano, Argentina
  • security manager, Brighton and Hove City Council
  • investigations officer, Anti Corruption Commission, Zambia.

(EPI, Destinations of Leavers from Higher Education Survey 2015 for postgraduates and Corruption and Governance database)

Working while you study

Our Careers and Employability Centre can help you find part-time work while you study. Find out more about career development and part-time work

Contact us