Social sciences

  • 10 of 12 subjects we submitted ranked in the top 15 nationally in the 2008 Research Assessment Exercise (RAE)
  • internationally ranked policy think-tanks with strong links to Government and the NGO sector
  • interdisciplinary and internationally focused research degrees at the heart of the social sciences
  • one of the largest centres of social sciences doctoral training in the UK

Research in the social sciences at Sussex covers all the major social sciences disciplines, and a number of specialist interdisciplinary areas in which Sussex has an international reputation, including childhood and youth studies, conflict and security, European studies, gender studies, global health, human rights, international development, international education, migration studies, and science and technology policy research.

In the 2008 RAE, research produced by over 130 social sciences staff was judged to be internationally excellent or world leading.


Professor Dan Hough, Director of the Sussex Centre for the Study of Corruption and Professor of Politics, is leading research (funded by the British Academy) to examine where corruption thrives.Securing social justice

Empowering citizens to challenge the corrupt practices of their leaders should be a fundamental part of democratic politics. 

Professor Dan Hough, Director of the Sussex Centre for the Study of Corruption and Professor of Politics, is leading research (funded by the British Academy) to examine where corruption thrives, and which measures are most effective at minimising corruption within different cultures and governance structures. 

Sussex’s multidisciplinary, international scope puts the Centre in a unique position to offer up some answers as to what corruption is, where and why it flourishes and also what (most importantly) can be done to counteract it. 

Sussex hosts a prestigious Economic and Social Research Council Doctoral Training Centre, one of only 21 in the country. All postgraduate research degrees are underpinned by our commitment to provide the highest-quality research training, informed by cutting-edge research, and taught by established academic staff whose work is internationally recognised in their field.

Research training draws on established research-led Masters degrees, a number of which are recognised as research training pathways into doctoral research.

Sussex research in the social sciences is particularly recognised for its high level of impact in policy fields. This is reflected in a high degree of interaction with UK Government departments and international organisations in these fields, including two major research centres funded by the Department for International Development on migration and poverty, and access to education. We also host the ESRC Social, Technological and Environmental Pathways to Sustainability (STEPS) Centre.

The University is home to SPRU – Science and Technology Policy Research, which was ranked 2nd science and policy think tank in the UK and 11th in the world (University of Pennsylvania: Global Go-To Think-Tanks Report 2012). 

The Institute of Development Studies (IDS), which is also housed on the Sussex campus, was ranked 1st university-affiliated think tank in the UK and 3rd in the world (University of Pennsylvania: Global Go To Think Tanks Report 2012). IDS is also housed on the Sussex campus.