4 years full time, 6 years part time
Choose to start in September 2017, January 2018 or May 2018

American History

Our faculty are experts in their fields and active on both sides of the Atlantic. This means you’ll be guided and supervised through your research project by leading practitioners.


Areas of study

We welcome research applications focusing on the social and political history of the United States. Much of our research focuses on:

  • US race relations from slavery to civil rights, the Black Power movement and Black Lives Matter
  • the Cold War and transnationalism after World War II
  • transnational race relations
  • the Civil War era
  • the history of American racial violence.

PhD or MPhil?

You can choose to study for a PhD or an MPhil. PhD and MPhil degrees differ in the length of the course and therefore in the extent of the research work you can undertake and incorporate in your thesis.

  • An MPhil typically takes three years full time and four years part time. You’ll conduct an independent piece of research but in less depth than for a PhD. You will graduate with the degree title Master of Philosophy.
  • A PhD typically takes four years full time and six years part time. You will undertake a piece of research that makes a substantial original contribution to knowledge or understanding in your chosen field.

If you choose an MPhil, you might be able to change to a PhD during the course of your studies.

How to apply

If you’d like to join us as a research student, there are two main routes:

Find out how to apply for a PhD at Sussex

Full-time and part-time study

Choose to work on your research full time or part time, to fit around your work and family life. For details about part-time study, contact Research and Enterprise Co-ordinator Fiona Allan at


Explore our research interests and find a potential supervisor.

  • Faculty profiles

    Dr Anne-Marie Angelo
    Lecturer In American History

    Research interests: African American history, African diasporas, American History, Archives, black British history, Black Power, Cultural History, history and theory, history of creativity, Memory, Middle East and North Africa, Migration, Photography History, Theory and Practice, Post-Colonial Studies, race and ethnicity in global perspective, Television History, Theory and Criticism, Transnational history

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    Prof Stephen Burman
    Professor of American Politics & History

    Research interests: International Studies & Relations

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    Dr Natalia Cecire
    Lecturer in English & American Literature

    Research interests: American Studies, English and American literature, Feminist theory, History and Philosophy of Science, Modern and contemporary American poetry

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    Prof Robert Cook
    Professor of American History

    Research interests: History, Political History

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    Dr Sue Currell
    Reader in American Literature

    Research interests: American History, American Studies, Cultural History, English and American literature, Twentieth Century Literature

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    Dr Tom Davies
    Lecturer in American History

    Research interests: 'race' and class, African American history, American History, American Studies, History

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    Prof Richard Follett
    Professor Of American History

    Research interests: American History, Atlantic History, Brazilian Football, Caribbean History, Emancipation, Historical Demography, Latin America, Plantation Societies, Public Health (Eighteenth & Nineteenth Centuries), Race Relations, Slavery, Sugar

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    Dr Doug Haynes
    Senior Lecturer in American Literature and Visual Culture

    Research interests: Affect Theory, American Modernism, American Visual Art, Critical Theory, Economic Theory, Fictions of Threat, Ideas of pornography, Ideas of security, Marxism, Modern and contemporary American literature, Postmodern Literature, Psychic phenomena as types of literature, Thomas Pynchon

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    Dr Michael Jonik
    Lecturer in English and American Literature

    Research interests: African American literature and culture, American Philosophy, American Studies, Continental Philosophy, Critical Theory, Critical Theory and Marxism, Deleuze, Early American Literature, Emerson, English and American literature, Foucault, Henry James, History of science, Intellectual History, Melville, Nineteenth-Century American Literature, psychoanalysis, systems theory, Systems Theory; Control, The Transatlantic Enlightenment, Theory of mind, Thoreau

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    Prof Daniel Kane
    Professor of American Literature and Culture

    Research interests: Modern and contemporary American poetry, Popular Music, US cinema and popular culture

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    Prof Maria Lauret
    Professor of American Literature and Culture

    Research interests: 20th C Americanisation in the US, African American literature and culture, Alice Walker, American feminism, American immigrant literature, American immigration, Bharati Mukherjee, Junot Diaz, multilingual literature, Richard Rodriguez

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    Dr Melissa Milewski
    Lecturer in American History

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    Dr Katharina Rietzler
    Lecturer in American History

    Research interests: 20th C history, American History, charity & philanthropy, Diplomacy & International Relations, History of international law, history of the social sciences, history of think tanks and expertise, International History, International Organization, International theory, Liberal internationalism, Postcolonial/Decolonial theory, Transnational history

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    Prof Clive Webb
    Professor Of Modern American History

    Research interests: Anglo-American relations, Political violence, race and ethnicity

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    Dr Tom Wright
    Senior Lecturer in English

    Research interests: American History, American Studies, Cultural History, English and American literature, Media & Communication Studies, Multimedia - sound, Nineteenth century literature and culture, Victorian literature

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Entry requirements

A Masters degree in a subject relevant to your chosen area of research.

For advice on research supervision, explore our faculty research interests and contact us .

English language requirements

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 PhD degrees.

Visas and immigration

Find out how to apply for a student visa

Scholarships and fees

How can I fund my course?

Postgraduate Masters Loan

MPhil students might be eligible for a Postgraduate Masters Loan. This is not available for students registering for a PhD.


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.

Part-time work

We advertise around 2,500 part-time jobs a year so you can make money and gain work experience. We have a special scheme to employ students on campus, wherever possible.

Find out more about careers and employability

How much does it cost?

Fees for self-funding students

Home: £4,195 per year

EU: £4,195 per year

Channel Islands and Isle of Man: £4,195 per year

Overseas: £15,100 per year

Our fees follow the indicative fee level set nationally by Research Council UK and may be subject to change.

Contact us