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

Contemporary History

The Mass Observation Archive and digital resources such as Observing the 80s, combined with easy access to the British Library and The National Archives in London, make Sussex an excellent choice for exploring a wealth of source material for your research project.

We welcome research proposals in all aspects of contemporary history, with particular emphasis on diaries and life-writing materials, and the lives of non-elite people.


Areas of study

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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    Dr Hester Barron
    Senior Lecturer in History

    Research interests: childhood, class, coal mining, Education, History, labour, parenting, Politics, Second World War, society, twentieth century

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    Prof Robert Cook
    Professor of American History

    Research interests: History, Political History

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    Dr Vinita Damodaran
    Professor of South Asian History

    Research interests: Climate change, Energy, environmental history, Global history, indigenous peoples, Mining, South Asian history

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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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    Dr Jim Endersby
    Reader In The History Of Science

    Research interests: charles darwin, darwinism, history and sociology of experimental organisms, history of botany, history of evolution, history of genetics, History of Science/Medicine/Technology, history of taxonomy and classification, History of the 19th and 20th-century life sciences, Hugo de Vries, Joseph Dalton Hooker, Oenothera Lamarckiana, science fiction, The Mutation Theory

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    Prof Martin Evans
    Professor Of Modern European History

    Research interests: European 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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    Prof Martin Francis
    Professor of War and History

    Research interests: Comparative History, Empire, Feature Film, gender, Male and Female Fashion, Modern British history, Second World War

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    Prof Ian Gazeley
    Professor of Economic History

    Research interests: Food Consumption, Household Budgets, Living Standards, Nutrition, Poverty and inequality, Skill Differentials, Wages

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    Prof Tim Hitchcock
    Professor Of Digital History

    Research interests: Cultural History, Digital history, Digital Humanities, Economic And Social History, Gender and Sexuality, History of London, oral history, Social exclusion

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    Dr Hilary Kalmbach
    Lecturer in Middle East History

    Research interests: Cosmopolitanism, Cross-cultural interactions, Cultural History, Digital history, Egypt, Gender and Sexuality, Global history, Global Islam, History, History of Gender, Islam, Islamic Studies, Middle East and African history, Middle Eastern and African Studies, Religious History, Syria

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    Prof Claire Langhamer
    Professor Of Modern British History

    Research interests: history of emotion, history of love, Modern British history, social and cultural history

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    Dr Maurizio Marinelli
    Senior Lecturer In East Asian History

    Research interests: Beijing, Chinese History, Chinese Politics, ecological civilisation, Europe and China relations, Global history, Hong Kong, Intellectual History, Tianjin, Urban China, Urban geography

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    Dr Iain McDaniel
    Senior Lecturer In Intellectual History

    Research interests: Caesarism, democracy, Eighteenth-Century History, History of Political Thought, Intellectual History, Nineteenth-Century History, Republicanism, Scottish Enlightenment

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    Dr Jacob Norris
    Lecturer in Middle East History

    Research interests: Global history, Imperial/Colonial History, Middle East and African history, migration studies, palestinian history

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    Dr Gideon Reuveni
    Reader in History/Director of the Centrefor German Jewish Studies

    Research interests: Judaism

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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 Lucy Robinson
    Professor in Collaborative History

    Research interests: Alternative Spiritualities/New Religious Movements, British party politics, Cultural History, Digital history, Economic And Social History, Gender and Sexuality, Memory, pedagogy, Popular Music, Social identities, Trauma, War and the media, War Studies, Youth

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    Dr Darrow Schecter
    Professor of Critical Theory and Modern European History

    Research interests: Critical Theory, critique of instrumental reason, Foucault, Gramsci, legitimacy, Libertarian socialism, Pasolini, systems theory

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    Mr Gerardo Serra
    Lecturer in Economic History

    Research interests: African Economic HIstory, History of Economic Thought

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    Dr Claudia Siebrecht
    Senior Lecturer in History

    Research interests: History

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    Prof David Tal
    Yossi Harel Chair In Modern Israel Studies

    Research interests: arms control, disarmament, Israel-Palestine, Political History

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    Dr Christopher Warne
    Senior Lecturer

    Research interests: Cultural History, European history, Everyday Life, Youth

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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 Gerhard Wolf
    Senior Lecturer In History

    Research interests: German history, Migration, War and violence in international politics

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Entry requirements

A Masters degree in history or a related discipline.

English language requirements

IELTS 6.5 overall, 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