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

Contemporary European Studies

Work with us to produce internationally excellent research that benefits both policy practitioners and the academic community – and contribute to the political, economic and social wellbeing of Europe.

The Sussex European Institute is one of the leading centres for research on contemporary European studies.

You’ll benefit from our large network of researchers and practitioners who supervise doctoral research and collaborate with us on various projects.


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 us at


Explore our research interests and find a potential supervisor.

  • Faculty profiles

    Prof Claire Annesley
    Head of Department

    Research interests: comparative politics, executives, gender equality, political representation, public policy

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    Dr Sabina Avdagic
    Senior Lecturer

    Research interests: comparative politics, Labour economics, Labour relations, Political economy, public policy, Research design and methodology, social welfare reform

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    Dr Susan Collard
    Senior Lecturer in French Politics & Contemporary European Studies

    Research interests: History

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    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

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    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

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    Dr James Hampshire
    Reader in Politics

    Research interests: british politics, citizenship, comparative politics, european union, governance, Immigration, immigration policy, liberalism, Migration, political theory, Politics of asylum and migration, race and racism

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    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

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    Prof Alan Mayhew
    Jean Monnet Professor & Honorary Research Professor

    Research interests: Wider Europe research programme

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    Mr Francis Mcgowan
    Senior Lecturer in Politics

    Research interests: Energy, EU Policy, Regulatory Politics

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    Prof Susan Millns
    Professor of Law

    Research interests: citizenship, Comparative Law, Constitutional Law, European Union Law, Feminist Legal Studies, Human Rights

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    Dr Kai Oppermann
    Reader in Politics

    Research interests: British Foreign Policy, Foreign Policy Analysis, German Foreign Policy, Referendums in European integration

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    Dr Emily Robinson
    Senior Lecturer in Politics

    Research interests: British party politics, Memory, Modern British history, Nostalgia, Political identities, Progressivism, Temporality

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    Prof Jim Rollo
    Emeritus Professor

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    Prof Paul Statham
    Professor of Migration

    Research interests: ageing care and migration, Comparative Studies, Domestic Politics of European Integration, Immigration, Islam, Media & Communication Studies, Multiculturalism, Public sphere theory, Social movements, Sociology

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    Prof Aleks Szczerbiak
    Professor of Politics & Contemporary European Studies

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

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    Prof Paul Taggart
    Professor of Politics

    Research interests: Domestic Politics of European Integration, Euroscepticism, Political Parties, Populism

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    Dr Adrian Treacher
    Lecturer in European Studies

    Research interests: International security

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    Prof Paul Webb
    Professor of Politics

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

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Entry requirements

A Masters degree in any relevant social science, but applicants with other backgrounds may be considered. Applicants should submit an outline research proposal indicating the nature, ambition and primary questions of the research project.

Research training

If you’re applying for ESRC funding, you might need to do a Masters first. Find out about our Social Research Methods MSc.

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.