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

Biology

Situated in the Brighton and Lewes Downs UNESCO Biosphere Reserve, surrounded by the South Downs National Park, and close to Brighton and the coast, you’ll find yourself in the perfect location for a research project in biology.

From animal behaviour to molecular evolution, you work in field and laboratory settings, guided and supervised by our expert faculty.

 

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 lifesci@sussex.ac.uk

Faculty

Explore our research interests and find a potential supervisor.

  • Evolution, Behaviour and Environment faculty

    Prof Jonathan Bacon
    Professor of Neuroscience
    J.P.Bacon@sussex.ac.uk

    Research interests: ant navigation, Drosophila, neural circuits, social arthropods

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    Prof Daniel Colaco Osorio
    Professor of Neuroscience
    D.Osorio@sussex.ac.uk

    Research interests: bird, cephalopod, colour, cuttlefish, evolution, neuroethology, physiology, Vision

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    Prof Thomas Collett
    Emeritus Professor
    T.S.Collett@sussex.ac.uk

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    Prof Adam Eyre-Walker
    Professor of Biology
    A.C.Eyre-Walker@sussex.ac.uk

    Research interests: Mitochondria, Mutation, Population genetics, Transposable elements

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    Prof Jeremy Field

    jf94@sussex.ac.uk

    Research interests: Behavioural Ecology, cooperative breeding, evolution of sociality, Evolutionary biology, parental care, primitively eusocial wasps and bees, social dominance hierarchies

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    Prof Tim Flowers
    Professor of Plant Physiology
    T.J.Flowers@sussex.ac.uk

    Research interests: halophytes, ion transport, Plant physiology, salinity, salt-tolerant plants

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    Dr Bonnie Fraser
    Lecturer in Biology
    B.Fraser@sussex.ac.uk

    Research interests: Adaptation, Evolutionary biology, fish, Genomics, Population genetics

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    Prof Dave Goulson
    Professor Of Biology
    D.Goulson@sussex.ac.uk

    Research interests: Animal behaviour, Animal ecology, Behavioural Ecology, Biodiversity, Conservation Ecology, Insecticides, Pollination

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    Dr Paul Graham
    Reader
    P.R.Graham@sussex.ac.uk

    Research interests: Animal behaviour, Learning, Memory, navigation, neuroethology, social insect biology, Vision

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    Prof Elizabeth Hill
    Emeritus Professor
    E.M.Hill@sussex.ac.uk

    Research interests: chemical contaminants, fish, human health, Metabolomics, Pollution, urinary biomarkers of disease

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    Prof William Hughes
    Professor of Evolutionary Biology
    William.Hughes@sussex.ac.uk

    Research interests: Animal behaviour, Behavioural Ecology, biology and conservation of apex predators, causes and consequences of 'animal personalities', conservation biology, disease ecology and evolution, evolution of sociality and symbiosis, Evolutionary biology, host-symbiont interactions and evolution, lions, pollinator conservation, social insect biology, white sharks

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    Dr Ted Morrow
    Senior Research Fellow
    Ted.Morrow@sussex.ac.uk

    Research interests: Drosophila, Evolutionary biology, Evolutionary genetics, Evolutionary Medicine, Gene expression, Sexual antagonism, Sexual conflict, Sexual selection

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    Dr Jeremy Niven
    Senior Lecturer in Zoology
    J.E.Niven@sussex.ac.uk

    Research interests: Animal behaviour, Behaviour and Energy Efficiency, Behavioural choice, Behavioural Neuroscience, Computational Neuroscience, Evolutionary biology, neuroethology, Sensor Integration, Sensory receptors, Systems neuroscience

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    Dr Mika Peck
    Senior Lecturer in Biology
    M.R.Peck@sussex.ac.uk

    Research interests: ecology and conservation of biodiversity hotspots, impacts of global change, primate behaviour, primate conservation, REDD++, spider monkeys, tropical rainforest ecology

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    Prof Francis Ratnieks
    Professor of Apiculture
    F.Ratnieks@sussex.ac.uk

    Research interests: Animal behaviour, beekeeping, Behavioural Ecology, honey bee, Insects, Social evolution, social insects

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    Dr Christopher Sandom
    Lecturer in Biology
    C.Sandom@sussex.ac.uk

    Research interests: Applied ecology, Community Ecology, conservation biology, Ecoinformatics, Ecological assessment, Ecosystem Services, Palaeoecology and palaeozoology, Rewilding

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    Prof Jorn Scharlemann
    Professor of Conservation Science
    J.Scharlemann@sussex.ac.uk

    Research interests: agriculture and conservation, Applied ecology, Biodiversity, Conservation, Conservation Science, Environmental modelling, Environmental policy, Environmental Statistics, GIS Mapping, Remote Sensing & Earth Observation, Sustainability: Environmental

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    Dr Alan Stewart
    Senior Lecturer in Ecology
    A.J.A.Stewart@sussex.ac.uk

    Research interests: Community Ecology, Conservation Ecology, Conservation Science, Ecology, biodiversity and systematics, Entomology, Insects

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Entry requirements

A first- or upper second-class undergraduate honours degree in a subject relevant to your chosen area of research.

If you are a non-EEA or Swiss national you must obtain clearance by the UK Government Academic Technology Approval Scheme (ATAS) for this degree. Please ensure you allow sufficient time for your University application to be processed in time for you to apply for ATAS clearance (and a Tier 4 Student Visa if appropriate). Find out more about ATAS.

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.

Scholarships

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: £18,750 per year

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