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

Cultural Studies

Cultural Studies engages critically with the study of everyday life – with the ‘deep ordinariness’ of the world. 

Studying cultural consumption, popular culture, multicultures, cultural values and the radicalism or conservatism of cultural politics involves thinking about culture as it is felt and lived. Cultural Studies at Sussex can be researched using a humanities (textual) approach or social scientific (empirical) methods, or a combination of both.

The Sussex Centre for Cultural Studies is the largest research centre at the University, with workshops, conferences and events with leading external speakers – all of which you’re welcome to attend. Our leading scholars apply innovative methods and cutting-edge approaches to culture, power and agency. Projects can be co-supervised by faculty in another school as appropriate.


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


Supervision in this subject area is offered in the School of Media, Film and Music, and also in interdisciplinary teams across different departments and schools.

We welcome research proposals in areas such as:

  • cultural citizenship, values and beliefs
  • somatic cultures, visual culture and senses
  • affect, emotion and feeling
  • cultural production and consumption
  • everyday life and life histories
  • popular culture
  • cultural identities, subcultures, multiculture, cosmopolitanism
  • cultural protest and resistance
  • cultural practises of religion and spirituality
  • digital culture
  • cultural practices of race/ethniticy, class, gender/sexuality and other social formations of identity.
  • Faculty profiles

    Prof Caroline Bassett
    Professor Of Media And Communications

    Research interests: Critical Digital Humanities, Critical Theory, cultural and media policies, Design of public spaces, Digital Humanities, digital media, media history and theory, media technology and innovation, Sexual and gendered subjectivities, Socio-cultural impact of new media, sociology of expertise

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    Prof David Berry
    Professor of Digital Humanities

    Research interests: Algorithms, Code, Computation, Critical Digital Humanities, Critical Reason, Critical Theory, Digital Humanities, History of the University, Philosophy, Political economy, Post-digital, postdigital, Social and political theory, Software Studies, University

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    Prof Michael Bull
    Professor Of Sound Studies

    Research interests: Sensory experience and methodologies

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    Dr Simidele Dosekun
    Lecturer in Media and Cultural Studies

    Research interests: Africa, Consumer studies, Feminist theory, gender, popular culture, race and ethnicity in global perspective, representation

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    Dr Katherine Farrimond
    Lecturer in Media and Cultural Studies

    Research interests: crime fictions, cultural studies, Feminist theory, Film, film noir, Gender and Sexuality, genre, girlhood, Gothic, horror, Media, Nostalgia, popular culture, representation, retro and vintage, science fiction, television, The body, virginity

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    Dr Beatrice Fazi
    Research Fellow in Digital Humanities & Computational Culture

    Research interests: Abstraction, Aesthetics, Automation, Computation, Continental Philosophy, Critical Digital Humanities, Critical Theory, Cultural Theory, Deleuze, Digital Culture, Digital Theory, Incomputability, Indeterminacy, Media Philosophy, media theory, Philosophy of Cognitive Science, Software Studies, Turing, Whitehead

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    Prof David Hendy
    Professor of Media and Cultural History

    Research interests: BBC, Broadcasting History, Cultural History, history of emotion, History of sound, media history and theory, Modern British history, oral history, social and cultural history, Television History, Theory and Criticism, Transnational history

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    Prof Ben Highmore
    Professor of Cultural Studies

    Research interests: Art History, Cultural History, Everyday Life, Literary And Cultural Theory, Mood

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    Dr Malcolm James
    Senior Lecturer in Media and Cultural Studies

    Research interests: childhood and youth, cultural studies, diaspora race/ethnicity, ethnography, participant methods, postcolonial studies, Race and colonialism, race and ethnicity, Sound studies, urban culture

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    Dr Margaretta Jolly
    Reader in Cultural Studies

    Research interests: Creative and critical writing, Cultural and Creative Industries, cultural studies, Everyday Life, Feminist theory, genre, history of feminism, letters and diaries, Life writing, Mass Observation, oral history, Self-identity, self-narratives, women's liberation

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    Prof Tim Jordan
    Professor of Digital Cultures

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    Prof Kate Lacey
    Professor of Media History & Theory

    Research interests: 20th C German History, Broadcasting History, Gender Studies, History of sound, Listening, media history, media theory, Public sphere theory, Radio Studies, Role of the media in processes of democratisation, Sound studies

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    Dr Eleftheria Lekakis
    Senior Lecturer In Media & Communication

    Research interests: civic engagement, consumer activism, cultural politics, Digital Culture, digital media, global communication, Humanitarianism, media activism, media sociology, Nationalism, political communication, political consumerism, promotional cultures

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    Dr Sarah Maltby
    Senior Lecturer In Media & Communication

    Research interests: cultural memory, Media & Communication Studies, media and war, memory and war, Military, Sociology

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    Mr Andy Medhurst
    Senior Lecturer in Media, Film & Cultural Studies

    Research interests: Genre of comedy

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    Dr Monika Metykova
    Senior Lecturer in Media Communications/Journalism Studies

    Research interests: cultural and media policies, Journalism, media and democracy, media and diversity, media and migration, political economy of media

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    Dr Sharif Mowlabocus
    Senior Lecturer Of Media Studies/DigitalMedia

    Research interests: 'race' and class, Critical Digital Humanities, Digital Culture, digital embodiment, digital media, E-Health, Embodiment and Technologies, Gay & Lesbian Studies, Gender and Sexuality, Human Touch for ICT, Ideas of pornography, M-Health, Media & Communication Studies, Mobile Apps, Pornography, Queer and Transgender Representation, Queer Theory, representation

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    Prof Sally Munt
    Professor of Cultural/Gender Studies

    Research interests: 'race' and class, Alternative Spiritualities/New Religious Movements, cultural geography and space, cultural studies, Culture and Identity Rights, Everyday Life, Gender and Sexuality, history of emotion, Mental Health and Well-Being

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    Prof Kate O'Riordan
    Professor of Digital Culture

    Research interests: Biodigital Life, Bioinformatics, Critical Digital Humanities, Digital Arts History, Theory and Practice, Digital Culture, digital media, Feminist and qualitative research methods, Feminist theory, Genomics, Media & Communication Studies, Post-digital, Queer studies, Research Ethics, Science Studies

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    Dr Niall Richardson
    Senior Lecturer

    Research interests: body image in film and media, disability and human rights, Queer studies, representation of gender and sexuality in film and popular culture, Transgender politics and representation

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    Dr Pollyanna Ruiz
    Senior Lecturer

    Research interests: Cultural Theory, Digital Culture, Protest, Public Spaces, Public sphere theory, Social networking

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    Prof Lyn Thomas
    Professor Of Cultural Studies

    Research interests: 'Suspect communities' in the British press, Annie Ernaux, contemporary French literature, cultural studies, French feminisms, Life writing, lifestyle television, memoir, religion and media, The Archers

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    Dr Robert Topinka
    Lecturer in Media and Cultural Studies

    Research interests: Critical Digital Humanities, Critical Theory, Everyday Life, Media Archaeology, Race, Race and colonialism, rhetoric, Technology and society, urban culture, urban history, visual culture

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    Ms Janice Winship
    Reader in Media & Film Studies

    Research interests: Film-based media

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Entry requirements

Normally a Masters degree with a Merit or equivalent in a subject relevant to your chosen area of research.

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