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

Gender Studies (Humanities)

Sussex has a long-established reputation for research excellence in the broad field of gender studies. From trans-activism to pro-anorexia websites and from LGBTQ family-making to homonationalism – our postgraduate students are engaged in cutting-edge research.


Areas of study

On the humanities route in Gender Studies, you have the opportunity to explore cultural, social and political approaches to the field. Our expert faculty offer guidance and supervision for a wide range of research projects, including:

  • identities and subcultures
  • the cultural politics of representation
  • cultural geographies
  • digital media 
  • LGBT and queer studies
  • gender and cultural forms.

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


Our faculty have been instrumental in shaping and developing the field of Gender Studies research. Collectively, we offer supervision across a wide range of themes, using a variety of approaches and methodologies. Listed below are just some of our current research interests.

  • Gender activism, gender politics

    Our scholars map women’s and LGBTQ movements both historically and in the contemporary context, in this country and abroad. A number of faculty also work on current ‘hot topic’ areas such as abortion, trans issues, sex work and sexual violence, and many engage in grassroots activism themselves. 

    Prof Andrea Cornwall
    Professor of Anthropology and International Development

    Research interests: Brazil, democratisation, Empowerment, gender and development, Gender and Sexuality, Nigeria, participation, public engagement, Public health

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    Dr Emile Devereaux
    Senior Lecturer In Digital Media

    Research interests: Critical Gender Studies, Digital Art & Design, Digital Cartography, Digital Culture, Interaction design, media history and theory, Tactical Media, Visual Studies

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    Prof Beate Jahn
    Professor of International Relations

    Research interests: Liberal internationalism

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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 Alison Phipps
    Professor of Gender Studies

    Research interests: Feminist theory, Gender and Sexuality, higher education, Laddism, neoliberalism, political sociology, Rape, Reproductive Justice, Sex industry, Sex work, Sexual harassment, sexual violence

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    Prof Cynthia Weber
    Professor of International Relations

    Research interests: American Studies, citizenship, Critical Gender Studies, Feminist International Relations, Film and International Relations, Intervention, Poststructuralist International Relations, Queer International Relations, Sovereignty

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  • Gender and culture

    Gender research at Sussex includes all aspects of culture and everyday life – art, literature, film, social and digital media, representation and narrative, high culture and popular culture, the institutional level and the micropolitics of the everyday, including the ordinary and the extraordinary. Gender infuses all aspects of human communication and this is reflected in our work. 

    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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    Dr Denise Decaires Narain
    Senior Lecturer in English

    Research interests: Caribbean women's writing

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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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    Prof Liz James
    Professor of History of Art

    Research interests: Byzantine art, Byzantine culture and society, colour, gender, mosaics, sensory perceptions

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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 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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    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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    Prof Vicky Lebeau
    Professor of English

    Research interests: cinema and childhood, image and text, NHS in literature and culture, psychoanalysis

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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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    Prof Sue Thornham
    Professor of Media & Film Studies

    Research interests: Cultural Theory, Feminist theory, Film History, Theory and Criticism, Gender Studies

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    Ms Janice Winship
    Reader in Media & Film Studies

    Research interests: Film-based media

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  • Gender, society and the state

    We work on issues to do with the social relations of gender. Our interests range from how gendered norms and values shape everyday life to the gendering of state institutions, policies and legislation. We focus on social policy issues such as education, reproduction and violence, in national and international contexts. 

    Dr Ben Fincham
    Senior Lecturer

    Research interests: Cycling, death, employment, fun, Gender and Sexuality, Happiness, masculinity, mobilities, suicide, Work

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    Dr Tamsin Hinton-Smith
    Senior Lecturer In Higher Education

    Research interests: Feminist and qualitative research methods, Feminist theory, Gender Studies, higher education, Sociology of Education, Widening participation

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    Dr Pamela Kea
    Senior Lecturer In Anthropology

    Research interests: Anthropology of West Africa, Asylum and FGM, childhood and youth, Decolonial critique and the arts, Feminist theory, gender, Home-making practices, Intimacy and transnational kinship relations, Migration and Mobility, Postcolonial/Decolonial theory, race and ethnicity, The aesthetics of migration, The household moral economy, Transnational networks and subjectivities, Visual and Material Culture

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    Dr Hannah Mason-Bish
    Lecturer In Sociology And Criminology

    Research interests: disability, gender, hate crime, Social constructionism, victims

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    Prof Filippo Osella
    Professor Of Anthropology And South Asian Studies

    Research interests: anthropology of gender and masculinity, anthropology of Islam and Hinduism, anthropology of migration, anthropology of South Asia, anthropology of trade and entrepreneurship, charity & philanthropy, Economic anthropology, India, Pakistan, Persian/Arab Gulf GCC countries, Sri Lanka

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    Dr Lizzie Seal
    Senior Lecturer in Sociology/Criminology

    Research interests: Criminology, Cultural History, gender, Violence

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  • International/global feminisms

    Our faculty conducts research in many countries, and we have a number of anthropologists who engage in ethnographic fieldwork all over the world. We benefit from the opportunity to interrogate our assumptions – and our feminisms – through crosscultural comparisons and a diversity of theories and politics. 

    Prof Jane Cowan
    Professor of Social Anthropology

    Research interests: anthropology of gender and masculinity, Balkans, Dance Performance, Diplomacy & International Relations, Ethnography And Anthropology, Feminist theory, Gender and Sexuality, Greece, Human Rights, International Organization, Minority Rights, Social and political theory, Social anthropology

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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 Anne-Meike Fechter
    Reader in Anthropology

    Research interests: Aid, Aid Workers, Cambodia, childhood and youth, Development, Expatriates, gender, Indonesia, Migration, Mobility, Morality and Ethics, southeast asia, Transnationalism

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    Prof Elizabeth Harrison
    Professor of Anthropology and International Development

    Research interests: Anthropology and ethnography, Anti-corruption, community, gender, International Development, Irrigation, Moralities, Natural Resource Management, Participation and engagement, Political anthropology, Sub-Saharan Africa, United Kingdom

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    Prof Maya Unnithan
    Professor Of Social And Medical Anthropology

    Research interests: caste and kinship, childbirth and infertility, gender and development, health and migration, human rights and reproductive health, maternal health inequalities, reproductive technologies, Social anthropology

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  • LGBT and queer studies

    Sussex has the largest concentration of queer studies scholars in Europe. We are a key hub for research in gender and sexuality and queer theory. Our faculty work on many cutting-edge funded projects. Our proximity to Brighton provides many opportunities for you to explore LGBTQ culture in Brighton and in London. 

    Dr Michael Lawrence

    Research interests: Adaptation, animals and media, Bollywood, children and film, indian cinema, Stars and performance

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

    Research interests: Genre of comedy

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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 Vincent Quinn

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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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Entry requirements

A Masters degree in a subject relevant to your research. Applicants should submit an outline research proposal (three to four pages) indicating their topic, a brief literature review, methodology, timeline and a short bibliography of relevant source

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