History of the Business School

The School draws on the significant historical and intellectual strength of its founding departments, rooted in the early days of the University of Sussex

The Business School focuses on driving innovation for social progress, with strengths in sustainability and climate change, embracing the University’s strategic goal of A Better University for a Better World.

We are a top ranking global school, Top 15 in the UK for Business and Economics (THE World University Rankings 2023) and 1st in the UK for annual research income 2020/21 (Chartered Association of Business Schools). Accredited by EQUIS and AMBA, we are a member of the Chartered Association of Business Schools and a Bloomberg Experiential Learning Partner. We are committed to the Principles of Responsible Management Education and are recognized as a pioneering institution by the Responsible Research in Business and Management network.

Established in 2009, the School brought together the world renowned Science Policy Research Unit (SPRU) with the Department of Economics, already a global leader in development economics, and in subsequent years has steadily expanded its range of business, management, finance, accounting and marketing degrees.


  • 1961 – University of Sussex receives its Royal Charter
  • 1966 – Founding of the Department of Economics and the Science Policy Research Unit (SPRU), one of the world’s first interdisciplinary research centres in the field of science and technology policy (read SPRU's history)
  • 1984 – University offers its first management minor degree
  • 2009 – The School is established, combining SPRU and Economics with the newly established Department of Business and Management
  • 2011MBA programme launches
  • 2012 – The expanding School moves to its new, purpose-built Jubilee building
  • 2016 – The UK Trade Policy Observatory launches in partnership with Chatham House, providing independent research and analysis into the impact of Brexit on UK trade. SPRU celebrates its 50th Anniversary
  • 2018 – The School opens the Bloomberg Lab, providing students with a real time trading floor experience
  • 2018 – University of Sussex Business School adopts its new name and branding, and five departments are now Accounting and Finance, Management, Strategy and Marketing, Economics, SPRU. The school launches its first online Masters
  • 2019 – The School achieves EQUIS and AMBA accreditations
  • 2020 – The new Digital Futures at Work Centre launches at the Business School, in partnership with University of Leeds, the Universities of Aberdeen, Cambridge and Manchester in the UK and Monash in Australia.
  • 2022 - A major new research centre on inclusive trade policy launched in early 2022. The Centre for Inclusive Trade Policy is a centre of excellence for innovative trade policy research.