Research course


University of Sussex · School of Global Studies

Entry requirements

A Masters degree in geography although those with a Masters degree in a closely related discipline may also be admitted. In exceptional circumstances, candidates with other backgrounds may be considered. Applicants must submit an outline research proposal of two to three pages indicating the nature, ambitions and primary questions of the project.

Months of entry

January, October, April

Course content

  • PhD in African Studies
  • PhD in Geography
  • MPhil in Geography

All research students are required to complete an appropriate programme of research methods training. This may involve enrolling on the MSc in Social Research Methods – a stand-alone Masters degree – before proceeding to a PhD. This is known as a 1+3 degree.

Students who have already completed a programme of research methods training can apply for the basic, three-year doctoral degree leading to a PhD.

Applications for research courses are welcomed across any of our research clusters, each of which maintains a strong international reputation. Geographers also provide interdisciplinary doctoral supervision in subject areas such as colonial and postcolonial studies, contemporary European studies, development studies and migration studies.

Coursework and supervision

Whether you start the three-year PhD or the 1+3 MSc/PhD course, you are normally required to complete some research methods training modules and possibly some specialist thematic modules drawn from the MSc course.

You are allocated two academic supervisors with whom you work for the duration of your research degree. These are allocated according to their regional and thematic expertise, to provide a complementary ‘match’ with your research.

Recent thesis titles
  • An evaluation of GIS as a countryside management tool to inform the creation of a large-scale, near-forest habitat network in West Sussex
  • Black and white collaborative politics in South African Christian student movements 1907-1978
  • Botanic gardens: ‘walled, stranded arks’ or environments for learning
  • Cities in motion: towards an understanding of the cinematic city
  • Ecotourism, institutions and livelihoods: a study of North Rupununi, Guyana
  • Food crop marketing and local economic development in Eastern Cape Province, South Africa
  • Gains, losses and changes: resettlement of Somali refugees in London and Toronto
  • Institutional needs for natural resource conservation in mountain areas
  • Media, imagination and migration: the role of Italian television in the Albanian migration to Italy
  • Pastoral-farmer conflict in the Hadejia-Nguru wetlands of north-eastern Nigeria
  • Rainfall variability and extremes over southern Africa
  • Representations of diversity and cultural participation: performances of multiculturalism in Bologna and Barcelona
  • Sediment transport in the Ouse-Newhaven Estuary
  • The global-local interplay and foreign direct investment in the European Union
  • The internationalisation of productive capital: Korean textile and clothing foreign direct investment in China
  • The migration and transition of Sierra Leonean refugee girls in England
  • The response of shingle beaches to storm events: a managed approach
  • Threats to coastal shingle biodiversity in the Rives Manche

Department specialisms

For further information visit the postgraduate study page.

Information for international students

Information for international students

Fees and funding

UK students
£4,195 per year
International students
£15,100 per year

The University of Sussex aims to attract the most talented students to postgraduate study and offers one of the most generous scholarship programmes of any UK university. For full details of our scholarships please visit:

Qualification and course duration


full time
24-48 months
part time
36-72 months


part time
24-48 months
full time
12-36 months

Course contact details

Student Recruitment Services
+44 (0)1273 877107