Research course

Evolution, behaviour and environment

University of Sussex · School of Life Sciences

Entry requirements

Months of entry

January, October, April

Course content

  • PhD in Biology
  • PhD in Environmental Science
  • MPhil in Biology
  • MPhil in Environmental Science

The School of Life Sciences is a vibrant international research community. Research in the School ranges from studies on the most basic chemical building blocks of life to how the brain generates behaviour or how insect societies are organised. We offer MPhil and PhD courses.

Evolution, behaviour and environment at Sussex focuses on how organisms evolve and interact with their environments. We address basic and strategic questions in both field and laboratory settings across a wide range of study taxa, and also use theoretical approaches. Major themes are:

  • sexual conflict
  • the role of natural selection in molecular evolution
  • co-operation, conflict and organisation in social insect colonies
  • mechanisms underlying animal behaviours, including navigation, visual perception, escape behaviour and collective decision-making
  • ecology and conservation of animals and plants in tropical rainforests, temperate grasslands and pollinators
  • policy-relevant global analyses • the measurement of environmental contaminants, such as endocrine-disrupting chemicals, and their effects on human and animal health.

Our expertise encourages interdisciplinarity and we hold two regular Evolution and Development seminar series. We have also established ties with other research groupings at Sussex, such as those in Informatics, SPRU – Science Policy Research Unit and Neuroscience, and we collaborate with scientists in a wide range of external organisations, including formal links with Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew.

Student progress and support

Throughout your studies, as part of your intellectual development, you take part in laboratory meetings, journal clubs and a weekly seminar series. All students are encouraged to attend, and present their work at, national and international scientific meetings.

The School offers full support to all research students by monitoring their research progress in the form of annual reviews, informal meetings, mid-year reports (Year 1) and active participation in the Postgraduate Research Colloquium. The Colloquium brings research students and faculty together for a wider discussion of the ongoing research projects within the School. All third-year doctoral students give a talk on their research, and all second-year students submit a poster depicting the key aims and objectives, methods and findings of their research project.

We aim to ensure that our PhD students have the best possible research experience. The relationships between supervisors and PhD students are among the most rewarding academic partnerships. We also host regular social events for our students to mingle with their peers and supervisors across various disciplines.

We take student feedback very seriously and PhD student representatives form an integral part of our Student Experience Committee.

Department specialisms

For further information, visit the webpage below.

Information for international students

See link for international students' entry requirements:

Fees and funding

UK students
International students

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

Qualification and course duration


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


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

Course contact details

Student Recruitment Services
+44 (0)1273 678057