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University of Sussex
Motto Be still and know
Established 1961
Endowment £4.9m[1]
Chancellor Sanjeev Bhaskar
Vice-Chancellor Professor Michael Farthing
Visitor The Lord President of the Council ex officio
Faculty 830[2]
Staff 2120[2]
Students 12,445[3]
Undergraduates 9,275[3]
Postgraduates 3,175[3]
Location Falmer, East Sussex, England, United Kingdom
Colours White and Teal            
Nickname Sussex Uni
Affiliations 1994 Group

The University of Sussex is an English campus university situated next to the East Sussex village of Falmer, within the city of Brighton and Hove. [4] It was the first of the "plate glass" universities founded in the 1960s. It received its Royal Charter in August 1961. [5] Sussex quickly came to be identified with postwar social change and developed a reputation for left-wing radicalism.[6]

The university is ranked within the top 20 in the UK: The Guardian university rankings for 2010 placed Sussex 18th; [7] the 2008 Good University Guide placed it 24th. [8] According to the 2010 Guardian university rankings, Sussex has Britain's best chemistry department. Its professor, Geoff Cloke, was in 2007 elected a fellow of The Royal Society. [9] In 2008 the University of Sussex was ranked 20th in the UK, within the top 50 in Europe and 130th in the World.[10]

Sussex is the only English university located entirely within an area of outstanding natural beauty, the South Downs. [11]



The Arts Building on the University of Sussex campus.

The University of Sussex initially began as an idea for the construction of a university to serve Brighton. In December 1911 there was a public meeting at the Royal Pavilion in order to discover ways in which to fund the construction of a university. However, the project was halted by the First World War and the money raised was instead used for books for the Municipal Technical College. However, the idea was revived in the 1950s, and in June 1958, the government approved the corporation's scheme for a university at Brighton, the first of a new generation of red brick universities which came to be known as plate glass universities.[5] The University was established as a company in 1959, with a Royal Charter being granted on 16 August 1961.[5]

The University of Sussex rapidly gained a reputation of radicalism.[12]

In 2004, the University started using a new corporate-style logo in place of its coat of arms. This was to try and refresh the Sussex brand and tie in with all the changes happening at the university at the time.[13]


Falmer House, home to the Students' Union.
Arts A lecture theatres in 2005.

The campus, designed by Sir Basil Spence, is located in the village of Falmer, next to its railway station, and accessed by car from the A27 road. It is situated next to the Sussex Downs, which influenced Sir Basil Spence's design of the campus.

Sir Basil Spence's designs were appreciated in the architecture community, with many of the buildings on the University's campus winning awards. The gatehouse-inspired Falmer House won a bronze medal from the Royal Institute of British Architects.[5] Another campus building, The Meeting House, won the Civic Trust award in 1969.[14] In 1993, the buildings which made up the core of Sir Basil Spence's designs were given listed building status, with Falmer House being one of only two buildings to be given a Grade 1 status of "exceptional interest".[14]

The Gardner Arts Centre, another of Basil Spence's designs, was opened in 1969 as the first university campus arts centre.[15] It had a 480 seat purpose built theatre, a visual art gallery and studio space and was regularly used for theatre and dance as well as showing a range of films on a modern cinema screen. The Centre closed in the summer of 2007:[16] withdrawal of funding and the cost of renovating the building were given as the key reasons.

Plans have been put forward to the local council to refurbish the centre, with work starting as soon as mid 2009. It is hoped the centre will be open in 2011-2012, in time for the University's 50th anniversary celebrations.

League tables

The university is ranked within the top 20 in the UK: The Guardian university rankings for 2005 placed Sussex 16th; [7] the 2008 Good University Guide placed it 24th. [17] According to the 2008 and 2010 Guardian university rankings, Sussex has Britain's best chemistry department. Its professor, Geoff Cloke, was in 2007 elected a fellow of The Royal Society. [9] In 2008 the University of Sussex was ranked 20th in the UK, within the top 50 in Europe and 130th in the World.[18]

UK University Rankings
2010 2009 2008 2007 2006 2005 2004 2003 2002 2001 2000 1999 1998 1997 1996 1995 1994 1993
Times Good University Guide 35th 38th.[19] 35th[20] 27th[21] 37th 39th[22] 41st 44th[23] 43rd 34th= 34th= 38rd= 35st 39th= 20th= 29th= 23rd= 19th=
Guardian University Guide 18th[24] 34th 24th[25] 37th 37th[26] 16th[27] 28th 33rd
Sunday Times University Guide 22nd 22nd[28] 30th 27th[29] 20th[29] 30th[30] 25th[30] 30th[30] 34nd[30] 31st[30] 29th[30] 34th[30]
Daily Telegraph 26th[31] 41st
FT 34th 33rd 30th 38th
Independent - Complete University Guide 29th[32] 26th

The once formidable research reputation of the University has received severe blows in the last few years. This may be partly evidenced by the University’s relatively poor rankings during the course of the last five years. According to the THES World University Rankings, the University of Sussex is on a steep downward trajectory. It fell down to 100 in 2005 (from 58 in 2004), then down to 105 in 2006, 121 in 2007, 130 in 2007 and 166 in 2009


In 2009 the university adopted a new organisational structure. The term "Schools of Studies" was retained, but headed by a "Head of School" rather than the traditional "Dean". Many of these new heads were appointed from outside Sussex rather than from existing faculty. The schools are listed below.[33] The term "department" has been retained in some cases, where a school contains separate disciplines.

  • Engineering and Design
  • Informatics
  • Life Sciences

Includes: Biology, Environmental Science, Chemistry and Biochemistry and houses the Centre for Genome Damage and Stability

  • Mathematical and Physical Sciences

Includes: Mathematics, Physics and Astronomy

  • Psychology
  • Business, Management and Economics
  • Education and Social Work
  • Global Studies

Includes: Anthropology, Geography and International Relations; as well as interdisciplinary programmes in Development Studies

  • Law, Politics and Sociology
  • English
  • History, Art History and Philosophy
  • Media, Film and Music

The changes did not affect the

  • Brighton and Sussex Medical School (BSMS).

Previous organisation

The University was founded with the unusual structure of "Schools of Study" (ubiquitously abbreviated to "schools") rather than traditional university departments within arts and science faculties. The Schools were intended to promote high-quality teaching and research.

In the early 1990s, the University promoted the system by claiming, "Clusters of faculty [come] together within schools to pursue new areas of intellectual enquiry. The schools also foster broader intellectual links. Physics with Management Studies, Science and Engineering with European Studies, Economics with Mathematics all reach beyond conventional Arts/Science divisions."[34] By this time, the original schools had been developed somewhat and were:

  • African and Asian Studies (abbreviated to AFRAS)
  • Biological Sciences (BIOLS)
  • Chemistry and Molecular Sciences (MOLS)
  • Cognitive and Computing Sciences (COGS)
  • Cultural and Community Studies (CCS)
  • Engineering and Applied Sciences (ENGG)
  • English and American Studies (ENGAM or EAM)
  • European Studies (EURO)
  • Mathematical and Physical Sciences (MAPS)
  • Social Sciences (SOC)

In 2001, as the university was celebrating its 40th anniversary, the then Vice Chancellor Alasdair Smith proposed [35] major changes to the curriculum across the 'Arts schools', and structural changes were agreed by the senate which would create two Arts schools and a 'Sussex Institute' in place of the five schools then in place. Corresponding changes would be made in Sciences.

The changes were finally implemented in September 2003. After discussion in senate and the schools, the university adopted for the first time in its history the concept of a department. All subjects were located firmly in one school, and undergraduates were offered straightforward degree subjects rather than the distinctive Sussex differentiation based on the context provided by school courses. The new schools were:

  • Humanities (HUMS)
  • Life Sciences (LIFESCI)
  • Science and Technology (SCITECH)
  • Social Sciences and Cultural Studies (SOCCUL)
  • Sussex Institute (SI)

Chancellors and Vice-Chancellors

The current and fifth Chancellor of the university is Sanjeev Bhaskar, who succeeded Lord Attenborough in 2009.[36]

  1. Viscount Monckton of Brenchley (1961–65)
  2. Lord Shawcross (1965–85)
  3. The Duke of Richmond and Gordon (1985–98)
  4. Lord Attenborough (1998–2008)
  5. Sanjeev Bhaskar OBE (2009-Present)

The university has had seven Vice-Chancellors:

  1. John Fulton, later The Lord Fulton (1961–67)
  2. Professor Asa Briggs (1967–76)
  3. Sir Denys Wilkinson (1976–87)
  4. Sir Leslie Fielding (1987–92)
  5. Professor Gordon Conway (1992–98)
  6. Professor Alasdair Smith (1998–2007)
  7. Professor Michael Farthing (2007-Present)

Financial crises and Stop the Cuts campaign

In 2009 the University had an annual turnover of £160 million but announced that it had to make cuts of £3 million in the current academic year and £5 million in 2010-11 due to reductions in government funding. [37]

The proposal for the cuts includes over 115 compulsory redundancies. These include a third of the academics in the School of Life Sciences, 13 academics in Informatics, and more redundancies in the schools of Engineering, History, English and the Centre for Continuing Education.[38]

The plans also include reductions in funding and reorganising of many of the university's non-academic services, including severe cuts to student advice services and the on-campus nursery and creche.[39]

A student and staff movement, "Stop the Cuts", was set up to oppose the proposals, demanding that the university management:[40]

  • Abolish all plans for compulsory redundancies
  • Resist tuition fees and reductions in higher education funding
  • Reduce executive pay
  • Postpone new building projects
  • Give assurances of academic freedom[41]

The "Stop the Cuts campaign" has organised several protests, firstly bringing together more than 500 students, to coincide with a Senate meeting. The Vice-Chancellor, Michael Farthing, called the police to disperse the demonstration - despite the nonviolent nature of the protest. [42]

More recently the Stop the Cuts campaign has occupied buildings on campus. First of all occupying the conference room in Bramber House for 24 hours then two weeks later occupying the VCEG (the most senior body of management) offices in Sussex House for a few hours. At the second occupation riot police were called by the university to manage the protest after some senior staff claimed they were being held hostage, a claim that was strongly denied by the occupiers and the management subsequently stopped making the claim. Two days after the occupation several students were suspended and the university management were granted a high court injunction making occupational protest a criminal offence on university grounds.

However, the campaign ignored what it described as an "unlawful injunction" and occupied the Arts A2 lecture theatre for eight days, calling for the immediate and unconditional reinstatement of the "Sussex Six".[43] Members of the UCU lecturers' union on campus also called on the Vice-Chancellor Michael Farthing "to lift the suspensions with immediate effect so as to enable the students to continue their studies and to exercise their human rights." The UCU also voted to take strike action on March 18.[44]

On 17th March 2010, an Extraordinary General Meeting (EGM) of the Student's Union met, 850 students attended, and voted almost unanimously in favour of a motion of no confidence in Michael Farthing and his VCEG. They also voted for the unconditional reinstatement of the Sussex six. Senate also voted to reinstate the Sussex six.

On 18th March 2010, members of UCU went on strike. The Sussex six were unconditionally reinstated pending disciplinary actions and the occupation of Arts A2 left as their demands had been met.

Student life


Accommodation as seen from the Sussex Downs behind Park Village in 2007. Clockwise from the top left: Brighthelm (barely visible), East Slope (furthest), Park Village (closest, showing new pitched roofs). The construction of new buildings can be seen to the right of the recently modified East Slope car park.

The early campus included five "Park Houses" (Essex, Kent, Lancaster, Norwich, and York, named after other 1960s universities) and Park Village. The "houses", of which all but Kent House were based on a courtyard design, featured several long corridors with kitchens and bathrooms at the end and a social space on the ground floor, very much in the manner of a traditional hall of residence. (Essex House was reallocated in the late 1990s as postgraduate teaching space.) Park Village, by contrast, consists of individual houses with four bedrooms per floor, a kitchen on both the bottom and the top floor, and bathroom facilities on the middle floor. The houses are arranged in "streets" with a social centre building including porters' office, pigeon-holes for post, and a bar, towards the campus end of the area. Essex House also featured a self-contained flat (external but attached by a walkway) which was given over to the Nightline confidential listening and advice service in 1992. Kent House includes the Kulukundis House wing, developed with easy access for residents with special needs.

Accommodation on campus was expanded in the 1970s with the construction of the unusual split-level flats of East Slope. This development also has a social building with a porters' office and bar.

In the 1990s, as student numbers rose, further developments were constructed in the corner of campus between East Slope and Park Village. Brighthelm and Lewes Court were constructed in public-private partnership funding arrangements with the Bradford & Northern and Kelsey Housing Associations. During construction and their first year of use they were named after these associations; students were involved in suggesting the permanent names Brighthelm and Lewes Court. The name "Brighthelm" owes its etymology to part of the former name of Brighton, Brighthelmstone, whilst Lewes Court is named after the nearby county town of Lewes, to some extent in keeping with Sussex and Falmer Houses elsewhere on campus.

In total there are seven areas of student accommodation on campus. The two newest accommodation areas were completed recently: one next to Falmer train station, named Stanmer Court, and the other next to East Slope, opposite Bramber House, known as Swanborough. [45]

In October 2009 it was announced that new accommodation is to be built on the field north of Lewes Court. The new residences will contain 744 study-bedrooms, 12 family flats and 21 studio flats. Building work began in January 2010, with completion in time for the academic year 2011-12.[46]


The University competes in the following sports:

Team sports
Basketball (men and women), cricket (men and women), football (men, 1st, 2nd and 3rd; women), (field) hockey (men and women, 1st and 2nd), netball (women, 1st and 2nd), rugby union (men and women, 1st and 2nd), ultimate frisbee and volleyball (men and women).
Racquet sports
Badminton (men and women) and squash (men and women).
Individual sports
Archery, fencing and trampolining
Outdoor pursuits
Sailing,[47] mountain bike, mountaineering, skiing & snowboarding, sub aqua, surfing and windsurfing.
Martial arts
Integrated Martial Arts (a mixed martial arts club), kickboxing, Shaolin Kung Fu, aikido and sport aikido.

Campus media

  • The Badger is the Union’s weekly newspaper and is written and designed entirely by Sussex students. It aims to represent the views and interests of students and communicate the work of the Union, as well as informing members about local, national and international issues that affect them as students. It has interviewed such celebrities as Leonardo DiCaprio, Bruce Willis and Sir Michael Caine.
  • The Pulse, Sussex's termly on-line magazine, complements the Badger by providing in-depth feature articles, interviews with local and national stars, and analysis of the latest happenings in Brighton.
  • University Radio Falmer was one of the first student radio stations in the country. It broadcasts locally on 1431AM and to the world via the Internet urfonline. The station has a busy daytime schedule and during the evening offers a range of genre programming, all from Sussex students from 10am to 2 am daily. URF also runs a news service which is independent of the control of the Student Union and is bound by legal regulations to remain neutral and unbiased. It won a bronze award in the best scripted programming category in the 2008 UK Student Radio Awards.[48]

International students

Of the 10,500 students at Sussex, around a quarter are international.

Sussex has academic staff from over 50 countries and students from over 120 countries.

The University includes people from many different religious and cultural backgrounds. There are several places for religious worship on campus.

Sussex was voted "Best Place to Be" in the autumn 2006 International Student Barometer of 40 leading UK Universities.[49]

Courses & services for international students
  • English Language courses for speakers of other languages - provided by The Language Institute.
  • English in the Vacation. Intensive practice of spoken and written English.
  • International student advice and support from the International and Study Abroad Office.
  • On-campus International Foundation Year[50] offers routes directly to Sussex degrees.
  • The International Summer School runs for four and eight weeks starting in July, providing intensive courses. It is predominantly attended by foreign students. Each session runs for four weeks, with students attending one class per session. A variety of courses are offered, including the arts, sciences, business, culture, and humanities.[51]
  • The ISS trips office also provides excursions to prominent cities, theatres, and activities throughout Europe.[52]
  • Students may also spend a year abroad at Sussex as part of their degree.


Notable faculty

In the sciences Sussex counts among its faculty two Nobel Prize winners, Sir John Cornforth and Professor Harry Kroto. Sir Harry, the first Briton to win the chemistry prize in over ten years, received the prize in 1996 for the discovery of a new class of carbon compounds known as the fullerenes. The University has 15 Fellows of the Royal Society - the highest number per science student of any British university other than Cambridge. In the arts, there are six members of faculty - an unusually high proportion - who have the distinction of being Fellows of the British Academy. Faculty publish around 3,000 papers, journal articles and books each year, as well as being involved in consultative work across the world. Sussex has counted two Nobel Prize winners, 13 Fellows of the Royal Society, six fellows of the British Academy and a winner of the prestigious Crafoord Prize in its faculty.

Especially, between the mid-80s and the late 90s the University’s School of English and American Studies boasted some of the biggest names in critical and cultural theory. Although only a few are still there now, in its heyday Sussex had figures such as Homi Bhabha (postcolonialism); Jacqueline Rose (feminism, psychoanalysis); Jonathan Dollimore (Renaissance literature, gender and queer studies); Gabriel Jocipovici (Dante, the Bible); Alan Sinfield (Shakespeare, sexuality, queer theory; Sinfield created, with Dollimore, the Sexual Dissidence and Cultural Change MA); Rachel Bowlby (feminism, Woolf, Freud); Geoffrey Bennington, the creator of the MA programme in Modern French Thought (Derrida, Lyotard); Cedric Watts (Conrad, Greene); Marcus Wood (postcolonialism); Laura Marcus (Woolf); Norman Vance (Victorian, classical reception); Peter Nicholls (Pound, modernism); Nicholas Royle (modern literature and theory; deconstruction).


Sussex had its research funding cut by £1.15 million in 2009 due to a poor performance in the previous Research Assessment Exercise (RAE) which asses the quality of research at universities. This was the ninth biggest cut in the country. [53][54]

Sussex performed well in the 2008 national Research Assessment Exercise with 18 departments ranking in the top 20 in the U.K.[55][56]

In respect of teaching quality, 13 of the 15 subjects assessed under the current teaching quality assessment scheme have scored 21 or more points (out of 24), with Philosophy and Sociology achieving the maximum score.[citation needed]

Educational partners

  • Brighton and Sussex Medical School (BSMS) is a partnership between the University of Brighton and the University of Sussex. It is one of the new medical schools in the UK. BSMS benefits from the universities' distinctive traditions and shared strengths in biomedical sciences, healthcare and professional education. The school, which is the first medical school in the South East outside London, gained its license in 2002 and opened in 2003. It admits 136 students per year with all of them being based for the first two years on the split campus at Falmer. Some life-science degrees in the University of Sussex involving a medical aspect include classes taught in the BSMS.
  • The Institute of Development Studies is one of the world's leading organisations for research, teaching and communications on international development. IDS was founded in 1966 as an independent research institute based at the University of Sussex. IDS has close links with the University, but is financially and constitutionally independent. It exists as a Charitable Company limited by guarantee, and registered in England.
  • The Sussex Innovation Centre (SInC) is one of the premier business incubators in the UK. Opened in 1996, it provides support for the creation and growth of technology and knowledge based companies in the South East. The Centre provides excellent facilities and is a thriving business environment for over 40 high growth companies working within the IT, Biotech, Media and Engineering sectors.
  • The Study Group[57] works in partnership with the University to provide the Sussex University International Study Centre (ISC).[58] The ISC offers an intensive course of academic subjects, study skills and English language training for students who wish to study a degree at the university but who do not yet possess the necessary qualifications to start a degree. The ISC course provides students with enough English language and academic skills to start at Sussex the following year.
  • The British Institute of Modern Music[59] has BA courses in Modern Musicianship validated by the University of Sussex, both at its centres in Brighton and, as of 2009, in Bristol. Alumni of BIMM include indie band The Kooks.


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  36. ^ New Chancellor Announced
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External links

Coordinates: 50°51′55″N 0°05′08″W / 50.86528°N 0.08556°W / 50.86528; -0.08556


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