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PhD in Development Studies by Published Works

Study with the world leaders in development studies and realise your potential to transform the world.

The PhD by Published Works in Development Studies is awarded to candidates who have already completed original and significant research in the field of development studies and have a coherent body of published works, but who have not had the opportunity to undertake a research programme leading to a PhD.

The portfolio of research you submit for this PhD will be of the same quality, rigour and volume as a typical PhD. The work might take the form of refereed articles, chapters, monographs and scholarly editions, as long as they are available or traceable in the public domain (and not self-published). A substantial proportion of these works will be peer-reviewed and a number will be solely authored by you. All works should ideally have been published not more than ten years before the date of submission.

You will work with two qualified supervisors to compose an accompanying 10,000-word dissertation, summarising and explaining your work’s contribution to the development field.

World leaders in development studies

Ranked first in the world for Development Studies (QS World University Rankings by Subject 2020) – the Institute of Development Studies (IDS) transforms the knowledge, action and leadership needed for more equitable and sustainable development globally, through our world-class research, learning and teaching.

You will join a thriving research community comprising more than 70 research staff and 50 postgraduate researchers. You will have access to research and teaching opportunities, as well as a substantial series of seminars presented by leading development professionals and practitioners.

“Studying at IDS can potentially transform your view of the world – you grow a lot learning from this very rich and diverse community.”
Jorge Adrian-Ortiz-Moreno, IDS PhD graduate

Future careers

Your PhD in Published Works will put you in a great position to launch or progress your career in academia, government, civil society or the private sector, and make a real difference in bringing about transformative change.

Our PhD graduates are defining and solving some of the world’s most pressing global challenges in their work as:

  • ministers in national governments and civil servants
  • high-level officials in development organisations such as UNDP and the World Bank
  • leaders of civil-society organisations such as ActionAid and Christian Aid
  • high-profile academics at universities across the world.

Areas of Study

We welcome submissions from researchers who share our commitment to:

  • upholding climate and environmental justice
  • reducing extreme inequities
  • fostering healthy and fulfilling lives
  • nurturing inclusive, democratic and accountable societies.

We are particularly interested in work that shows originality in addressing topics related to the work of our research fellows who work across our ten research clusters: business; cities; digital; governance; health; impact and policy; participation; power; resource politics; and rural futures.

Find out more about our current PhD Researchers
Find out more about our current Research Fellows

Supervision and assessment

Each PhD researcher has a minimum of two supervisors. You will work closely with your two research supervisors throughout your PhD, with at least one meeting per month with them.

During the course of your PhD, you are required to give one Work in Progress seminar to the IDS community. This is scheduled during your second term at IDS. The seminar will focus on the research findings and the overall arguments that you make in your dissertation, along with covering your contribution to the field.

Your PhD work is examined by your dissertation and viva. Your thesis must be no longer than 10,000 words. These limits include footnotes and bibliography but excludes any appendices.

Entry requirements

You’re normally expected to have a Merit (an average of 60% overall) in a Master’s degree. Your qualification should be in a relevant social sciences subject. In exceptional circumstances, you may be considered for the degree if you have a qualification in a different subject area. You must also show evidence of substantial professional work experience and a body of published work in development-related work. Finally, you must be able to secure agreement from two IDS researchers who are able to supervise you.

English language requirements

Students must be proficient in English. The minimum requirement is, for example, an IELTS grade of 7.0 overall and no less than 6.5 in each section of the IELTS test. For detailed information on English language requirements for international students please see the University of Sussex website.

Admissions information for applicants

You must provide:

  • a list of published works to be submitted
  • a supporting document of two to three pages explaining why the published works should be considered for this PhD award
  • a signed declaration that the published works have not been, and will not be, submitted, as part of any other degree.

Please contact the IDS Teaching Coordinator, Stephanie Watson, to discuss your PhD by Published Works application: [email protected]

Fees and funding

Fees for self-funding students

Fees for the academic year 2021/22 are not yet set. Fees will become available once set by United Kingdom Research and Innovation. Last year fees were: UK/EU students: £4,407 per year for full-time students. Channel Islands and Isle of Man students: £4,407 per year for full-time students. International students: £18,500 per year for full-time students

Home PhD student fees are set at the level recommended by United Kingdom Research and Innovation (UKRI) annually, rising in line with inflation. Overseas fees are subject to an annual increase – see details on our tuition fees page

Additional costs

Please note, all costs are best estimates based on current market values. Costs are paid at the start of your course unless specified otherwise. We review estimates every year and they may vary with inflation. Find out tips for budgeting as a student here.

Empirical research costs

On top of your PhD fees and living costs, you may also need to cover some research and training costs, relevant to your research project. These costs will depend on your research topic and training needs, but may include:

– travel (to archives, collections or scientific facilities)
– a laptop
– overseas fieldwork costs (travel and accommodation, and language training)
– conference costs (travel, registration fees and accommodation)
– laboratory consumables and workshop materials
– participant costs
– transcription or translation costs
– open-access publication costs.

If you have a scholarship from one of the UK Research Councils, your scholarship will cover these types of costs. You’ll receive details of how to claim this additional funding.

If you’re self-funded, or if your scholarship doesn’t cover these costs, check with the Research and Enterprise Co-ordinator in your School for details of School or Doctoral School funding that may be available.

Unfortunately, neither IDS nor the University of Sussex can offer financial support. Applicants requiring financial assistance should contact their local Ministry of Education or Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the British Council representative (c/o British Embassy). For the latest information on fees, funding and scholarships, visit the University of Sussex website.

Living costs

Find out typical living costs for studying at Sussex

Find out about our terms and conditions

How to apply

Apply via the University of Sussex online application. When completing the application form, please identify IDS on the application; the code for this is L1605R.

Distance learning

IDS is unable to accept applications for distance learning. We believe it’s in the best interests of both PhD students and the Institute that the majority of the study period is spent at IDS. This offers the opportunity for ongoing interaction with other IDS members and students.

Finding a supervisor

You are responsible for finding two IDS Research Fellows who are willing to work with you and supervise you for your PhD. Applicants are encouraged to reach out directly to two supervisors – and submit an application with these two supervisors’ names in the application, if they have agreed to supervise.

Application deadline

We prefer our PhD by Published Works students to start on 21 September 2021 to coincide with the start of the University of Sussex autumn term. This timing will maximise your opportunities to take part in induction sessions and training, both at IDS and the University of Sussex.

For September entry, the application deadlines are:

  • 21 June 2021 for international students
  • 21 July 2021 for UK/EU students.

In exceptional circumstances IDS may permit students to start the PhD by Published Works in January (for example, if visa issues prevent a September entry), but all application deadlines remain as they are for a September entry.