Press release

Sussex ranked first in the world for development studies

Published on 9 March 2017

The QS University Rankings 2017 has ranked the University of Sussex first in the world for development studies.  This is the third consecutive year that the University has been ranked in the top two universities globally for development.

The result reflects the quality, impact and range of international development research and courses offered across the Sussex campus in the University of Sussex’ School of Global Studies and its partner the Institute of Development Studies (IDS), as well as the Science Policy Research Unit (SPRU) and the Centre for International Education (CIE).

Head of the University of Sussex’ School of Global Studies Andrea Cornwall said:

“Sussex’ world-leading reputation for international development gives us much to celebrate. It’s thanks to the concentration of expertise that spans the University and brings us together with our close colleagues and partners, the Institute of Development Studies.

“Our critical, engaged research on the global issues of our times infuses our teaching in the School of Global Studies, from our undergraduate programmes in International Development to a dynamic portfolio of postgraduate degrees that include long-standing and new cross-campus collaborations with IDS, SPRU, CIE and Brighton and Sussex Medical School. We’re really pleased to be recognised in this way.”

IDS Director Melissa Leach said:

“We’re delighted that development studies at Sussex that includes IDS’ postgraduate teaching programme have been ranked first in the world once again.  This has been made possible by the strength of the partnerships across Sussex-based institutes and schools.  Together we are delivering world-class research and evidence on tackling some of the world’s most pressing challenges, as well as nurturing the next generation of global leaders.”

Adam Tickell, Vice-Chancellor of the University of Sussex, said: “Sussex has become the most important institution in the world for international development over recent decades.

“Our work is reshaping how governments, aid organisations and NGOs address the major issues of our time.”

Sussex offers eight undergraduate and more than 30 Masters development-focused courses, some of which are offered at IDS or jointly with IDS.  Graduates have gone on to take up senior positions in global organisations such as the World Bank and the United Nations, as well as become Ministers and officials in national governments across the world.

Sussex degrees are taught by some of the world’s leading development experts, many of whom are active in the field as researchers and practitioners and who bring this valuable experience of applied research into the classroom.

The ground-breaking evidence and knowledge that Sussex researchers are generating in collaboration with partners globally is making a significant contribution to real-world problems such as disease, climate change and conflict and violence.

For example, in 2016 staff from the University of Sussex and IDS were part of a team that won the prestigious Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) Outstanding International Impact Prize for helping to improve the effectiveness of the global response to the Ebola outbreak, and ultimately bringing an end to the disease more quickly and saving lives.

The University of Sussex is in the world’s top 100 universities for six other subjects – including all four of the disciplines in the School of Global Studies – the latest rankings reveal:

  • Anthropology
  • Communication and Media Studies
  • English Language and Literature
  • Geography
  • Politics and International Studies
  • Sociology



For more information or to arrange an interview with Andrea Cornwall or Melissa Leach please contact James Hakner, University of Sussex, on 01273 877966 or Hannah Corbett, IDS, +44 (0)7701286978 or [email protected].


Notes to Editors:

  1. The University of Sussex is a leading research-intensive university near Brighton, currently ranked top 20 in all major league tables. We have both an international and local outlook, with staff and students from more than 100 countries and frequent engagement in community activities and services.
  2. A global hub at the heart of the University of Sussex, the School of Global Studies hosts the University’s undergraduate development programme, as well as a range of postgraduate development degrees. Our research-led interdisciplinary School brings together Anthropology, Geography, International Development and International Relations to address the most pressing global issues of our times – global inequalities and global justice, climate and environmental change, war and peace, global health and finance crises, intolerance and discrimination. See www.sussex.ac.uk/global.
  3. The Institute of Development Studies (IDS) is a leading global institution for development researchteaching and learning, and impact and communications, based at the University of Sussex.  Our vision is of equal and sustainable societies, locally and globally, where everyone can live secure, fulfilling lives free from poverty and injustice. We believe passionately that cutting-edge research, knowledge and evidence are crucial in shaping the changes needed for our broader vision to be realised, and to support people, societies and institutions to navigate the challenges ahead.  See www.ids.ac.uk for more information.
  4. First compiled in 2004, the QS World University Rankings currently consider over 3,000 institutions, rank more than 800, and are aimed at prospective students seeking to identify the world’s leading schools in their chosen field of study. QS ranks the world’s top universities in 36 individual subject areas, including development studies. QS’s major global surveys of academics and employers, and research citations data from Scopus are used in order to compare universities’ performance in relation to a particular discipline.



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