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The University of Sussex was founded in 1961.   It is situated in West Sussex, just outside Brighton, amongst the Sussex Downs.   It is a primarily a research-orientated university; it was ranked in the top dozen universities in the UK for research.  The university earns around 30% of its income from research grants.   83% of academic staff work in areas which have achieved a Research Assessment Exercise (RAE) rating of 4 or 5 out of 5.   Sussex achieved RAE 5 ratings in the following subjects;

American Studies
Biological Sciences
Computer Science
English
History
History of Art (5*)
Pure Mathematics
French
German
Media Studies
Science Policy Research

Sussex degrees take a more interdisciplinary structure then most, with students taking a 'major' subject, which constitutes their honours degree, and a 'minor' subject, which represents 25% of their course and final grade.  This allows for a wide variety of combinations; more then 200 undergraduate degrees and over 120 taught postgraduate degrees.  In the Quality Assurance Agency teaching assessment scheme (QAA), 13 out of 15 subjects scored 21 or over out of 25.  Philosophy and Sociology received the maximum score, while Music, English and Social Anthropology were judged 'excellent'.   Sussex is split into 'Schools of Study', representative of its interdisciplinary structure.  Each has its own website, either www.sussex.ac.uk/Units/(schoolname)/ or for those denoted by a (*), www.(schoolname).sussex.ac.uk.   Here are the schools;

AFRAS - African and Asian Studies
BIOLS - Biological Sciences (*)
CPES - Chemistry, Physics and Environmental Science
COGS - Cognitive and Computing Sciences (*)
CCS - Cultural and Community Studies
EIT - Engineering and Information Technology
EAM - English and American Studies
EURO - European Studies
SLS - Legal Studies
MATHS - Mathematical Sciences (*)
SOCSI - Social Sciences

Sussex is a strong international university, with 25% of its enrolled students coming from abroad, in addition to a large foreign exchange program.  One in seven of Sussex undergraduates spend a year abroad in either North America or Europe.  The gender ratio at Sussex is 6:4 female, with 76% of enrolling undergraduates aged 21.  On average 1 in 10 students earns a first class degree, with 13% earning a master's distinction.   The drop-out rate is very high, ranking at 15-20%, which is probably not helped by the universities close proximity to Brighton.  The Sussex faculty includes Prof. Harry Kroto, Nobel Prize winner and 8th most cited scientist in the UK,Prof. Maggie Boden OBE and Philosophy pioneer and Prof. John Maynard Smith, Kyoto Prize winner.   Past alumni include Ian McEwan, President of South Africa Thabo Mbeki and Lord Richard Attenborough, star of Jurassic Park.  The Sussex motto is: "Be Still and Know", which is proudly displayed in bright colours in the University toilets.

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Sources:
Sussex Undergraduate Prospectus http://www.sussex.ac.uk/Units/publications/ugrad2002
Sussex Annual Review http://www.sussex.ac.uk/Units/vcoffice/annrep/

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