The School of Humanities and Social Sciences is one of the foundation Schools of the University. It has been offering degree programmes since teaching commenced at the University in March 1966. It incorporated into itself the former Oppenheimer College of Social Services and used to offer the diploma in Social Work programme that originated in the Oppenheimer College. The purpose of the School was to alleviate the national manpower shortage in the fields of social sciences and humanities by providing a broadly-based degree that would equip graduates to respond constructively and flexibly to the developing requirements of the public and private sectors.
During the first nine years the departments of the School were based on fields of study but in the 1974/75 academic year they were reorganised on interdisciplinary lines based on related fields of study. Today the departments of the School range from the discipline-based Departments of Economics, Philosophy (established in 1980) and Psychology, through the fields-of-study departments of Political and Administrative Studies, and Social Development Studies, to the interdisciplinary departments of Development Studies and Mass Communication. In the 1973/74 academic year the humanities group of subjects - English, French, Geography and History - became part of the administrative structure of the School of Education. However, since degrees in these areas were still available within the School, it retained its designation as the School of Humanities and Social Sciences. Then, during the 1988/89 academic year the departments of History and Literature and Languages transferred back from the School of Education to the School of Humanities and Social Sciences.
The School offers four-year programmes leading to the degrees of Bachelor of Arts, Bachelor of Mass Communication and Bachelor of Social Work. It also offers Master’s programmes in various areas. A major aim of the degree programmes is to equip the graduate with an awareness of society and its problems and of the ways in which he/she can help to solve these. The programmes provide orientations that will enable the graduate to be innovative and provide intelligent leadership in a rapidly changing society.
There are approximately 2,200 students in the School. Of these, about 42 per cent are females. In addition, the School caters for approximately 460 students who are registered for courses through Distance Education.
Up to 2004 the School had awarded more than 2,766 degrees and about 250 diplomas. Because the University is almost entirely residential and has had to take steps to increase the number of students in the natural sciences and technological fields by allocating them an enlarged number of hostel places, there has been some decrease in the number of students admitted to undergraduate programmes in the School of Humanities and Social Sciences.