UNSW Arts & Social Sciences is a lively community of adventurous scholars and students exploring big ideas. Our academics are leaders in their fields, creating new knowledge and new forms of understanding. We are boldly creative and intellectually adventurous, combining time-tested traditions of scholarship with progressive new ways of thinking to tackle age-old questions, inform social change and enrich public debate.

We are one of the most academically energetic and socially engaged faculties of our kind in the Southern Hemisphere, and a national leader in the Humanities, Social Sciences and Creative and Performing Arts. Our scholarship deepens understanding of the diversity of human experience and challenges traditional ways of thinking about the world. By applying this new knowledge to some of the most urgent challenges of our time, our research makes a significant contribution to public debate and the formation of effective policy. Our researchers and our graduates are not afraid to get their hands dirty as they engage with the complexities of contemporary society.

Arts & Social Sciences attracts bright, imaginative, globally conscious students. We challenge them to think critically, to communicate with creativity and influence, and then to translate their knowledge and skills into exciting and unpredictable careers.

The opportunities for our students, and the achievements of our alumni, demonstrate the truth of our claim that Arts & Social Sciences truly offers a licence to explore.

Fast facts


  • one of the largest faculties of our kind in Australia and UNSW’s third largest faculty
  • celebrated our 50th Anniversary in 2010
  • offer over 30 undergraduate degree programs, 16 postgraduate coursework programs and a breadth and diversity of study options not found in any other single faculty in the Group of Eight Universities
  • over 7,300 students are enrolled in our programs
  • over 45,000 alumni have graduated from our degrees
  • comprise of four teaching and research Schools and four specialist Research Centres


QS World University Rankings by Faculty 2015

  • Social Sciences and Management ranked 21st in the world
  • Arts and Humanities ranked 41st in the world
  • UNSW Arts & Social Sciences positioned as one of Australia’s top four research Faculties in the Humanities, Social Sciences and Creative and Performing Arts

QS World University Rankings by Subject 2016

  • ranked 38 in the world for Social Policy and Administration, 40 for Communication and Media Studies, and 48 for Education and Training
  • other subject areas including Anthropology, Development Studies, English Language & Literature, History, Linguistics, Modern Languages, Politics and Sociology all ranked in top 100

Excellence in Research for Australia (ERA)

  • ranked well above world standard, scoring the maximum five points, in the broad fields of History and Archaeology; and Studies in Creative Arts; and in the subject areas of Policy and Administration; Art Theory and Criticism; Film, Television and Digital Media; Performing Arts and Creative Writing; Literary Studies; and Historical Studies 
  • the only university to receive the top ranking in Studies in Creative Arts and Writing; Art Theory and Criticism; and Film, Television and Digital Media

Faculty structure

The Faculty is governed by the Faculty Executive, the Dean’s Advisory Committee, Faculty Board and portfolios which report to the Dean, including the Dean’s Unit, Faculty Research Office, Learning and Teaching.