UNSW Arts & Social Sciences is a lively community of 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, Education 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 our claim that Arts & Social Sciences truly offers a licence to explore.

Dean’s Message

Associate Professor David Blaazer, Dean of the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences, UNSW Sydney

Studying in the arts and social sciences is transformative. It provides new and deeper understanding of human beings in all their dimensions, and profound insight into how we can make a genuinely positive impact on societies and communities. It will enrich the way you think and the way you see the world.

Our degree programs aim to be both flexible and rigorous, to enable students to pursue what is of interest to them while developing deeper knowledge of specific fields. Our degrees can also be combined with degrees from other faculties to produce powerful combinations of intellectual and vocational skills that are highly sought after by employers. These combinations equip our graduates to translate knowledge and skills across diverse areas of thought and practice. To take one example: a combined Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Science degree can provide the keys to harnessing the latest scientific discoveries in ways that provide the maximum social benefit, or to foresee their potential cultural costs.

We in UNSW Arts & Social Sciences are proud of creating an environment focused on engaging and enabling students from all backgrounds and all cultures not just to enter university, but to flourish in their studies and find pathways to interesting, satisfying and worthwhile careers. Our alumni can be found in 120 countries across the globe, creating change and carving out remarkable careers in Not-for-Profit, Government, Media, Education, Public Policy, Social Justice and Consulting sectors, among many others.

The quality of our teaching is underpinned by our innovative, high-quality research and industry partnerships. The most recent government assessment of Australian universities found that we are above world standard in both the quality and the impact of our research in more fields than any comparable faculty. The range of research interests of our academic staff and the range of topics we teach is vast, from the local to the global, the ancient to the contemporary, the immediate and practical to the abstract and speculative. But across the range of our interests – whether it be housing policy in Sydney, Chinese philosophy, Korean political economy, Australian Indigenous history, school students with disabilities, internet misogyny, or the causes and consequences of wars, (to name a tiny sample) – our aim remains the same: to increase our knowledge and to share it with our students and with other researchers and practitioners around the world.

UNSW Arts and Social Sciences is a progressive and socially engaged Faculty. We embrace a creative, critical attitude and are devoted to confronting and grappling with both fundamental intellectual problems and the most urgent social, cultural, political and environmental challenges of our time.


Associate Professor David Blaazer

Dean of the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences, UNSW Sydney

Fast facts


  • One of the largest faculties of our kind in Australia and UNSW’s fourth largest faculty
  • Will celebrate our 60th Anniversary in 2020
  • Offer over 45 undergraduate degree programs, 27 postgraduate coursework programs and a breadth of study options not found in any other single faculty in the Group of Eight Universities
  • Over 5,900 students are enrolled in our programs in 2018
  • Over 56,000 alumni have graduated from our degrees
  • Comprise of four teaching and research Schools and four specialist Research Centres and Institutes


World University Rankings 

  • UNSW overall ranking - 40th in the world - QS World University Rankings 2020
  • 96th in the world - Times Higher Education (THE) World University Rankings 2019
World Rankings by Subject Area
  • Social Sciences & Management at UNSW is ranked 30th in the world
  • The subject area of Arts and Humanities is ranked in the top 50 in the world
  • Education is ranked in the top 100 in the world and top 10 in Australia
  • English Language and Literature is ranked 39th in the world and 3rd in Australia
  • History is ranked in the top 100 in the world and top 5 in Australia
  • Modern Languages is ranked in the top 100 in the world and 5th in Australia 
  • Communication and Media studies is ranked 40th in the world and 5th in Australia
  • Politics is ranked in the top 100 in the world

Excellence in Research for Australia (ERA)

The 2018 ERA results, published by the Australian Research Council, benchmark the country’s university research against international standards. The 'State of Australian University Research 2018-19' report assessed performance across broad fields and specific subject areas.

Highlights for FASS include:

  • The broad subject areas of Education and Studies in Human Society have obtained the highest rating of five, indicating research that is “well above world standard”. Only two other universities obtained the same result for studies in Human Society.
  • In specific subject areas, Studies in Creative Arts and Writing received a rating of five. UNSW is the only Australian university to be rated a five within this field of research.
  • Criminology obtained a rating of four.
  • Specialist Studies in Education, Human Society, Performing Arts and Creative Writing received a top rating of five.

In total, 13 out of 18 Faculty of Arts & Social Sciences subjects were rated at, or above, world standard rating at 72.2% overall rating.

Research fields ranked well above world standard:

  • Studies in Creative Arts and Writing
  • Historical Studies
  • Literary Studies
  • Film Studies

Research fields ranked above world standard:

  • Education
  • Studies in Human Society
  • Language, Communication and Culture
  • Philosophy and Religious Studies

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.