History of the Faculty

The former Schools of Humanities and Social Sciences were inaugural units when the University opened for business in 1964. And although Arts faculties have been around for hundreds of years, the School of Social Sciences was the first of its kind in New Zealand. Both Schools have continued to be major players not only in the education of thousands of students on and off campus, but nationally and internationally through their research and collaborative links with overseas universities and private and state organisations.

In 1998, the merger of the two Schools of Studies was proposed by the Vice-Chancellor. The purpose of the merger was to bring about synergies in teaching and research, with the possibility of further joint courses and team research; and to also bring about efficiencies; for example, the streamlining of committees and administrative roles.

January 1999 marked the culmination of the merger between the Schools of Humanities and Social Sciences into the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences. And apart from combining the 947 Humanities students with the 1,628 Social Sciences and 376 Language Institute students, a number of other changes also resulted.

These included the appointment of a single Dean to lead the Faculty forward; the merging of administrative committees and bodies; greater collaboration between disciplines in research and the teaching of papers; as well as the amalgamation of some subjects into a single department (Sociology and Social Policy), and others into a new division (Cultural and Environmental Studies).

The Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences, despite being the only Faculty on campus, also had the largest number of students at the University of Waikato with an enviable list of subjects and qualifications. These ranged from Foundation Studies, Bachelor degrees, graduate diplomas and postgraduate diplomas, Honours and Masters qualifications, through to PhD.