About the School of Social Sciences

The School of Social Sciences is a multidisciplinary School. The disciplines and areas of study (opens in a new window) that make up the School of Social Sciences are amongst the most exciting and important in the contemporary university. At Western Sydney University they include:

  • Anthropology
  • Community Welfare and Social Work
  • Criminology
  • Geography and Urban Planning
  • Heritage
  • Humanitarian and Development Studies
  • Policing
  • Social Science
  • Sociology
  • Therapy Studies
  • Tourism Studies

While diverse in our focus and skillsets, by the nature of our disciplines our staff share a common interest in the human condition and social justice. Across our curricula and embedded in our research is an intrinsic need to understand human behaviour and what it takes to build better societies.

As a School, we have a reputation for excellence and impact in research – which is recognised by global rankings. From our ground-breaking work on green infrastructure, to challenging heteronormativity to humanitarian response, rehabilitation and development – we are committed to encouraging and supporting research that makes a positive difference to society, and equally dedicated to ensuring those strengths are translated into research-led teaching.

We deliver 25 undergraduate and postgraduate degrees to more than 4,000 students across four campuses – Parramatta South, Parramatta City, Liverpool, and Penrith. To our students, we offer frameworks to innovate, think critically, and independently evaluate the shifting social worlds around them. This instils the skills that our graduates need, to pursue social justice and social change consciously and ethically within their chosen fields.

As a School, we believe that true equity is born from individuals having power and agency, and an ability to influence decisions that impact their own futures. In our teaching, we apply the principle of ‘the learner as the expert’ and are committed to applying a ‘flipped’ model of curricula design, in which students are treated as partners and have the power to influence and shape the content that they consume through co-design.

Our domestic students come from a wide range of culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds and our international students come to us from Europe, Africa, the Middle East, South Asia, East Asia, Southeast Asia, and the Pacific region.  We value the rich diversity of our student cohort and draw upon their intercultural strengths and connections to their communities.

In our communities – both in Greater Western Sydney and beyond our national borders – we are committed to contributing to social, cultural, political, and environmental change, and to building mutual capacity and capability in marginalised, disadvantaged, and diasporic groups.

A key strength of our School is our commitment to building and nurturing relationships with Australia’s Indigenous communities. Following the launch of our School of Social Sciences Indigenous Strategy (2020-2025), we succeeded in reaching population parity in our Indigenous staff and student cohorts in 2020, and we now have a focused objective of building the proportion of Indigenous staff and students in our School and ensuring that Indigenous students have the same retention outcomes as non-Indigenous students.

The School offers courses and specialisations that are underpinned by the latest research and provide students with the skills and knowledge to work in a range of professional and vocational fields. The School is a member of the Council for the Humanities, Arts and Social Sciences (opens in a new window)(CHASS), International Association of the Schools of Social Work (opens in a new window)(IASSW), Planning Institute of Australia (opens in a new window) (PIA), the Council for Australian University Tourism and Hospitality Education (opens in a new window)(CAUTHE), Australian Council for International Development (opens in a new window)(ACFID). Individual staff are members of a number of significant national and international professional associations.