Established originally as the Department of Liberal and General Studies in 1963, the Faculty of Social Sciences was established in 1971 for the purpose of providing service courses in the University including Economics, English, French, Geography, History, Law and Sociology. Its first Dean was the late Professor Nii Amon Kotei. This was after his return to the University from the Northwestern University in the United State of America for a PhD (English) degree, on study leave.
There were four departments under the Faculty from its beginnings and these were:
(a) Department of General and African Studies
(b) Department of Languages
(c) Department of Economics and Industrial Management, and
(d) Department of Land Economy.
The Department of General and African Studies (GAS) had five sections under it. These were History, Geography, Law, Sociology and African Studies. There were sectional heads for all the four sections but the African Studies was managed for the University by The Head of GAS. The African Studies was a service course for all students and it was required for any first degree awarded by the University. It was equivalent to the African Studies course offered by the Institute of African Studies, to all first degree students, at the University of Ghana.
The Department of Languages had two sections and these were English and French. As the name suggests, the Department of Economics and Industrial Management also had two sections and these were Economics for undergraduate students and Industrial Management which was a postgraduate diploma course.
In 2002, the Academic Board and the University Council approved the establishment of the Faculty of Law, and so the Law section from the Department of General and African Studies (GAS) was moved out to form the basis of the new Faculty of Law. The Department of Land Economy also moved from the Social Sciences Faculty to join the Department of Land Administration and Research Centre (LARC) to start the Institute of Land Management and Development.
In January 2005, KNUST was re-organised into Colleges to allow for greater academic and administrative autonomy. There were six of such Colleges and Social Sciences was placed under the College of Art and Social Sciences. The rest were College of Agriculture and Natural Resources, College of Architecture and Planning, College of Engineering, College of Science and College of Health Sciences. The College of Art and Social Sciences had four Faculties consisting KNUST School of Business, the Faculty of Law, Faculty of Social Sciences and Faculty of Art. The departments under Faculty of Social Sciences were equally reviewed thus History and Political Studies; Geography and Rural Development; English; Economics and Modern Languages made up of French and Akan. Later, the Academic Board and Council approved the establishment of the Department of Religious Studies as a department of the Faculty.
The Faculty runs undergraduate programmes leading to a Bachelor of Art Degree in relevant disciplines. It also conducts research in areas of Social Sciences and humanities leading to MSc/MA/MPhil/ PhD degrees.
The Faculty also runs introductory courses in Chinese Language, as a Minor Course, for students in the undergraduate degree programmes of the Faculty.
In 2013 the Academic Board reviewed and re-organised the colleges of the University and placed the Faculty of Art under the College Architecture and Planning. The College of Art and Social Sciences thereafter became the College of Humanities and Social Sciences.
The Faculty of Social Sciences has had 13 Deans, since its establishment in 1971. They are:
- Professor Nii Amon Kotei 1971 – 1979
- Professor Ebenezer Acquaye 1979 - 1983
- Mr. A.Y.A. Asante 1983 - 1984
- Professor Albert Owusu Sarpong 1984 - 2001
- Professor Albert A. Sackey 2001 - 2003
- Professor Stephen K. Okleme 2003 - 2005
- Dr. Lawrence Tufour 2005 - 2006
- Dr. Fredericka Dadson 2009 - 2007
- Professor Ohene-Manu 2007 - 2011
- Dr. Kofi Osei Akuoko 2011 – 2013
- Mr. Joseph AppiaH-Nkrumah 2013 - 2014
- Rev. Dr. Nathaniel I. Samwini 2014 – 2015
- Professor Kofi Osei Akuoko 2015 – 2016
- Professor Charles O. Marfo 2016 - 2018
- Professor Eugenia Amporfu 2018 - 2020
With a current student population of about 6,095, representing 5,745 undergraduate student and 350 graduate students, the Faculty has the largest number of students (Regular) in the University, accounting for about 11% of the students’ population. The breakdown is as follows:
Year 1 1,455 MSC 190
Year 2 1,905 MPhil 117
Year 3 1040 PhD 45
Year 4 1,343 Sub-total 352
Sub-total 5,743 Grant Total 6,095