Dean's Welcome

Professor Duncan Ivison

Welcome to the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences at the University of Sydney. We have an outstanding reputation for our teaching and research in the humanities and social sciences. Our ambition is to be one of the leading liberal arts faculties in the world and we are well on track to becoming just that. In 2013, the Faculty was ranked among the top faculties of its kind in the world in both the Times Higher Education Supplement and the QS World University Rankings.

Our passion is ideas. For over 160 years, our students and staff have been thinking, writing, and arguing about ideas and their consequences. Take any issue that you really care about – whether it is global poverty, climate change, social and economic reform, reconciliation, or even the nature of beauty – and lying beneath all the spin and froth of everyday debate are fundamental ideas and concepts that require rigorous analysis and careful reasoning. We want you to join us in this pursuit.

Students come to University with many different ambitions. Our fundamental objective is to help you think more clearly, rigorously and expansively than you ever have before. Whatever particular discipline or program of study you eventually pursue – and we offer more choices than just about any other Faculty of its kind in Australia – we want you to leave us with the intellectual skills to not only succeed in life, but gain meaning and value from it as well.

In 2014, we are delighted to be offering a completely refreshed set of undergraduate majors – after an extensive curriculum review - with clearer pathways and progression that will provide you with the breadth and depth we know students value in a truly liberal arts education. And we are also excited to be launching 5 new postgraduate programs – in International Relations, Economic Analysis, Art Curating, English Studies and Museum and Heritage.

Of course, you are also concerned with gaining an education that prepares you for life beyond university. Our degrees will provide the foundations upon which your future career(s) will be built. You might go on to enrol in one of our excellent postgraduate programs, or train for a professional degree. Whatever path you take, what people value most is working with someone who has a well-trained mind – someone with intellectual autonomy, but who can also collaborate and communicate effectively.

I hope you will also take advantage of the extraordinary range of activities available at the University of Sydney outside of the classroom – there are opportunities to join a vast array of clubs and societies, develop your leadership skills and travel and study abroad.

You’ll be joining a large, diverse and vibrant student body, made up of more than 10,000 undergraduates and postgraduates. The Faculty also has over 600 staff and a range of support services, all of which are here to help you realise your ambitions. This website is a good place to start to find out more about what we do.

We look forward to you joining us soon.

Duncan Ivison
Professor of Political Philosophy
Dean, Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences