Faculty of Humanities, Social Sciences & Law

Faculty of Humanities, Social Sciences and Law


Welcome to the Faculty of Humanities, Social Sciences & Law (FHSSL).

The Faculty prides itself on having a mandate to prepare and provide a thorough and unique quality education experience to help its students acquire knowledge and analytical skills, thus contributing to meaningful development of the region, South Africa and neighbouring countries.

To realise its mandate, the Faculty is committed to excellence in scholarship and tuition, and to the ideals of human dignity, freedom of expression and the pursuit of knowledge that enables students to meet the growing needs of their communities and be prepared to face challenges in the changing world.

Consistent with its mandate, the Faculty further aims to equip those with an interest in community engagement with relevant scientific knowledge and skills and promote interest in and cultivate research proficiency as a precondition for developing a critical mass of scholars and researchers in the field of humanities.

The Faculty of Humanities, Social Sciences and Law strives to be a prestigious Faculty that will become a Faculty of first choice for learners, by providing reputable programmes handled by efficient professionals.

The Faculty has as its mission contribution to rural development.

Vision and Mission

The vision and mission of the faculty are aligned with the broader vision and mission of Walter Sisulu University and places emphasis on responding to the needs of the communities and alignment with regional and national imperatives.

The vision of the Walter Sisulu University namely, ‘to be a leading African comprehensive university focusing on innovative educational, research and community partnership programmes that are responsive to local, regional, national development priorities, and cognisant of continental and international imperatives‘ resonates appropriately with that of the Faculty of Humanities, Social Sciences and Law.

Faculty Programmes

The Faculty programmes are also aligned with the mission of the University which refers to “the provision of affordable, appropriate, career-focused and professional programmes that address rural development and urban renewal with primary emphasis on science, technology and development studies”.

  • The Faculty is actively involved in community engagement activities for example the Street Law programme reaches out to communities in rural areas surrounding Mthatha such as Mbekweni, Baziya, Mhlakulo as well as Ngangelizwe.
  • Communities also benefit from the Legal Aid Clinic that provides free legal advice and representation in the event that matters go to court.
  • The Department of Social Sciences has wide scope to participate in community engagement and research, and a reputation as one of a few universities with population development as its focus.
  • The same can be said of the Department of Arts which is strong on research and community engagement.
  • Social work is well-known to produce social work professionals who fulfil their social responsibility through employment in rural and urban areas alike.
  • Similarly, the role of Psychology in understanding and treatment of mental illness is well recognised.
  • With the restructured Faculty, opportunities for cooperation between the various departments of the Faculty have developed, and the faculty has identified four programme focus areas that are interlinked and complement each other in various ways and interlinked and complement each other in various ways. These are:
    • Department of Arts
    • Department of Legal Studies
    • Department of Social Sciences
    • Department of Social Work and Psychology.

  • The Department of Arts offers language, literature and cultural studies in an integrated approach.
  • These three areas are useful tools for examining purely theoretical as well as practical life problems with a view to contributes towards a transformative scholarship.
  • These approaches and strategies of enquiry are embedded in the African languages unit (isiXhosa and Sesotho), Afrikaans and English units.
  • The Department of Arts also houses History, the modern study of which is a window into the past to provide an understanding of the present-day, and how individuals, nations, and the global community might develop in future.
  • Last but not least, and closely linked to History is Geography, which is more than just the study of physical space and atmosphere but also human communities and their interaction with time and space over time.

  • The Legal Studies Department focuses on the legal systems and constitution put in place to regulate the law and exposes students to the concepts of public law, private law, international law and other spheres and sources of law.


  • The Social Sciences Department has its focus on the study of society and the relationship among individuals within the society.
  • Social science covers a wide spectrum of subjects, including criminology, political science, sociology, archaeology, anthropology, and philosophy. In comparison to other sciences, social science is able to provide insight into how science and innovation work – in effect it is the science of science. In particular, social scientists are equipped with the analytical and communication skills that are important throughout many industries and organisations.
  • Social work is the helping profession.
  • The primary mission of the social work profession is to enhance human well-being and help meet the basic and complex needs of all people, with a particular focus on those who are vulnerable, oppressed, and living in poverty.
  • Psychology is the study of the mind. The overarching goal of psychology is to understand the behaviour, mental functions, and emotional processes of human beings.
  • This field ultimately aims to benefit society, partly through its focus on a better understanding of mental health and mental illness.
  • Research and its development are emphasised by all the departments within the Faculty of Humanities, Social Sciences and Law and topics such as HIV/Aids, rural development, and Indigenous Knowledge Systems have been infused in most programmes of the Faculty.
  • In short, the Faculty is committed to the pursuit of excellence through quality teaching and learning, community engagement and research.
  • Once again, please allow me to extend a special welcome to those staff and students who are joining the Faculty for the first time this year, and for your continued success.

Prof S K Mfusi

Dean (Acting)