The Faculty of Social Sciences (FSS) at the UWI, Mona officially began in June of 1960, with 38 students reading for a BSc. Economics and 30 students reading for Economics as part of the BA General Degree. Its mission was to develop an indigenous perspective on the problems which impeded the development of Caribbean societies or in the words of Sir Arthur Lewis to ‘free the university from its elitist moorings’. Professor H. Dudley Huggins served as Dean for the academic year 1960-1961.
Despite the Faculty having an official start date of 1960, the study of Social Sciences actually started in 1949 with research activities in the Institute of Social and Economic Research (ISER). ISER was in operation for approximately 6 years before the teaching of Economics began in 1955 as an optional subject for the BA General Degree. In 1985 the Consortium Graduate School of Social Sciences was opened and later merged with ISER in August 1999, to form the Sir Arthur Lewis Institute of Social and Economic Studies (SALISES).
At the inception of the FSS there were two departments ― Economics and Government. In keeping with the tradition of the London School of Economics, students could specialize in either Government or Economics. By 1961 the Department of Sociology formally began operating and students were given another discipline in which they could specialize. For a number of years Social Work was offered as a certificate programme in the Department of Government; however, in 1964 it was transferred to the Department of Sociology. Later, in 1985, Academic Board approved a name change to the Department of Sociology and Social Work so that the department’s name could better reflect the array of programmes offered. In 2002 there was another name change to the Department of Sociology, Psychology and Social Work (SPSW) thus formally recognizing the burgeoning discipline of Psychology.
In 1971, the Department of Management Studies began offering programmes in Management and Business. In 1987 a joint Management Education programme was started by The University of the West Indies, Mona and the United States Agency for International Development (USAID). In 1990 the programme became known as the Mona Institute of Business and was renamed the Mona School of Business in 2001. A merger of both the Department of Management Studies and the Mona School of Business occurred in 2012, leading to the creation of the Mona School of Business and Management (MSBM).
The FSS, UWI, Mona currently offers over 50 undergraduate and graduate level degrees. The FSS comprises seven departments at Mona: Economics, Government, MSBM, SALISES, SPSW, the UWI Centre for Hotel and Tourism Management located in The Bahamas and the Centre for Disability Studies. The FSS also operates a Weekend School and offers courses at the UWI, Mona Western Jamaica Campus. Since its inception the Faculty has had a total of 15 Deans, two serving twice. Like its Mona counterpart the Faculty of Social Sciences at St. Augustine also began in 1960; however, the Faculty of Social Sciences Cave Hill started in 1975.