The School of Social Sciences (SOSS) is one of the six schools at the Singapore Management University (SMU), and the first institution in Singapore to offer a multidisciplinary and liberal arts education. SOSS awards the Bachelor of Social Science (BSocSc) degree upon successful completion of the four-year undergraduate programme; Masters in Tri-Sector Collaboration and PhD in Psychology for its postgraduate and research programmes respectively. BSocSc programme candidates may choose to declare a primary major in Political Science, Psychology or Sociology, and may attempt a secondary major offered by any SMU schools. Additionally, SOSS offers three majors that SMU undergraduates may attempt as a secondary major: Public Policy and Public Management (PPPM), International and Asian Studies (IAS) or Arts and Cultural Management (ACM).
SOSS is the smallest school in SMU in terms of enrolment, and is often considered the most tightly knit community in SMU. It is often referred informally within SMU as the "SOSS family" by faculty members and undergraduates.
SOSS graduates typically fare better than other Social Sciences graduates who attempted a comparable programme offered by NUS or NTU. Employment statistics published by the Ministry of Education consistently reported that SOSS graduates with a Cum Laude and above earn a higher median gross monthly salary than their counterparts from NUS or NTU, and are on par with their counterparts from the SMU Lee Kong Chian School of Business. Graduates often joins the private sector, civil service, non-governmental organisations, and advocacy groups. SOSS graduates fared well in admission to postgraduate education as well, and have been accepted in a wide range of Masters and PhD programmes in prestigious universities, including at the University of Oxford, Harvard University, London School of Economics, Erasmus University, Princeton University and Columbia University.
SOSS has also hosted distinguished academics such as Professor Ezra Vogel of Harvard University, Professor Elizabeth Perry of Harvard University, Professor John Ikenberry of Princeton University, and Professor Huang Yasheng of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, giving SOSS students the unique opportunity to tap the minds of these respected thinkers.
SOSS hosts an annual Social Sciences Conference for pre-university students in Singapore, which inaugurated in 2012. The Social Sciences Conference is a student-led event, where over 250 students from various pre-university institutions visit the SMU School of Social Sciences campus to attend interactive seminars and dialogues with SOSS faculty members, undergraduates, and industry leaders.
Originally established as the School of Economics & Social Sciences (SESS) on 1 July 2002, SESS launched the Bachelor of Science (Economics) programme, followed shortly by the Bachelor of Social Science undergraduate degree programme. Subsequently, due to expansion and strategic reasons, the SESS was restructured in 2007 into two separate schools namely, the School of Social Sciences (SOSS) and the School of Economics (SOE). The restructuring was made to allow both schools, which had encountered significant growth in student enrolment and faculty numbers, to gain greater focus on their individual strengths and develop distinctive curriculums at both the undergraduate and postgraduate levels.
Shortly after, in July 2008, the School marked the graduation of its pioneer batch of Social Science students.
The Bachelor of Social Sciences (BSocSc) undergraduate degree incorporates elements from similar programmes offered at the University of Pennsylvania and Oxford University, and is the first broad-based, multidisciplinary, and liberal arts-based social science programme to be offered in Singapore. It is a four-year meritorious honours programme consisting of both coursework as well as opportunities for faculty-supervised empirical research. Students major in one of three main disciplines - Political Science, Psychology and Sociology - with the option of doing a second major either from within another SOSS or from any of the other five schools in SMU.
SOSS is also offering three new multidisciplinary second majors from August 2012 onward - Public Policy and Public Management (PPPM); International and Asian Studies (IAS); and Arts and Cultural Management (ACM). These undergraduate majors allow students to combine theory with practice, in providing opportunities for students to interact and learn from both academics and practitioners. The PPPM is also the first such course to be offered at the undergraduate level in Singapore.
Students can also undertake a Senior Thesis under the supervision of a SOSS faculty. This allows students to stretch their research and analytical skills to their furthest, and to explore a research area of their interest in greater depth.
The School of Social Sciences offers double degree programmes, with eligible undergraduate students able to pursue a second degree with any of the other schools in SMU including programmes from Accountancy, Business Management, Economics, Information Systems Management and Law.
Admissions to SOSS are competitive, yet holistic, in looking beyond just academic indicators, such as co-curricular activities, community involvement, entrepreneurial ventures, and other personal growth stories. The admissions process culminates in an admissions interview with SOSS faculty; this helps assess if an applicant has the potential to thrive in the unique collaborative and rigorous learning environment in the school.
SOSS launched its PhD in Psychology programme in 2010. This research-based doctoral programme focuses on areas in experimental, social, personality, and organisational psychology.
Starting from the group of two faculty in 2003, the Social Sciences and Humanities faculty has grown to a total of 33 full-time faculty in 2012. Faculty members hold PhDs from top universities such as Harvard University, Yale University and the University of Michigan, and also serve as members on national councils, editors or editorial board members of prestigious scholarly journals, or are recipients of international scholarly awards. Their views and opinions on major current issues are also frequently sought after and featured in the media.
Professor David Chan was made a Fellow at the American Psychological Association (APA) and is the first in Asia to receive Elected Fellow status from all four international associations of psychology (i.e., IAAP, SIOP, APS, APA). He is also the Director of the Behavioural Sciences Institute at SMU.
Professor Ann Florini has been a Senior Fellow at the Brookings Institution since 2002, and was previously the Director of the Centre on Asia and Globalisation at the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy.
Professor Norman Li has researched extensively on evolutionary psychology and in particular on the psychology of mating, and was awarded the Lee Kuan Yew Fellow for Research Excellence in 2011 for his work.
Professor Kirpal Singh is a well-known figure in local, regional, and international literary circles, having been invited to perform at numerous international arts festivals, and written extensively on literature and creativity.
Professor Margaret Chan is best known for her role as the titular character in Emily of Emerald Hill. She teaches classes on theatre, scriptwriting and drama, as well as on her research in Chinese spirit medium worship and Chinese popular religion.
Student life within SOSS is vibrant with a majority of students actively participating in school and university activities. SOSS students often hold key positions within the university's Student Association, SMUSA, as well as within the various sports, outdoor activity and special interest clubs. Within the SOSS itself, students are represented by the SMU Social Sciences Student Society, otherwise known as SOSCIETY. It organises signature annual cohesion events such as the Freshmen Camp and Professors' Day.