School of Social and Behavioral Sciences



Nanjing University’s School of Social and Behavioral Sciences (SSBS) was established in October 2008 on the basis of Department of Sociology.

SSBS offers three undergraduate programs under three departments: Sociology, Psychology, and Social Work and Social Policy. It has four master programs under these three departments and under the Social Anthropology Institute, which focuses on demography, anthropology, fundamental psychology and applied psychology.

In addition, SSBS’ Education Center for Master of Social Work (MSW Center) offers a course-based master program--Master of Social Work.

SSBS offers one Ph.D. in sociology program, where Ph.D. students study in the departments of psychology, social work and social policy, and in the Social Anthropology Institute, based on their research interests. SBSS also provides postdoctoral positions for PhD holders.

During the over-100-year development of Nanjing University, programs such as Sociology, Psychology, Anthropology and Social Work have a long historical standing.

The current Department of Sociology originates from the department of sociology established in 1928 at Nantional Central University and that established in 1930 at Jinling University.

The Department of Psychology stems from the department established in 1920 at Nanjing Higher Normal School (which was changed into National Southeast University in 1921 and National Central University in 1927).

The Social Anthropology Institute derives from the departments of sociology and boundary administration built in 1928 at National Central University.

The Department of Social Work and Social Policy, like the Department of Sociology, finds its origin in relative disciplines in the sociology departments of Central University and Jinling University.

After 1949, due to political and geographical reasons, these departments and disciplines, either cancelled (such as sociology) or relocated (such as psychology), successively disappeared in Nanjing University.

Since Nanjing University re-established its Department of Sociology in 1988, especially since 2001, reconstruction of departments and disciplines such as psychology, anthropology and social work has been the university’s academic mission. Of all measures taken, the establishment of Social Psychology Institute in 1993, the Social Anthropology Institute in 2002, and the Social Policy Institute in 2006 were key milestones. The 20-year (1998-2008) development of Department of Sociology and the establishment of the aforementioned three institutes have paved groundwork for the establishment of SSBS.

SSBS has an excellent faculty in psychology, anthropology, social work, social policy, demography, and sociology. Currently it has 47 full-time faculty members, of whom 18 are professors, 23 are associate professors and 6 are assistant professors. On the faculty, two are full-time international colleagues, and 16 graduated from reputed universities from US, UK, Germany, and Japan. There are also two part-time professors and four full-time research fellows with Ph.D. degrees.

On the faculty, there is one member of the State Council’s sociology appraisal group, one deputy director of the Ministry of Education’s sociology instruction committee, one “nationally renowned teacher,” one “renowned teacher overseas” by the Ministry of Education, two Distinguished Yangtse River Scholar Professors, two Nanjing University Distinguished Professors, one Nanjing University Yixing Chair Professos, four with the “governmental special allowances,” and five professors and associate professors selected into the “new-century talent” program of the Ministry of Education.

Since 2012, SSBS has made tremendous progress in teaching and research conditions with the generous donation of 24,000,000 yuan RMB by Mr. Cao Dewang , “China’s top philanthropist” and chairman of Fuyao Group. It has now two buildings with 105,000 square meters in total. In the buildings, there are two fieldwork bases for social surveys with 65 computers, an advanced telephone survey system with 25 IDD telephones, a reference room with 30,000 Chinese books and 3,000 English books, a “Sun Benwen-Pan Shu Speech Hall” with 250 seats, over 10 seminar rooms, and a “Jiangsu Province-Nanjing University Social and Behavioral Sciences Experimental Center” (under construction).

Currently, the student body includes over 260 undergraduate students, over 290 master and Ph.D. students.

SSBS’ faculty vigorously participates in various activities at home and abroad in social studies, and in social and economic development, earning high academic reputations and social honor for itself and for the university.



Department of Sociology

The Department of Sociology has a long history. It started out as the sociology departments at National Central University (1928) and Jinling University. The founder was Professor Sun Benwen , famous sociologist and director of the Higher Education Department of the Central Government of the Republic of China. It also originated from the psychology department of Nanjing Higher Normal School (1920), and its founder was Professor Ke Xiangfeng.

In 1983, 30 years after sociology was dissolved, Nanjing University established a sociology research office, which set up its master’s in sociology program in 1986, and the university thus became one of the first comprehensive universities to have re-established the discipline.

The Department of Sociology was set up in 1988. In 1996, Nanjing University became the third university in China to confer doctoral degrees in sociology, after Peking University and Renmin University.

Jiangsu Province Government confirmed Sociology in Nanjing University as “Jiangsu Key Discipline” in 2001, thus settling its crucial status in China.

The first head of the Department was Professor Song Linfei , the second was Professor Zhou Xiaohong, the third was Professor Feng Xiaotian, and the present is Professor Zhai Xuewei .


Department of Psychology

The Department of Psychology used to be a department of Nanjing Higher Normal School. Established in 1920 with a psychological lab, it was the first psychology department in China.

In 1921, as the normal school was converted to a university, the name was changed into Department of Psychology, National Southeast University, lying under the discipline of education and belonging to both sciences and liberal arts.

After 1927, National Southeast University was named National Central University. Mr. Pan Shu graduated from the United States and came back to China as an associate professor of psychology. Half a year later, he was promoted to a full professor and director of Department of Psychology.

In 1949, when Central University became Nanjing University, Pan Shu  was the president.

In 1956, the department of psychology moved to Beijing and, together with the psychology research office of Chinese Academy of Sciences, constituted psychology research institute of Chinese Academy of Sciences, Pan Shu  moved along and attended as its president. By then, Nanjing University’s psychology department ceased operation.

In 1993, Nanjing University Department of Sociology established first social psychology research institute among Chinese universities. Professor Zhou Xiaohong  was the first director, and Professor Zhai Xuewei  was the second. From then till now, the institute has been classified into Nanjing University Social and Cultural Research Center.

In 2007, psychological major was launched for bachelor and master degrees. In 2008, when Department of Sociology was transformed into School of Social and Behavioral Sciences, Department of Psychology, which had been suspended for 50 years, restored. It now has one undergraduate program—psychology, and two research master programs—theoretical psychology and applied psychology. Professor Zhai Xuewei  was the first head of the department, and Professor Zhou Renlai  is the incumbent.


Department of Social Work and Social Policy

Social work major in Nanjing University has a long historical standing. Its history dated back to social work junior college of Central University in 1928 and Jinling University, which was the heartland of domestic theory and practice on social work. In May, 2001, social work educating and researching office was built. After social work major was approved by Ministry of Education, it started to offer undergraduate program. In October, 2008, Department of Social Work and Social Policy came into being. Restored social work major drives education and fieldwork by research, equips talents with solid theoretical knowledge, sophisticated social work skills and social survey capability, and provides specialists who are dedicated to jobs in social security, social policy study, social administrative management, social development and management, social service, planning and consulting, evaluation and operation for many industries. For instance, governmental organizations in education, civil affairs, labor personnel, social security, P.E., family planning, culture and hygiene; groups such as Communist Youth League, labor union, women’s federation; news and media including newspaper, broadcasting, and network; corporation like insurance company; consulting service industry; NGO organizations in social welfare, service and public welfare. Professor Chen Youhua is the first and current head of the department.


Institute of Social Anthropology

Founded in Feb., 2015, institute of Social Anthropology at Nanjing University now has seven faculty members. Though the institute is set up lately, Central University and Jinling University, predecessors of Nanjing University, were active in anthropological research and education. Such heatedly researched topics as urban-rural social studies, nationality and ethnic group studies in the institute today inherit the old tradition. However, on the other side, new topics are explored, for instance, environment and social change, cognitive anthropology, civil rights and civil awareness.

Professor Ke Fan, the founding and current director of the institute, together with his colleagues, graduated from prestigious universities and receives systemic and rigorous academic training. The institute started to offer research master program in 2005, and began to help training Ph.D. students in 2006. Presently, there are 13 master candidates and seven doctoral candidates studying in the Institute, and it has seven graduated Ph.D.’s and 35 graduated Master’s in the past years.  


Heren Building, Xianlin Campus, Nanjing University, No. 163, Xianlin Avenue, Qixia District, Nanjing, Jiangsu.


Tel: +86-25-89680951/ 89680952

Fax: +86-25-89680951

For more information visit the school's website


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