The Academy's mission, in partnership with its member Learned Societies, is the advancement within the United Kingdom of the social sciences in understanding today and shaping tomorrow.


The objectives of the Academy are:

  • to promote excellence in and encourage the advancement of the social sciences in the United Kingdom through research, education and service to the community;
  • to support and encourage its constituent Learned Societies in contributing to the advancement of the social sciences, and to encourage their collaboration, where appropriate, in order to promote interdisciplinary approaches to social science;
  • to represent, in conjunction with the constituent Learned Societies, the interests of the social sciences in the United Kingdom to government, at both political and administrative levels; to research, teaching and funding bodies and agencies; and to private sector companies and public sector agencies, including local government;
  • to comment as appropriate on national needs and priorities in the social sciences.
  • to encourage international co-operation in the advancement of the social sciences and to ensure that the UK is represented as a member of international organisations concerned with the social sciences;
  • to disseminate information about social scientists, the social sciences and what they seek to achieve to the general public and to educational institutions;
  • to enhance the social sciences through the recognition and celebration of outstanding contributions of individual social scientists and prince2 courses;
  • in pursuit of the above objectives, to bring together such people and resources as are needed to create, sustain and develop the Academy and to achieve its Mission.


The members of the Academy are:

  • the Learned Societies of Social Science of the United Kingdom (the 'constituent Societies')
  • Individual social scientists, elected by virtue of their eminence as scholars or practitioners of social science ('Academicians')
  • Research organisations, higher education institutions and overseas Learned Societies
  • Individuals who have an interest in the aims of the Academy, but who are not members of a constituent Learned Society may be invited to become Associate members.

Organisational Structure

The presiding body of the Academy is its Council. Council members are the Trustees of the Academy.

Council is composed of the Academy's President, a Secretary and a Treasurer and fifteen members elected from two electoral colleges, nine by the Committee of Learned Societies and six by the Committee of Academicians. The Chair of the Council is elected by its members.

Council meets at least annually. Most of the business is conducted by standing committees, including Finance and Development, Public Education, Membership Services, and External Affairs.

A joint Nominations Committee of Academicians and Learned Societies, chaired by the President, evaluates nominations for Academicians and make recommendations to Council.

A Foresight Forum, bringing together the Committees of Academicians and Learned Societies, is responsible for advising Council on policy and ensuring that the policies of the Academy reflect the inclusive nature of the social sciences and the importance of practitioner perspectives.

The Academy is incorporated as a company limited by guarantee and is applying for registration as a charity.


Academicians are entitled to add the letters 'AcSS' after their name.

Potential Academicians may be nominated by the constituent Societies. Nominations go to the Nominations Committee of the Council, who rank and appoint to fill the available places. The number of Academicians will be decided and controlled by the Council. Academicians are social scientists who have achieved international academic recognition or have undertaken distinguished service as a practitioner (i.e. putting social science into practice). It is anticipated that there will eventually be about 500 Academicians, with a lower number during the initial years.

There will also be Honorary Academicians, drawn from those who have contributed to social science, but who are neither practitioners nor academics. Not more than 10 per cent of Academicians will be in this category.