In June 2000, the National Parliament passed a Bill to amend the University Act (Chapter 169) and its Statutes, which gave effect to the implementation of the restructure, that resulted in the establishment of Schools in January 2001. Academic departments were de-established, Strands were created, and Strand Coordinators appointed. Single School offices were established to support the respective Strands under them.

The focus of the restructure was to enhance the operations of the whole university by fostering interdisciplinary and interschool relationships in the interest of the core business of education, research, scholarship, and service.

In November 2000, the University of Papua New Guinea Council approved the amalgamation of the School of Humanities and the School of Social Sciences. The amalgamation of the two schools occurred on 15 January 2001 together with the other actions implied in the restructure document, relating to the disbanding of departments and the creation of a single School office to support the work of the School.

By 2014, the School of Humanities and Social Sciences had been in existence for thirteen years. The School is the largest of the five Schools, and there are fourteen Strands in the School: Anthropology, Sociology & Archaeology; Creative Arts; History, Gender Studies and Philosophy; Journalism and Public Relations; Information Communication Science; Linguistics and Modern Languages; Literature and English Communication; Political Science; Psychology; and Social Work. The School also houses a research centre, Melanesia and Pacific Studies (MAPS), and the Melanesian Institute of Arts and Communication (MIAC).

The Core business of the School of Humanities and Social Sciences is to:

  • Produce high-level, trained manpower in the fields of Anthropology and Sociology, Archaeology, Creative Arts, History, Gender Studies, Philosophy, Journalism and Public Relations, Information Communication Sciences, Linguistics and Modern Languages, Literature and English Communication, Political Science, Psychology, and Social Work;
  • Conduct research; and
  • Provide advisory services to stakeholders in the public and private sectors, civil society, and the community. The School is recognised as the leading teaching and research school in the area of humanities and social sciences in PNG and the Pacific Region.