National Institute for the Humanities and Social Sciences (NIHSS)

Contact Details

Postal Postnet Suite 413, Private Bag X30500, Houghton, 2041
Physical 2nd Floor, 24 St Andrews Street, Parktown, Johannesburg
Tel 011 480 2300


The National Institute for the Humanities and Social Sciences (NIHSS) was formally established on 5 December 2013 as the result of extensive work towards drafting the 2011 Charter for the Humanities and Social Sciences.

The overall mandate of the NIHSS is to develop and set up the institutional and logistical framework for the envisioned higher education institution for the Humanities and Social Sciences (HSS). The role of the Institute is, broadly, to enhance and support the HSS in South Africa and beyond, and to advise government and civil society on HSS-related matters. It does so through its various programmes, including the Catalytic Projects, the Doctoral Schools and the African Pathways Programme, and through supporting the DHET in the implementation of the proposed corrective interventions. In addition, the NIHSS envisions a tertiary education system serving as an equal partner with centres of excellence in the Global North and the Global South in the world’s knowledge production and dissemination.​

Further functions of the NIHSS include: providing services to the higher education sphere within the HSS; advancing learning within its specific scope or application by ensuring collaboration or collaboration of the work of higher education institutions; and advising the Minister on matters relating to its specific scope or application, or to higher education generally.

Overseeing Department/Entity

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