Established in 1950, Addis Ababa University is the oldest and largest higher education institution in Ethiopia. The University has made a remarkable contribution to the country through provision of trained manpower, research and community services. The service it has rendered in the training of high level skilled manpower and professionals in various key areas of development is unprecedented, and yet shines everyday as it stood the only University for decades. Its role and impact in the country’s progress in various spheres of development is far-reaching. It currently runs 65 undergraduate and 220 graduate programs (of which 69 are PhD) in 14 campuses. It has a population of about 50,000 students pursuing their studies in regular and extension programs, and 2000 academic and over 5,000 support staff.
University training in sociology and social anthropology in Ethiopia began in 1951 when Addis Ababa University (AAU) was known as the University College of Addis Ababa. In the early 1950s, the two disciplines were first taught as sub-components of freshman introductory courses. The first department under the name ‘Sociology and Social Anthropology’ was established in 1962 within the then Faculty of Arts. It was renamed Applied Sociology in 1978/9, Sociology and Social Administration in 1983/4, and Sociology and Social Anthropology (SOSA) in 2002/3. Until its separation in Fall 2008, the Department SOSA offered a joint sociology and social anthropology undergraduate program (regular and evening), and two separate MA programs – one in sociology and the other in social anthropology. In Fall 2008, the Department evolved into two independent departments: sociology and social anthropology.