The Department of Sociology, University of Lagos was established in 1967, five years after the enabling Act that established the University was promulgated. Reverend Father J. B. Schuyller, Ph.D. became its first Head of Department while a crop of other notable scholars joined the faculty thereafter. Some of these were Professors Olatunde Oloko, Oladejo Okediji, P.O Olusanya, and Dr. M.I. Iro and Academician Oberu Aribiah
The vision of the founding fathers of the Department was to establish a Sociology Department where young sociologists would be trained to accomplish the goals of social transformation of society and as Professor Schuyler would say, “to put it to reverse the disenchantment of the universe’’.
Not too long after the inception of the Department, the Diploma Programme in Social Development and Administration (SDA), under which Social Work studies had since been taught, was introduced in 1969. The first coordinator was Dr. S. A. Adebagbo, a product of Manchester University, United Kingdom. He was assisted by predominantly American-trained Social Work educators such as Dr. G. Jinadu, Dr. M. W. Karanja, Miss O.P Boyo and Mr. James Eghaghe, etc. The B.Sc. Social Work programme was not established until 2007, 38 years after SDA was established. In 2013, the Social Work Unit was created by the University and in 2018, the Department recorded a ground breaking feat with the excision of Social Work from the Department of Sociology as a full and independent department
The Department of Sociology offers academic programmes at three distinct levels, namely: Diploma, Undergraduate and Post-graduate. At the Post-graduate level, the Department runs four academic programmes as follows: Master of Criminology, Master of Science (M.Sc.), Master of Philosophy (M.Phil.) and Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.). The Master of Criminology programme was introduced in 2012 to provide training and produce experts needed to address the worsening security situation in Nigeria and around the world. The programme balances theoretical perspectives with practical skills acquisition by engaging serving and retired senior personnel in the instructional faculty of the programme.
The Department publishes two academic journals: UNILAG Sociological Review (USR) and Journal of Society, Development and Public Health (JSDPH). As part of efforts to enhance academic productivity and discourse, the Department organizes a monthly Staff Seminar Series, Public Lectures and yearly Conferences/Workshops.