The Department of Social Sciences contributes to the top-level international field of research of Borders, Mobilities and Cultural Encounters (BOMOCULT), defined in the 2015–2020 strategy of the University of Eastern Finland, and in the emerging fields of research of Effectiveness in Healthcare and Social Services (EF-FEC) and Welfare Ruptures: Recognising Uncertainties, Finding Solutions (WR).
From the perspective of its research traditions, the department's key fields of research are 1) welfare, 2) education, training and work, 3) migration, multiculturalism and borders and questions related to 4) social work. The department focuses its research on social questions and development challenges typical of Eastern Finland. The significance of gender is examined in all of the fields of research.
The department primarily allocates resources to research in the areas mentioned above. Where possible, scientists and post-graduate students will also be supported in high-quality research conducted in other fields, if this will open new territory. The fields of research are not hermetic, and the department supports new and innovative research frames born where fields of research intersect.