The Department of Social Sciences encompasses historical sciences, ethnology, archaeology, law, sociology, political sciences, philosophy, economy, and demography.
Research is carried out at the following research units: the Institute for Historical and Social Sciences in Zagreb (and its historical sciences, archaeology, ethnology, and economic research divisions); the Institutes for Historical Sciences in Rijeka, Pula, Zadar and Dubrovnik; the Adriatic Institute in Zagreb; the Juraj Križanić Cabinet of Legal, Political and Sociological Sciences in Zagreb; and interdisciplinary institutes: the Institute for Scientific and Artistic Work in Split, the Institute for Scientific Work in Osijek, and the Institute for Scientific Work in Varaždin.
Since the department's beginning, a number of very distinguished members in the field of historical, legal, philosophical, and economic sciences have contributed to its work. This list includes Franjo Rački, Tadija Smičiklas,Vjekoslav Klaić, Grga Novak, Albert Bazala, Baltazar Bogišić, Juraj Andrassy,Fran Vrbanić, and Mijo Mirković, as well as several corresponding members, including the Nobel Laureates John Kenneth Galbraith, Jan Tinbergen andHerbert Simon.
The Department is in charge of the following scientific projects, the majority of which engage in long-term research: The History of Istria; The History of the Ragusan Republic; The History of Dalmatia; Romanization and Christianization of the Croatian Continent; The Early Greek Inscriptions in the Area of the Eastern Adriatic; The Christianization of Rural Areas in Northern Dalmatia; The History of Croatian Mediaeval Law; The General Theory of Legal and Social Regulation;The Publication of the Collected Works of Fran Petrić (Petris); The Study of Demographic History on the Territory of the Republic of Croatia; The Scientific Valorisation of the Cultural Heritage of Salona; A Dictionary of Croatian Legal and Administrative Terms from the Early Nineteenth Century to the Present. The research group Law and Society-Fundamental Research is active within the department. The department is active within the project entitled Modernisation of the Law, while in co-operation with all other departments of the Academy, work is underway on the project entitled Croatia - Determinants and Directions.