The mission statement of the Department of Social Sciences adheres to the scientific university tradition, in which teaching is based on research. The department makes use of a dialogue between different fields, looking for fresh and unique approaches to the challenges of social research. The research conducted by the department is internationally acclaimed and socially significant. The department's scientists participate analytically and critically in social dialogue as well as several international research and postgraduate studies networks.

The research conducted in the department is free, open and public, and its results are intended equally for scientists, citizens, authorities and NGOs. The department's research policy emphasises equality and scientific freedom, both as the ethical grounds for research and as starting points for research practices and recruitment. In addition to the principles outlined above, the department's research strategy is based on two premises:

1) The research traditions of its academic subjects
2) The strategic research policies of the University of Eastern Finland

The relevance of social research primarily arises from four factors. These are 1) the participation of faculty in social debate within their area of expertise and publications on popular forums; 2) training experts and professionals for the diverse tasks in working life; 3) introducing new models of thought and action to professional practices such as the institution of education, working life, multiculturalism work, social work and welfare services; and 4) participation in the planning, decision-making and implementation related to reforms and in international discussion in these areas.