The Tata Institute of Social Sciences (TISS) was established in 1936, as the Sir Dorabji Tata Graduate School of Social Work. The first school of social work in India, TISS was a pioneering effort with the objective of Social Welfare through academic excellence, a characteristic of the Sir Dorabji Tata Trust (SDTT). Its establishment was the result of the decision of the Trustees of the SDTT to accept Dr. Clifford Manshardt’s vision of a post-graduate school of social work of national stature that would engage in a continuous study of Indian social issues and problems and impart education in social work to meet the emerging need for trained human power. This subsequently influenced the direction of social work education and social research in India. In 1944, the Sir Dorabji Tata Graduate School of Social Work was renamed as the Tata Institute of Social Sciences. The year 1964 was an important landmark in the history of the Institute, when it was recognized as a Deemed University by the University Grants Commission (UGC) of India.
Today, the TISS is a Government of India Institution and has earned recognition as an Institution of Repute from different Ministries of the Government of India, various State Governments, international agencies such as the United Nations, and the non-government sector, both national and international. This is due to the academic freedom leading to a positive work ethos and creativity in the Institute, strong linkages among education, research, field action and dissemination and the social commitment and responsiveness to varying social needs.