The school held its first lecture on 8th January 1918. The founding committee included Richard Lodge, Professor of History, James Seth, Chair of Moral Philosophy and Joseph Shield Nicholson, Professor of Political Economy. Nora Milnes was appointed Director in April 1918. From 1922 students at the school were entitled to a University Diploma and in 1928 control of the school was fully transferred to the University. The school remained under the Faculty of Arts until the creation of the Faculty of Social Sciences in the 1963/64 session.
The surviving archive includes teaching materials, prospectuses and course outlines aswell as over 1000 student admission files and a large mental health survey carried out in Dumfriesshire: