Social Psychology

Social Justice

The social psychology graduate program at UCSC has a unique mission and focus. We use Kurt Lewin's model of "full-cycle" (theory-application-action) social psychology to study a broad range of topics related to social justice. Our students learn to apply psychological theories and data to the analysis and solution of a wide range of social problems. Knowledge gained in action-oriented research leads, in turn, to the development of new theory. We examine justice-related issues in different cultural, political, and policy contexts, through a variety of research methods. Our students are trained in laboratory, field, and survey methods; they are encouraged to attend to issues of race, class, sexuality, ethnicity, gender, and physical ableness, and are steeped in critical theoretical perspectives such as feminist theory. Our graduates go on to successful careers in academia as well as in community, government, and non-profit settings. Our approach to research and training, combined with the quality and competencies of our faculty, make our program among the nation's best for the psychological study of social justice issues. 

A Brief History of Social Psychology at UC Santa Cruz (PDF)

Research Interests of the Faculty
  • Educational access
  • Sexuality
  • Poverty and economic justice
  • Psychology and law
  • Aggression and trauma
  • Peace psychology
  • Intergroup relations
  • Social identity
  • Social policy analysis
  • Structural inequality
  • Intersectionality
  • Political psychology
  • Feminisms

Faculty Members Focusing on Social Psychology

Heather E. Bullock

Shelly A. Grabe

Phillip L. Hammack

Craig W. Haney

Regina D. Langhout

Eileen L. Zurbriggen