University of California, Irvine

School of Social Ecology

鶹 the school

School of Social Ecology

In 1970, 鶹established the nation's first school of social ecology in response to high demand for more socially relevant research. For more than 40 years, the school has been an internationally recognized pioneer in developing interdisciplinary approaches to social problems.

Faculty in the school’s —criminology, law and society; urban planning and public; and psychological science—engage in research and education to foster informed social action and make the world a better place. The school offers five undergraduate degrees, five undergraduate minors, three master's degrees and five doctorates. Students are trained to be future experts in public health and safety, community development, social psychology, urban planning and criminology, providing California with a skilled cadre of professionals who will help to make its institutions more effective.

The School of Social Ecology has marshaled its interdisciplinary expertise to focus on areas including global environmental degradation, poverty and other forms of inequality, prison overcrowding and gang violence in California, healthy child development, challenges faced by an aging population, health risks and community empowerment. These efforts have made the School of Social Ecology a national leader in applying basic theory and empirical research to a range of complex societal problems.

The school is rooted in community engagement and offers its students relevant, broad and robust curriculum. The hallmark of this commitment is the school's field study program, a requirement for all undergraduate students to complete 100 hours of service in one of more than 200 approved community agencies and organizations. This experience extends education beyond the classroom in ways that can be life-changing for students and result in significant contributions to the community.

The school hosts seven research centers, one institute and one initiative. Collectively, these centers foster interdisciplinary research, training and outreach that address complex social, legal, political and environmental problems affecting society as a whole. The innovative research programs and institutes include:

Jon Gould, Dean of the School of Social Ecology

Jon Gould is a distinguished scholar in justice policy, social change and government reform who has held key positions in the U.S. Department of Justice and the National Science Foundation. He assumed the deanship on Jan. 1, 2022.

Gould leads the nation’s first school of social ecology, established in 1970 in response to high demand for more socially relevant research. His expertise cover justice policy, social change and government reform. He was the principal investigator for the Preventing Wrongful Convictions Project, a multiyear research initiative funded by the National Institute of Justice. He is the author of five books and more than 100 articles and reports on such diverse subjects as erroneous convictions, indigent defense, prosecutorial innovation, police behavior, hate speech, sexual harassment and international human rights.

Gould has filled a range of government leadership roles, including senior policy adviser in the U.S. Department of Justice and director of the Law & Social Sciences Program at the National Science Foundation. In 2015, U.S. Chief Justice John Roberts appointed him as reporter for a committee of the federal courts evaluating the operation of the Criminal Justice Act. Gould is a fellow of the American Bar Foundation, a former U.S. Supreme Court Fellow and a former trustee of the Law & Society Association. He received the Administration of Justice Award from the U.S. Supreme Court Fellows Alumni Association in 2017.


  • Elizabeth Loftus, a Distinguished Professor of psychology & social behavior and criminology, law & society, was named one of the top 100 psychologists of the 20th century by The Review of General Psychology and is an elected member of the National Academy of Sciences.
  • The Department of Criminology, Law & Society's faculty includes three former presidents of the American Society of Criminology and is ranked by U.S. News & World Report as the nation's fifth best graduate program in criminology and the number one U.S. college for a major in criminology according to USA Today.
  • The Department of Planning, Policy & Design ranked among the top planning departments in the United States and Canada in a recent study published in the Journal of Planning Education & Research. The department ranked fifth in the number of published journal articles, seventh in the percentage of faculty who had published, and 12th for total citations to faculty research.
  • The Department of Psychology & Social Behavior is ranked by U.S. News & World Report as the nation's 30th best graduate program in psychology.
  • The school's online program for Master of Advanced Study degree in criminology, law & society is ranked as the top online graduate criminal justice program in the country by U.S. News & World Report.
  • Chancellor's Fellows – Elizabeth Cauffman, psychology & social behavior; Susan Charles, psychology & social behavior; John Hipp, criminology, law & society; Mona Lynch, criminology, law & society.
  • Chancellor's Professors – Kitty Calavita (Emerita), criminology, law & society; Chuansheng Chen, psychology & social behavior; Daniel Stokols (Emeritus), planning, policy & design and psychology & social behavior.