Community psychology is an interdisciplinary field that draws on psychology, sociology, public health, and other fields to improve the lives of people in their communities through a combination of research and action. In the United States, it was born out of the 1965 Swampscott Conference, where psychologists were increasingly questioning the value of individual-focused treatments for mental health, and sought more community-based solutions. Today, Community Psychology and Community Psychologists address a wide range of issues that still include mental health, but also include violence against women, public education, community economic development, health disparities, and others.
The Ecological-Community Psychology Program at Michigan State University is the oldest Community Psychology program in the United States, with nationally and internationally recognized core faculty, and graduate alumni working in universities and communities around the country. We are committed to working alongside communities to address the issues they find most pressing. Our approach to community research and action emphasizes the relationship between individuals and the larger systems in which they are embedded. Our graduate program involves a combination of community-based practical experience, classroom-based instruction, and collaborative research to equip students with cutting-edge methods and theories for creating community change.
While our faculty and graduate students maintain individual and collaborative research projects, these coalesce around a few strengths that make our program distinctive: