Exposure to severe or persistent social stress may lead to the development of psychiatric disorders such as anxiety and depression. These mood disorders are associated with structural alterations of neural architecture in limbic brain regions that control emotion, mood and cognition. Structural remodeling may either be a sign of successful adaptation, or of failure to do so. In neuropsychiatric disorders like depression structural remodeling involves apoptosis, reduced neurogenesis, and structural remodeling of neuronal dendrites which most likely reflects the latter. Here we review key findings from animal models of psychosocial stress that have been used to gain insights into the relation between stress-related behavioral disorders like depression and structural plasticity. Specifically, we focus on models having a high face validity like social defeat stress in the resident-intruder paradigm and chronic stress of social subordination in social housing conditions. Moderate to severe social stress appears to stimulate plasticity and neuronal growth in regions of the amygdala, whereas the effects in the hippocampus and prefrontal cortex tend to be opposite. A major focus of the current review is to characterize social stress induced structural changes in these brain regions, aiming to provide insight in pathways and factors that underlie behavioral effects of stress and depression.