Psychology scholarships help pay for the costs of earning a degree in the field. Scholarships do not require repayment, making them one of the best options for students seeking aid. A variety of organizations and schools award scholarships based on financial need, merit, diversity, and other criteria. Depending on each scholarship’s rules, students may use the award to pay for tuition and fees, textbooks, housing, and cost of living.
Due to the rising cost of higher education, most psychology students need help financing their degree. Cuts to state funding contributed to a 37% increase in tuition from 2008-2018. The National Center for Education Statistics reports that 83.8% of first-time, full-time, degree- and certificate-seeking undergraduate students received financial aid for the 2018-19 school year. Financial aid for psychology majors may include scholarships, grants, fellowships, and loans.
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How To Apply for Scholarships
Keep reading to learn more about where to look for psychology scholarships, an explanation of the types of scholarship sponsors, and potential requirements for eligibility. We also discuss strategies for successful psychology scholarship applications.
Where To Look for Scholarships
Researching the thousands of scholarships from companies, individuals, nonprofits, and schools requires time and effort. High school students can start the scholarship discovery process by talking to school counselors, who typically hold extensive knowledge about scholarships. Counselors can offer suggestions about where to find them, when to apply, and how to put together the best application.
Many candidates find that the best place to explore psychology scholarships is on the American Psychological Association (APA) search page, which lists dozens of opportunities for graduate and undergraduate students. Other places to look include college financial aid offices, the U.S. Department of Labor’s free scholarship search tool, and the reference section of local libraries.
Types of Scholarship Sponsors
Groups offering college scholarships include professional associations, school departments, nonprofit foundations, and local community groups. Other scholarship sponsors include corporations, governments, employers, and individuals.
The APA and other professional groups in the field provide a wealth of opportunities out of a desire to support the next generation of psychologists. Most scholarship sponsors ask that applicants meet certain eligibility criteria to qualify for aid. Below, we describe requirements students may need to meet to win psychology scholarships.
When applying for psychology scholarships, students usually need to meet several requirements to qualify. Sponsors often set eligibility criteria based on factors like academic achievement, identity, and membership in professional organizations. The scholarship application process typically requires submission of supporting materials and documentation. See below for examples of possible eligibility and submission criteria.
Hold a minimum 3.0 GPA
Be an undergraduate or graduate student pursuing a degree in psychology
Be a member of the student chapter of the APA
Belong to an ethnic minority group
Resume or CV
Letters of recommendation
Essay or personal statement
Filling out applications can be time-consuming and hard work, so applicants must strategize about how to apply for psychology scholarships. Degree-seekers can limit their search to scholarships for psychology majors or even those devoted to their specialization or concentration. Psychology majors can also prioritize applying for scholarships based on aspects of their identity, like gender, religion, or ethnicity.
Other factors that impact which scholarships to apply for include deadlines, award amount, and the difficulty or ease of applying. Students may also want to consider the way that scholarships can impact financial aid eligibility and vice versa.
Available Psychology Scholarships
The list below includes undergraduate psychology scholarships, graduate psychology scholarships, and scholarships for psychology students at any degree level. Although not exhaustive, this list provides a good starting point for psychology majors looking for scholarships for college.
Undergraduate Psychology Scholarships
American Psychology - Law Society Award for Best Undergraduate Paper
This scholarship recognizes the best undergraduate paper on topics related to psychology and the law. Applicants must submit one copy of their paper and a letter of support from their mentor. The committee judges papers based on their originality, quality of writing, contribution to the field, and independence.
The international honor society in psychology offers this grant to undergraduate Psi Chi student members conducting field research in social psychology. Applicants must submit a research proposal and letter of recommendation from a faculty sponsor. Award recipients should turn in a final report within one year.
The American Psychological Foundation (APF) awards this scholarship to outstanding undergraduate psychology majors with financial need and a minimum 3.5 cumulative GPA. Application requirements include a CV, current transcript, personal essay, and letter of recommendation. Recipients can use the scholarship to pay for tuition, fees, textbooks, and other direct educational costs.
National Institutes of Health (NIH) Undergraduate Scholarship
The NIH offers this competitive scholarship to students from disadvantaged backgrounds who plan to pursue careers in biomedical, social science, and behavioral health-related research. The scholarship is renewable up to four years.
Award: Up to $20,000 per year, paid summer research training at the NIH, and paid employment and training at the NIH after graduation
The International Honor Society in Psychology awards eight scholarships annually to exceptional undergraduate psychology majors. The aid can pay for direct educational costs, including tuition, student fees, and textbooks. Applicants must be Psi Chi members and submit a CV, personal financial information, and a financial need essay.
American Psychological Foundation Graduate Student Scholarship
APF awards 21 scholarships for graduate student thesis or dissertation research annually. Applicants enrolled in a master’s or doctoral psychology program and at any stage of graduate study can apply. Students must submit an online application form, a letter of recommendation from their research advisor, a brief outline, CV, and transcript.
The APA Science Directorate awards these scholarships to help graduate psychology students pay for travel to the annual APA conference to present their research. Applicants must be APA student affiliates or associate members. To apply, submit a statement of research interests, abstract of the research to be presented at the conference, CV, and copy of the APA convention poster or paper acceptance.
This scholarship assists minority graduate psychology students dedicated to improving the conditions of marginalized communities. The scholarship committee prefers applicants planning for a public policy or academic clinical service delivery career. Application requirements include a self-statement, abbreviated CV, and letter of recommendation from a faculty advisor.
National Register of Health Service Psychologists Credentialing Scholarship
This scholarship supports psychology doctoral students, early-career psychologists, and postdoctoral trainees. Applicants must be enrolled in or have completed an APA-accredited, Canadian Psychological Association-accredited, or National Register-designated psychology program. Candidates must join the National Register Associate Program. Other requirements include acceptance into, current enrollment in, or completion of an internship or postdoctoral supervised experience.
Award: Covers the cost of the application fee ($150) for becoming credentialed by the National Register
APF awards the Benton-Meier scholarship to graduate students specializing in neuropsychology to support their research. Applicants must have completed a doctoral candidacy and must demonstrate research competence. If the applicant’s research involves human participants, they must receive institutional research board approval before APF can award the scholarship.
The John Randolph Foundation awards this annual scholarship to undergraduate or graduate students pursuing or planning to pursue a degree in a health-related field, including psychology. Applicants must demonstrate financial need, hold a minimum 3.0 GPA, and submit a completed application.
This scholarship goes to one outstanding Psi Chi chapter president each year. Open to undergraduate or graduate psychology students, this award requires nomination from a faculty advisor, chapter members, or fellow officers. Recipients also receive an engraved plaque to commemorate their scholarship.
American Addiction Centers (AAC) Behavioral Health Scholarship
AAC awards this scholarship to future behavioral health professionals planning to pursue careers in behavioral health and addiction studies. Application requirements include a first-person essay explaining why the applicant wants to pursue a career in behavioral healthcare. Applicants need a minimum 3.2 GPA and can be full- or part-time undergraduate or graduate students.
Society for Military Psychology Student Research Grant
The Society for Military Psychology, a division of APA, offers this award to up to two undergraduate and graduate psychology students to help pay for costs associated with research that demonstrates excellence in military psychology. Recipients must present their research findings at the APA convention.
Society for the Psychology of Religion and Spirituality Research Award
This award supports undergraduate and graduate research on the psychology of spirituality and religion. The program gives out up to six awards annually. Applicants must submit a CV, research proposal, letter of support from the student’s supervisor, and a proposed project budget.
A variety of other types of financial aid for psychology majors can help pay for school, including federal and private loans, work-study, grants, and fellowships. Below, we explain other types of aid available for paying for college besides scholarships.
The U.S. government helps students pay for college by offering federal student and parent loans including benefits typically not available with private loans. Benefits of some federal loans include low and/or fixed interest rates, deferred payment while in school, and income-driven repayment plans.
The federal work-study program subsidizes part-time employment for students while in school to help pay for their degrees. Off-campus and on-campus jobs exist for undergraduate, graduate, and professional students with demonstrated financial need. When possible, work-study jobs relate to the student’s field of study.
Like scholarships, grants are a type of financial aid that do not require repayment. Grants tend to be need-based, while scholarships often include a merit-based component. The federal government, state governments, nonprofit organizations, and universities all award grants.
Typically merit-based and competitive, fellowships provide financial support to subsidize graduate students’ academic work. Fellowships often cover tuition and may include a cost-of-living stipend or pay for expenses like travel to an academic conference.
College students can apply for private loans from banks with terms set by the lender. Private loans typically cost more than federal loans and may require repayment before graduation. Interest rates can be fixed or variable.
A variety of financial aid opportunities can help with paying for college. Financial aid for psychology majors includes scholarships, grants, fellowships, and federal and private student loans.
When should I start applying to scholarships?
Psychology scholarship deadlines vary by organization and scholarship. In general, you can increase your chances of winning by applying for as many scholarships as you can, as early possible.
What kind of scholarships are there for psychology majors?
Organizations give out all kinds of scholarships for psychology students. You can find psychology scholarships based on academic achievement, identity (ethnicity, gender, or religion), financial need, and area of study or research.
How can I find scholarships for college?
Many students begin their search for scholarships for college by researching opportunities online. Many websites list graduate and undergraduate psychology scholarships, but the American Psychology Association is a great place to start.
Many psychology positions require applicants to possess advanced degrees. Professionals with a bachelor's degree in psychology may need to pursue a master's degree or doctorate to progress in their field....