Your Guide to Grants and Scholarships as a Female Psychology Student

psyIf you are a woman pursuing a career in psychology, you are in a fast-growing majority. Statistics from the American Psychological Society show there are far more women than men in the field of psychology, both in terms of the workforce and in relation to the number of women versus men who pursue psychology degrees at the doctorate level. Specifically, more than half the industry is made up of women psychologists, and over three quarters of new doctoral candidates in psychology programs are women.

Financing Your Studies

If you’re interested in pursuing a psychology career as an undergraduate or graduate student but are having difficulty figuring out how to finance that academic goal, scholarships and grants can be your solution. Federal and state governments, private organizations, and colleges are just a few potential sources of a psychology scholarship or grant. Keep reading to learn about several other possibilities intended for aspiring women psychologists, as well as some that are open to worthy students in any degree field (which will allow you to apply the aid to your psychology education).

Scholarships and Grants Specifically for Psychology Students:

The APA Dissertation Award: Sponsored by the Science Directorate of the American Psychological Association, the APA Dissertation Award provides 30-40 $1,000 grants each year and several larger grants of up to $5,000 to students who can demonstrate excellence in dissertation research for a topic that relates to scientific psychology.

APF Graduate Student Scholarships: Annually, the American Psychological Foundation (APF) awards sixteen scholarships for psychology graduate students in varying amounts up to $5,000. The APF also teams up with the Council of Graduate Departments of Psychology to give out nine other $1,000 scholarships to deserving candidates. Students are evaluated based on the strength of their research proposals, the importance of the research, and their backgrounds, among other factors.

Francis M. Culbertson Travel Grant: This grant awards $1,500 to women from developing countries and in the early stages of their academic journeys. The funds are meant to be used so a recipient can travel outside her community to attend psychology conferences.

Thinking more broadly, this grant may also help a successful applicant become the first female psychologist in her region. In order to be eligible, a woman must be from a country that’s considered developing as per the World Bank, and pursuing a postdoctoral degree that requires five to ten years of study.

The Carol Williams-Nickelson Award for Women’s Leadership and Scholarship in Women’s Issues: Not all school psychology scholarships have names as long as this one, but consider applying particularly if you have combined your psychology studies with leadership roles and made a point of highlighting women’s issues through your research or other scholarly pursuits. Scholarship winners get a $1,000 cash award. The application process includes an essay portion.

Thelma Hunt Research Grant: If you’re looking for appropriate grants for psychology and have your sights set on doing great things through research, consider applying for the Thelma Hunt Research Grant. Before getting started, note that applicants are only eligible if they are members of Psi Chi, the international honor society for psychology. Open to both undergraduate and graduate students, this grant awards $3,000 for research purposes.

Scholarships and Grants Open to Any Field (which can be applied to a degree in psychology):

The Zeta Phi Beta Sorority General Graduate Fellowships: This is a financial aid option to think about if you are an African-American woman in the process of completing a degree program. Whether you have already achieved great things through your study of psychology or have big dreams, such as opening your own practice and becoming the first woman psychologist in your town, this funding source could help. You can apply even if you’re not a member of the Zeta Phi Beta sorority.

Women’s Independence Scholarship Program (WISP): This scholarship is offered to women throughout the United States who were previously in relationships characterized by domestic abuse but are now seeking education to achieve financial independence for themselves and their children.

Besides demonstrating a genuine and urgent need for financial aid, an applicant must also have received support from a domestic abuse shelter for at least six months before applying. That organization acts as a sponsor during the time when a successful applicant goes through her education, whether she aspires to be a woman psychologist or a business leader.

Grants and Loans from the P.E.O. Sisterhood: The P.E.O. Sisterhood has local chapters that reach out to women who need financial aid. One of the programs is specifically for women attending Cottey College in Missouri, an educational institution that’s been owned and managed by the P.E.O. Sisterhood since 1927.

However, if you’re interested in applying for aid but don’t intend to get your degree from Cottey College, there’s no need to worry. Several programs are open to students who are attending other universities. One that gives a maximum award of $3,000 is geared towards women outside the United States or Canada. Another is specifically for women who took at least a two-month break in their studies, but are now within two years of getting a degree. That’s a good one to be aware of if you are going back to school to complete your studies in psychology.

NFRW National Pathfinder Scholarship: Consider applying for this scholarship if you are a woman who votes Republican. The National Federation of Republican Women (NFRW) is an organization committed to helping Republican women succeed in academic environments. Three National Pathfinder Scholarships are given out every year, and each is worth $2,500. However, the organization also awards other scholarships, so if you miss the deadline or don’t meet all the eligibility requirements for this one, explore the other scholarship awards offered through the organization, too.

Think Creatively While Applying

Applying for grants and college scholarships for psychology majors takes time, but it can be a worthwhile process, especially if lack of money is a major barrier to your educational goals. While choosing which financial aid avenues are best for you, think about sources of aid that may be available for precise goals in psychology.

For example, if you’re certain you want to be a counselor, begin by applying mostly for counseling psychology scholarships and make sure the documentation you submit highlights that future goal. On the other hand, it’s always a good idea to apply for more generalized scholarships too, especially if your background makes you an outstanding candidate.

When you stay focused on what you want to achieve for the future, it should be easier to find grants and scholarships for psychology students that put educational ideals within reach and help you feel more financially equipped to pursue your dream.

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