If you’re determined to pursue your psychology degree, you’re not alone. From criminal psychology to political psychology, there is a wide spectrum of available opportunities in countless careers geared towards students with a psychology degree. For those who want to positively impact others while making a good living, there’s never been a better time to pursue the field of psychology.

Still, while a wide world of opportunity awaits psychology students, the seemingly constant rise in the cost of college has made it more difficult for aspiring psychology experts to earn their degree. When the cost associated with college becomes too steep, students are forced to take on unwanted debt by taking out loans. Fortunately, the entire debt-producing process can be averted by students who discover the benefits of scholarships.

Continue reading to learn everything you need to know about scholarships for psychology students, including:

  • what psychology scholarships are,
  • how you can apply for them,
  • specific scholarships and grants intended solely for psychology students, and
  • how to identify and use the most reliable resources for finding psychology scholarships.

What Are Psychology Scholarships?

A psychology scholarship is a type of funding that you can use to help pay for the cost of the books, fees, and tuition you’ll encounter as you pursue your psychology degree. It is a form of financial assistance that you can earn based on either your prior academic achievement or your level of financial need. Scholarships are also available through memberships in relevant organizations and via certain types of competitions.

The reason why a psychology scholarship is so appealing to students seeking their degree is that it never has to be paid back. Unlike a student loan, students who receive a scholarship get to keep every penny they earn, whether it’s $500 or $100,000.

This obviously makes a psychology scholarship a hot commodity for anyone interested in obtaining their psychology degree without enduring the stress that comes from the debt associated with student loans.

How to Apply for Psychology Scholarships

There are four specific steps you can take to apply for the psychology scholarships that are right for you:

1Start Searching Today

Keep in mind that the entire process of earning scholarships is a competitive one. There are hundreds, if not thousands, of students actively pursuing the same available funds you want. That’s why it’s important to begin your psychology scholarship pursuit as early as possible.

The earlier you begin the process, the more likely you are to get the scholarships you need. Be inquisitive. Be resilient. Be resourceful. But most important, be aggressive in your pursuit of the scholarships that will help make your dream of earning a psychology degree a reality.

2Narrow Down Your Psychology Field

There are several fields for which you can pursue a psychology degree. Within these fields are organizations and companies that offer scholarships aimed at preparing students for work in their specific area.

In order to get the right scholarship for you, choose which field you want to pursue and then search for related scholarships. Then ask a teacher or guidance counselor who you trust to help you choose the right scholarship.

3Gather All the Application Documents You’ll Need
& Pay Attention to Deadlines

As with all things academic-related, preparation is key to turning in a successful psychology scholarship application. You’ll want to be fully aware of the many different items you must submit.

If you’re required to turn in one or more letters of recommendation, be sure to ask someone who can vouch for your character and work ethic, and ask them early in the process. That’ll give them plenty of time to craft an effective recommendation.

On that note, be sure you’re aware of the deadlines for submission of your application documents. Missing a deadline is a surefire way to lose out on a scholarship.

4Do the Best You Can on Your Application Essays by Preparing Early

Scholarship essays are a wonderful opportunity to showcase your achievements and all the many reasons why you deserve a particular scholarship. Hence, it is to your benefit to begin writing them as soon as possible, rather than putting them off to the last minute.

Making your application essays a top priority will allow you to write the honest, highly reflective responses that could earn you valuable scholarship money.

Scholarships, Awards, Fellowships, and Grants for Psychology Students

Of course, the most important (and often most difficult) part of applying for scholarships or grants is actually finding an award that suits your needs and circumstances. Some scholarships are very specific, others are a bit more broad, but all the scholarships listed below focus on financially supporting students studying psychology, social work, counseling, or other related fields. The awards range from undergraduate to graduate to postdoctorate support. Some are geared toward helping defray the cost of tuition while others are specifically designed to fund research. Read through each description to find the scholarships most suitable to you. And check back often! We update this list as we find more scholarships for psychology students!

Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services Predoctoral Fellowship
Amount: Up to $21,600    Deadline: January 15

This fellowship is for students actively enrolled full time in doctoral programs in counseling, clinical or school psychology with a focus on entering a career in behavioral health services. Applicants must not be in an internship year and must demonstrate a strong commitment to serving communities of color.

Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services Postdoctoral Fellowship
Amount: Up to $43,476    Deadline: January 15

This fellowship is for doctoral graduates either enrolled in or applying for a postdoctoral training program with a focus on entering a career in behavioral health services. Applicants must demonstrate a strong commitment to serving communities of color.

Lullellia W. Harrison Counseling Scholarship
Amount: $500-$1,000    Deadline: February 1

The Zeta Phi Beta Sorority offers this scholarship for any graduate students enrolled in a counseling degree program. Applications should emphasize ways in which the applicant has served their community as well as financial need.

HIAS Chicago Benton Bernstein Scholarship
Amount: $25,000    Deadline: February 1

The Benton Bernstein Scholarship is awarded to students studying social work or psychology who have directly (or indirectly through their parents or grandparents) benefited from the services of the Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society (HIAS), a Jewish American nonprofit organization that provides humanitarian aid and assistance to refugees.

E. Louise Carter Scholarship Application Form
Amount: $2,300    Deadline: March 1

The E. Louise Carter Scholarship is awarded annually for junior or senior undergraduate students or graduate students who are planning a career in psychology, social work or counseling. Candidates who are returning to school after an interruption in their education are preferred. Multiple candidates may be chosen each year to receive the scholarship.

JED Student Voice of Mental Health Award
Amount: $3,000    Deadline: March 1

The Jed Foundation is a nonprofit that protects emotional health and prevents suicide amongst teens and young adults. Their Student Voice of Mental Health Award provides a $3,000 scholarship for undergraduate college students cultivating awareness for mental health issues.

Psi Chi Summer Research Grants
Amount: $5,000    Deadline: March 1

Psi Chi, the International Honor Society in Psychology, offers fourteen summer grants for undergraduate Psi Chi members to conduct a summer research project under the supervision of a sponsoring faculty member.

Credentialing Scholarship for Early Career Psychologists
Amount: $150    Deadline: April 15

The National Register of Health Service Psychologists use Credentialing Scholarships to help defray the cost of application fees for doctoral students, postdoctoral trainees and early career psychologists. Multiple scholarships are awarded each year.

John and Polly Sparks Early Career Grant for Psychologists Investigating Serious Emotional Disturbance (SED)
Amount: Up to $22,000    Deadline: April 15

This grant awards up to $22,000 to postdoctoral psychologists who are researching early intervention and treatment for serious emotional disturbance in children. Applicants must be no more than ten years postdoctoral with a degree from an accredited university

The Clara Mayo Grants
Amount: $1,000    Deadline: May 15, October 1

The Society for the Psychological Study of Social Issues (SPSSI) grants up to $1000 to psychology or social science graduate students researching a masters’ theses or pre-dissertation on aspects of sexism, racism, or prejudice. Applicants must be a member of SPSSI.

Teens Path to Success Scholarship
Amount: $500    Deadline: May 31

The Elk River Teen Treatment Program awards a $500 scholarship to full-time college juniors, seniors and graduate students who are pursuing a career in counseling, psychology, sociology, social work, and related fields.

Future Counselors of America Scholarship
Amount: $1,000    Deadline: June 30

This scholarship, hosted by DatingAdvice.com, awards $1000 to full-time enrolled graduate and undergraduate students who are majoring in a psychology related program with the intent of developing a career in relationship or marriage counseling.

Psi Chi Undergraduate Scholarship
Amount: $3,000    Deadline: July 5

Psi Chi, the International Honor Society in Psychology, offers a $3000 scholarship to undergraduate students enrolled in a psychology or a psychology related field. Applicants must be Psi Chi members who present both financial need and academic excellence.

Morgan T. Sammons Doctoral Student Award
Amount: $10,000    Deadline: July 15

The National Register of Health Service Psychologists offers this award annually to a full-time enrolled doctoral student researching psychological interventions in applied settings. The award is designed to help students further their research and emphasize the important role psychology plays in healthcare.

NASP Graduate Student Research Grants
Amount: $1,000    Applications open: September 1

The National Association of School Psychologists (NASP) grants up to three $1000 awards each year to graduate students producing outstanding research. These grants are open to NASP members and can be used to further their research projects.

Stephen Mitchell Award
Amount: $500    Deadline: October 1

This award is sponsored by the academic journal Psychoanalytic Psychology and the Board of the Society for Psychoanalysis and Psychoanalytic Psychology. The award includes $500 for an outstanding graduate student paper and $500 to cover travel expenses to present the paper as well as publication in the Psychoanalytic Psychology journal.

Foundation for Rehabilitation Psychology Dissertation Award
Amount: $1,000-$4,000    Deadline: November 1

The Foundation for Rehabilitation Psychology (FRP) provides up to $4000 in dissertation research funding for full-time enrolled graduate students in Psychology writing their dissertations on Rehabilitation Psychology.

Roy Scrivner Research Grant
Amount: $8,000    Deadline: November 1

The American Psychological Foundation sponsors this research grant to encourage psychology students to focus research on lesbian, gay and bisexual and transgender family psychology and therapy. Preference is given to students who demonstrate an interest in following LGBT family issues through their career.

Elizabeth Munsterberg Koppitz Psychology Graduate Student Fellowship
Amount: $25,000    Deadline: November 15

Sponsored by the American Psychological Foundation, this fellowship program supports graduate students studying or conducting research in child psychology. This fellowship only chooses one applicant per year, but will cover tuition costs for that applicant for one year.

Psychological Science Research Grant
Amount: $1,000    Deadline: November 30

Sponsored by the American Psychological Association of Graduate Students (APAGS), this grant is designed to fund graduate research projects in all fields of psychology and neuroscience. Applicants must be APAGS members.

Psychology Scholarship Resources

While it’s good to know that there are numerous resources out there to help guide you towards the right psychology scholarships, the sheer amount of information readily available to you can feel a bit overwhelming. By focusing your attention on a handful of reputable resources, you’ll be able to better navigate the many options that await you.

Here are six highly distinguished associations, clubs, and organizations that can help provide the scholarship funds you need to seek your psychology degree.

The American Psychological Association

The American Psychological Association (APA) offers a plethora of sources aimed specifically at psychology students at both the undergraduate and the graduate level. Some of these sources include private foundations, schools, and government organizations. The APA has positively impacted the lives of countless psychology students by giving them financial assistance for projects, research, and travel.

The Association for Psychological Science

The Association for Psychological Science states quite clearly why they have chosen to help fund the academic careers of psychology students: “The APS recognizes that students are the psychological scientists of tomorrow and that’s why we offer a host of member-only research awards and grant opportunities.” If you’re interested in the science aspect of psychology, becoming familiar with this site is well worth your time.

The American Psychological Foundation

If you are determined to use your future psychology degree to help others, you’ll want to look into this site. The American Psychological Foundation actively seeks to provide funding for psychology students who want to make a difference in the world. They provide several different opportunities to connect with comprehensive scholarships that are based on a number of criteria.

The Psi Chi International Society in Psychology

According to The Psi Chi International Society in Psychology, the scholarship money gained by applying to their organization is just one benefit of the entire process: “We encourage you to apply for multiple grants and awards throughout your college career because you will learn from the process. Each time you complete an application, you will gain experience and insight.” Tangibly speaking, Psi Chi awards psychology students more than $400,000 each year.

Psychology Scholarships For Women

This site provides women with all sorts of psychology scholarship resources. It’s a helpful source that allows them to organize their scholarship options according to education level, ethnicity, and family (as well as other factors). Psychology Scholarships for Women is an essential site for any woman wanting to pursue her degree in psychology.


FinAid is an all-purpose site that will tell you everything you need to know about loans, scholarships, and anything else that will help prepare you to earn your psychology degree. It provides a comprehensive list of scholarship opportunities, so bookmark it as soon as you can.

Frequently Asked Questions

Pursuing scholarships for your psychology degree can be complicated. Here are answers to some of the most frequently asked questions regarding the entire process.

What are the different types of psychology scholarships available?

There are several different types of scholarships available to students seeking their psychology degree:

  • Merit-based scholarship: A merit-based scholarship is a scholarship based on a student’s previous academic success. It’s important to note that this type of scholarship is not limited solely to a student’s grades. Other factors such as leadership roles and involvement in extracurricular activities can also be considered.
  • Essay-based scholarship: The essay-based scholarship is a chance to prove to an organization why you deserve their reward money. Use this opportunity to demonstrate the uniqueness of your candidacy. While your application for a scholarship should inform, your essay for a scholarship should persuade.
  • Community service scholarship: Colleges and universities want to recruit well-rounded and community-focused individuals. Show them you belong on their campus by using your prior experience within the community to earn a community service scholarship.
  • Travel scholarship: Travel scholarships give recipients money to be used for interning, studying, or working abroad. The award money can be used for anything related to a student’s travel, including airfare, fees, and even spending money.

What financing options are available for psychology students beyond scholarships and fellowships?

Scholarships and fellowships are just two of the financial options available to psychology students. Other ways to fund a psychology degree include:

  • Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program (PSLF): The PSLF allows students who have a direct loan through the federal government to have the remainder of their loan forgiven after they’ve made 120 payments on it.
  • The National Health Service Corps (NHSC): The NCHS gives licensed social workers up to $50,000 in loan repayment once they’ve served two years at an approved site designated as a Health Professional Shortage Area (HPSA).
  • Faculty Loan Repayment Program (FLRP): This program allows students who work at least two years full-time at a previously approved health profession institution to earn as much as $40,000 in loan repayment.

Scholarship Options Abound, So Discover the Ones That Are Right for You

According to the American Psychological Association, there are more than 600 scholarships, grants, and awards available to students interested in pursuing their psychology degree. That leaves you with plenty of options as you prepare for this exciting stage of your academic career.

With its inherently intriguing course load and its ability to help you help others, earning a degree in psychology will be one of the most rewarding adventures of your life. Now that you’re equipped with a wide range of scholarship options, paying for that degree won’t have to ruin the experience.

Scholarships for Psychology Students