APA Congressional Fellowship Program

The purpose of this fellowship is to provide psychologists with an invaluable public policy learning experience, to contribute to the more effective use of psychological knowledge in government and to broaden awareness about the value of psychology-government interaction among psychologists and within the federal government.

Sponsor: Government Relations


Fellows spend one year working on the staff of a member of Congress or congressional committee. Activities may involve drafting legislation, conducting oversight work, assisting with congressional hearings and events, and preparing briefs and speeches. Fellows also attend a two-week orientation program on congressional and executive branch operations, which provides guidance for the congressional placement process, and participate in a yearlong seminar series on science and public policy issues. The American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) administers these professional development activities for the APA fellows and for fellows sponsored by over two dozen other professional societies.

APA will sponsor up to two congressional fellows for a one-year appointment beginning Sept. 1, 2015. Additional fellowships are available for mid-career/senior psychologists and for psychologists with expertise in health and behavior issues, including HIV/AIDS, and psychologists with a background in developmental or clinical psychology and experience working directly with children. The fellowship stipend ranges from $75,000 to $90,000, depending upon years of post-doctoral experience. In addition, APA provides reimbursement for health insurance coverage and a $3,750 stipend for professional development and relocation expenses during the fellowship year. Final selection of fellows will be made in early spring of 2015.

For more information, see the frequently asked questions about the APA Congressional Fellowship Program.

Specialty Designations

Fellowship applications are reviewed as a single group. When selections are made, specialty designations may be given to incoming Fellows who fit the criteria.

Catherine Acuff Fellow

Established by APA in 2000 to honor the memory of Catherine Acuff, PhD, and her many valued contributions to the field of psychology and to those it serves. Applicants for this fellowship must have five or more years of professional experience post-doctorate. The mid-career/senior focus of this program reflects Acuff’s transition to the public policy arena after many successful years in private practice and academia.

Catherine Acuff, PhD, a dedicated psychologist, advocate and humanitarian, was a member of the APA Board of Directors when she died on Apr. 21, 2000, at age 51. The mid-career nature of this fellowship reflects Acuff's transition to the public policy arena, including advocacy for lesbian, gay and bisexual and HIV/AIDS issues, following her successful career in private practice, on the faculty of local colleges and hospital-based clinical training programs, and as president of the Connecticut Psychological Association. At the time of her death, Acuff was the Director of the HIV/AIDS Treatment Adherence, Health Outcomes and Associated Costs Program for the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration in the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

William A. Bailey Health and Behavior Fellow

Established in 1995 to honor former APA staff member William (Bill) A. Bailey for his tireless advocacy on behalf of psychological research, training and services related to HIV/AIDS. Applicants for this fellowship should have a background in health and behavior issues, including HIV/AIDS; health disparities; or lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender health issues.

Bailey championed HIV/AIDS and lesbian, gay and bisexual policy issues for the APA as a member of the Public Policy Office staff. Among his many accomplishments, Bailey oversaw the development of a major report on behavioral and social sciences and the HIV/AIDS epidemic for the National Commission on AIDS, participated in the planning of an APA training program for psychologists who serve HIV-infected clients, facilitated the development of the AIDS community prevention programs supported by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, forged collaborations between several government agencies to support the HIV/AIDS mental health services demonstration program, and successfully advocated for National Institute of Mental Health funding for research on anti-gay violence. An openly gay man who died from AIDS at the young age of 34, his legacy is one of great personal and professional strength.


A prospective fellow must:

  • Demonstrate competence in scientific and/or professional psychology.

  • Demonstrate sensitivity toward policy issues.

  • Have a strong interest in applying psychological knowledge to the solution of societal challenges.

  • Be able to work quickly and communicate effectively on a wide variety of topics and be able to work cooperatively with individuals with diverse viewpoints.

An applicant must:

  • Be a psychologist, a member of APA (or applicant for membership), and a U.S. citizen.

  • Have a doctorate in psychology (from an APA accredited doctoral program and internship, if in the area of professional psychology) or related field by the application deadline.

A special exception is made for current psychology interns who may apply with certification from the director of training in their doctoral program that they have met all but the internship requirement for their doctoral degree by the application deadline. It should be noted that preference will be given to applicants with two or more years of experience following receipt of their doctorate.

How to Apply
The 2015 application cycle is now closed.

Please check back in fall 2015 for information about the 2016 fellowship.

A complete application must include the following:

  • A detailed curriculum vita providing information about educational background, professional employment and activities, professional publications and presentations, public policy and legislative experience, and committee and advisory group appointments (submitted electronically, with the online application form).

  • A statement of approximately 1,000 words addressing the applicant's interests in the fellowship, career goals, and what the applicant can contribute to and learn from the fellowship experience (submitted electronically, with the online application form).

  • Three letters of reference that specifically address the applicant's ability to serve successfully on Capitol Hill as a congressional fellow. Signed, hard-copy letters in sealed envelopes may be sent to the reference writers or by the applicant to the below address, and/or email versions of reference letters may be emailed by the reference writers directly from their email accounts. Mailed letters must be postmarked, and emailed letters received, by the application deadline.

Letters of reference should be sent to:

Congressional Fellowship Program
Government Relations Office
Public Interest Directorate
American Psychological Association
750 First St. NE
Washington, DC 20002-4242

For additional information, please contact Micah Haskell-Hoehl, Program Administrator, at (202) 336-5935, or visit the fellowship website.