APA Dissertation Research Award

The purpose of the APA Science Directorate's Dissertation Research Award program is to assist science-oriented doctoral students of psychology with research costs.

Deadline: September 15, 2015

Sponsor: Science Directorate


The Science Directorate of the American Psychological Association sponsors an annual competition for dissertation research funding. The purpose of the Dissertation Research Award program is to assist science-oriented doctoral students of psychology with research costs. The current program includes 30-40 grants of $1,000 each, along with several larger grants of up to $5,000 to students whose dissertation research reflects excellence in scientific psychology.

  1. Applicants must be graduate students of psychology in good standing with their university, at a regionally accredited university or college located in the United States or Canada. Applicants must be enrolled full-time or working on their dissertation research for an equivalent of full-time enrollment regardless of actual registration status.

  2. Applicants must be student affiliates or associate members of the American Psychological Association. Students who are not affiliates must apply for affiliation when submitting materials for the Dissertation Research Award. All materials must be received by the Science Directorate in a single, complete package. The APA Student Affiliate membership form is available online. It can be submitted on the internet or printed and mailed to APA. If you submit the application online, please print the confirmation page receipt and send a copy with your award application. If you print the application and mail it to APA, please include it with your award application.

  3. Applicants must have had their dissertation proposals approved by their dissertation committees prior to application.

  4. Applicants who have already defended their dissertations are eligible to apply for these funds, as long as they have not yet received a doctoral degree as of the application deadline.

  5. Each psychology department (i.e., not individual programs within a department) may endorse no more than three (3) students per year for the APA Dissertation Research Award. If more than three students from a department wish to apply for these funds, the department must perform an initial screening and forward only three applications.

  6. A student in a graduate department other than psychology is eligible to apply for the Dissertation Research Award only if she/he demonstrates that she/he is writing a psychological science dissertation and that her/his graduate course of study has been primarily psychological in nature. In order to be eligible to apply for the award, the student in graduate departments other than psychology must justify this eligibility for the award by providing APA Science Directorate staff with the following materials:

    (a) dissertation title and brief abstract;

    (b) transcript of graduate coursework (unofficial copies are fine); and

    (c) a brief written explanation of how these materials show that the graduate course of study has been primarily psychological in nature. This request for award eligibility may be submitted either separately from the application or at the time of application submission.

  7. Applicants must not have previously received an APA Dissertation Research Award.

  8. The dissertation research may be in any area of psychological research.

How to Apply
  1. Science Directorate staff will examine all applications for eligibility.

  2. Please submit your packet of application materials (described in this section) in one envelope, to be received by the APA Science Directorate on or before Sept. 15, but after June 1. A complete application includes four collated sets of application materials (the originals plus three copies). Please use a font of 10 points or greater, and 1-inch margins. Materials can be single or double spaced.

    Please include each of the following:

    a. An application form (PDF, 35 KB) that is typed or neatly printed, signed by the applicant and approved by the chair or head of the department (as described on the form).

    b. One-page maximum typed cover letter describing your research interests and experience, as well as your career plans.

    c. Two-page maximum summary of the dissertation research, including project background and rationale, an explanation of research design (methods, procedure, analysis plan, etc.) and other important aspects of the project. One additional page listing references may be included (citations should be included in the text).

    Please Note: Figures and/or tables may be included only if they can be incorporated into the two (2) page research summary. The research summary must not exceed the two (2) page limit including any figures or tables.

    d. One-page maximum brief explanation of proposed use of funds (i.e., budget). The award must be used to support expenses that are directly related to the dissertation research (e.g., computer time, animal care, equipment, participant fees, and incentives); it may not be used for indirect costs, tuition, travel, lab assistant pay, consultant fees, or personal expenses. Be sure to justify all expenses and detail any additional funds that will be used for the project. If the budget for the project exceeds the amount available from the award, you should describe the source of the additional funds.

    e. Two-page maximum curriculum vitae including scientific publications, presentations, research and teaching experience (the curriculum vitae may contain only highlights and does not need to be a complete version).

    f. One-page maximum letter of recommendation from your academic advisor or professor. It is unnecessary to enclose this letter in a sealed envelope; however, if your advisor/professor prefers to do this, please be certain that she or he also prepares three (3) additional copies of the letter to submit with your application (original + three copies should be enclosed in the same envelope).

    Please Note: The maximum length of the recommendation letter is one (1) page. Please communicate to the faculty member who will write your recommendation letter the importance of adhering to this maximum page limit. In addition, please do not submit more than one letter of recommendation; only one will be forwarded for review. 

  3. All application materials must arrive in one complete package on or before Sept. 15, but after June 1, at:

    Dissertation Research Awards 
    APA Science Directorate
    750 First Street, NE
    Washington, DC 20002-4242

    Four collated sets of application materials (the originals plus three copies) must be included in each submission. Be sure to keep a copy of the submitted materials for your records. You will receive an email after the application deadline confirming that your application has been received.

  4. Decisions will be based upon the quality of the submitted information. Panels of distinguished scientists representing the breadth of scientific psychology will make funding recommendations to the Science Directorate.

  5. APA Dissertation Research Award recipients are announced in late November. All applicants for the awards are notified of funding decisions via email.

  6. Any changes to the budget details supplied in the proposed use of funds section of the grant application must be approved in advance (in writing) by the APA Science Directorate. Any budget change requests can be mailed to the Science Directorate at the address above or emailed to the award administrator.

  7. By the end of the year, each award recipient must submit a one-page final report letter specifying how the funds were used, which must be signed by the chair or head of the department or the student's faculty advisor. More details will be provided to each award recipient about this final documentation.

Past Recipients