Summer Science Fellowship Frequently Asked Questions

June 13 – July 25, 2015 ǀ George Mason University

The APA Science Directorate in partnership with the George Mason University Department of Psychology will host the 2015 Summer Science Fellowship program (SSF). SSF aims to immerse advanced undergraduate students in the science of psychology by exposing them to the excitement and promise of the best of psychological science. Our principal objective is to inform these students about the science of psychology and its promise for the future, and help prepare them for the rigors of graduate study in psychological science.

George Mason University, while a relatively young university, has grown rapidly into one of the most highly respected universities in the Washington, D.C., area, and its department of psychology is one of the university’s greatest sources of pride. Outstanding faculty members and graduate students conduct research in a wide variety of areas in psychological science, and they are eager to welcome the 2015 APA summer science fellows. Find out more about the GMU Department of Psychology.

Eligibility and Application

What is a "rising senior"?
If you are graduating from college between December 2015 and August 2016, you are considered a rising senior and are eligible to apply for SSF. In addition, students need to be enrolled full-time for at least one semester during the 2015-2016 academic year. If you are graduating from college before December 2015 or after August 2016, you are not eligible for SSF.

Will I be considered if I am not a psychology major?
Yes, but you should have a clearly demonstrated interest in psychological science, perhaps through a minor or an interdisciplinary studies major that features psychology.

Is there a minimum GPA required to apply?
Yes, the minimum GPA is a 3.0. In addition, you must have at least a 3.25 psychology GPA in order to be considered for the program.

Is prior research experience required to attend SSF?
We realize that many students do not have the opportunity to conduct research at their home universities. For this reason, prior research experience is not a requirement to be considered for SSF. Although previous research experience is not a requirement, we find it to be helpful. Because SSF is a research-intensive program, previous research experience — in any subject — is beneficial to the SSF student.

What coursework is required to apply to SSF?
To be considered for the program you must have taken (or be currently enrolled in) courses in research methods, statistics and introduction to psychology. Additional psychology coursework above these requirements is desirable.

My spring final exam schedule conflicts with the timing of the SSF program. Will I still be eligible to attend if selected?
Probably. We have been able to arrange for students to take proctored final exams with us in the past, so ask your professor if this would work for you. Most U.S. schools will have ended classes and finals by mid-June, and if this is the case for you, there should be no conflicts.

Do transcripts and letters of recommendation have to arrive by Feb. 9th?
Yes, all application materials, including official transcripts and letters of recommendation, must be received by Feb. 9th. If you have any concerns about your transcripts reaching our office in time for the deadline, we suggest having your registrar’s office send us the official transcripts by rush order or fax.

What if I can’t be present for the entire six weeks? Could I still participate?
This program is meant to give students uninterrupted time in a lab environment, so please apply only if you can commit to six weeks.

When will you notify applicants of the selection outcome?
We expect to be able to complete our selection of the fellows by early to mid-March. All applicants will hear from us by email message.

What should I do if I studied abroad fall semester and have not yet received my fall grades?
You should submit your official transcript with all the grades you have available at this point and separately send a letter explaining your situation and listing the courses that you took abroad. As soon as you receive your study abroad grades, please send them to us as soon as possible (even if it's an unofficial copy).

Will I be notified about the status of my application?
Due to the high volume of applications, we are unable to confirm receipt of materials. Please do not contact us to inquire about the status of your application.

May I select someone other than a psychology professor for my letters of recommendation?
At least one letter from a psychology professor is required to be considered for SSF, although we strongly recommend that you get both letters from psychology professors. If necessary, we will accept one letter from a faculty member in a field of science other than psychology (e.g., chemistry, biology). Because SSF takes place in an academic setting, we would prefer that you not submit letters from employers, internship supervisors or faculty from non-science disciplines.

May I submit sealed, official transcripts myself, or must they be submitted by the registrar’s office at my university?
While we would prefer to receive transcripts mailed directly to our office from your institution’s registrar, we will accept official transcripts from applicants if they are still unopened and in sealed envelopes. We require only one official transcript. Our mailing address is:

Science Directorate
American Psychological Association
Attn: Summer Science Fellowship
750 First St. NE
Washington, DC 20002-4242

I have attended more than one college. Do I need to submit transcripts from each school?
If coursework from your previous institution is listed on the transcript from your current institution (including course title and grade), you only need to submit a transcript from your current college or university. If your transcript at your current institution does not reflect previous coursework, you must submit a separate transcript from your previous institution. We must have an official transcript of every course you have taken in college and the grade you received in each course. You are responsible for ensuring that we receive this information, so please check with your school’s registrar to see what is reflected on your transcript.