Graduate Student Research Awards

Society for Health Psychology

Overview of Awards

The SfHP Health Research Council sponsors six $2,000 graduate student awards each year. Research awards are typically used to fund students’ thesis or dissertation research, but this is not a requirement of the support mechanism. Students may submit only one application per year. There are three types of awards. Four awards will support projects in general health psychology, one award will support a project focused on addressing health disparities, and one award will support a scientist from underrepresented groups.

Award Descriptions

Award for General Health Psychology

There are four (4) awards annually for graduate student research in general health psychology. Each award is $2,000. The awards may cover research related to any topic in health psychology, including, but not limited to the following topic areas:

  • Etiology, promotion and maintenance of health;
  • Prevention, diagnosis, treatment and rehabilitation of physical illness;
  • Psychological, social, emotional and behavioral factors in physical illness;
  • Child health psychology; and
  • Health care systems and health policy.

For the purposes of this award, the term “research” is broadly defined as any scholarly endeavor, including but not limited to experiments, correlational studies, qualitative investigations and evaluation research.

Award for Health Disparities

There is one (1) award annually for $2,000 for graduate student research in health psychology for this category. Health disparities are defined as “differences in the incidence, prevalence, mortality, and burden of diseases and other adverse health conditions that exist among specific population group” (National Institutes of Health).

In particular, the award for health disparities research is intended to support research focusing on various health conditions that are more prevalent, serious, or specific to disadvantaged and medically underserved groups, or on healthcare inequities relevant to these groups, specifically, ethnic minorities and socio-economically disadvantaged individuals in rural and urban areas.

Award for Promoting Inclusion

There is one (1) award annually for $2,000 for graduate student research in health psychology for this category. The SfHP recognizes the need to increase the number of scientists from underrepresented groups participating in research relevant to health psychology. The purpose of this program is to provide a graduate student from an underrepresented group with funding to allow them to successfully complete a health psychology relevant research project.

Eligible applicants are graduate student members of SfHP who self-identify as being from one of the underrepresented groups in biomedical and health psychology research:

  1. Individuals from racial and ethnic groups that have been shown by the National Science Foundation to be underrepresented in health-related sciences on a national basis. The following racial and ethnic groups have been shown to be underrepresented in biomedical and health psychology research: African Americans, Asian Americans, Hispanic Americans, American Indians, Alaska Natives, Native Hawaiians, and other Pacific Islanders. In addition, it is recognized that underrepresentation can vary from setting to setting; individuals from racial or ethnic groups that can be convincingly demonstrated to be underrepresented by the grantee institution should be encouraged to participate in this program.

  2. Individuals with disabilities, who are defined as those with a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities.
  3. Individuals from disadvantaged backgrounds who are defined as:
    • Individuals who come from a family with an annual income below established low-income thresholds. These thresholds are based on family size; published by the U.S. Bureau of the Census; adjusted annually for changes in the Consumer Price Index; and adjusted by the Secretary for use in all health professions programs. The Secretary periodically publishes these income levels at HHS – Poverty Guidelines, Research, and Measurement. For individuals from low income backgrounds, the participants must have qualified for Federal disadvantaged assistance or they have received any of the following student loans: Health Professions Student Loans (HPSL), Loans for Disadvantaged Student Program, or they have received scholarships from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services under the Scholarship for Individuals with Exceptional Financial Need.
    • Individuals who come from a social, cultural, or educational environment such as that found in certain rural or inner-city environments that have demonstrably and recently directly inhibited the individual from obtaining the knowledge, skills, and abilities necessary to develop and participate in a research career.

For the purposes of this award, the term “research” is broadly defined as any scholarly endeavor, including but not limited to experiments, correlational studies, qualitative investigations and evaluation research.



To be eligible to receive the award, the student must be a current member of the Society for Health Psychology.

The award competition is open to full-time students enrolled in any degree conferring-graduate program in psychology. The program is not required to be a Health Psychology program. We encourage SfHP graduate student members from any psychology program (e.g., Community Psychology) who are proposing health psychology research to apply.


Applications must be received by January 31, with notification of award made late spring.

Preparing Your Application

Preparing the Award Packet

Please ensure that you have completed all these steps and that every part of the award packet is included. Applications that do not meet criteria will not be considered. A complete award packet MUST include:

    1. A cover letter that indicates you are a member of SfHP and how the research addresses a topic area within health psychology.
    2. A proposal title/cover page, that includes the project title, your name, title, affiliation, and contact information (email address, postal address, and phone), and the faculty sponsor’s name, title, affiliation, and email address.
    3. The Research Strategy should include the specific aims, background, methods, and references. The student should be the author of the proposal and the principal investigator of the research project. The faculty sponsor should be consulted during the formulation of the research proposal. Research Strategies should be formatted with 12-point font and 1” margins and not exceed 6 pages (references not included but figures and tables should be embedded within the strategy document). Any material beyond the 6-single spaced pages will not be reviewed. Read more about the Research Strategy requirements here.
    4. A detailed budget covering the entire proposed project. The award funds are meant to support the research being proposed and therefore may not be used for travel expenses to conferences. Specifically indicate how the funds from the Graduate Student Research Award will be used. Please describe other sources of funding for the proposed project, if any. Information on additional funding, if any, is helpful in evaluating not only the need for funding, but also the feasibility of carrying out the project with the available monies from this award. Projects that can feasibly be accomplished within the support from this award alone are welcome. See a sample budget here.
    5. Biographical sketch for the student (follow the NIH biosketch guidelines for the pre-doctoral fellowship format).
    6. A letter of recommendation* from the faculty sponsor. The letter should verify that the proposed research is the student’s project and that the student will function as the principal investigator.

*This is the only part of the award packet that may be submitted separately. The letter may be included in the award backed, but if desired the faculty mentors may submit their recommendation letters directly by emailing their letter of recommendation to


Combine your award packet into a single PDF format document, named as: LastName_FirstName_Year.pdf

For example if Jordan Smith was submitting an application in 2024 the correct filename is: Smith_Jordan_2024.pdf.

Guidance on Preparing the Research Strategy

Proposals should be formatted with 12-point font and 1″ margins must be used throughout. Excluding references but including tables and figures, proposals should not exceed 6 single-spaced pages. Any material beyond the 6 single-spaced pages will not be reviewed.

Research proposals must include the following information:

  1. Specific Aims (recommended length 1 page)
    • What are the research goals?
    • What are the specific hypotheses?
  2. Background (recommended length 2 pages)
    • Brief literature review of the area
    • What has past research shown?
    • What gaps in the existing literature does this research address?
  3. Methods (recommended length 3 pages)
    • Inclusion and exclusion criteria
    • Proposed sample
    • Measures/Instrumentation
    • Procedures
    • Data analytic plan
    • Anticipated limitations
  4. References (do not count towards page limits)
    • All references must be formatted according to the APA publication manual, 7th edition.

How to Apply

When your award packet is ready, complete the application form and upload your document.

Apply here

Next Steps

Review of Applications

Application submissions go through scientific peer review by members of the SfHP Health Research Council. On occasion, ad hoc reviewers are invited to participate as well. All applications are scored using a standardized rating form. All applicants will receive comments regarding their submission and the outcome of the review process. 

Post-Award Research Report

Each student receiving an award will be required to submit a report to the Health Research Council by September 1 of the year following the award. The report should be sent to The report should be limited to 2 single-spaced pages and should include a description of the results and a plan for presenting or publishing the results. In addition, we would appreciate the opportunity to post any final presentations, abstracts, or papers on the SfHP web site.

Have Questions?

We would be happy to answer them!