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What is a Psychology Fellowship?

A Psychology Fellowship is a unique academic opportunity for graduate students and post-doctoral trainees to develop their clinical skills in order to provide better behavioral health services. Fellowship programs are designed to help students study a specific field, perform advanced search and obtain exclusive training. Keep reading to learn about what fellowships programs in psychology are and how to apply.

The American Psychological Association's Fellowships

The American Psychological Association (APA) offers five main fellowship programs for psychologists.

There is a pre-doctoral and post-doctoral Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services (MHSAS) Fellowship. It is designed to help doctoral students become culturally competent and encourages minority psychologists to apply.

The Services for Transition Age Youth (STAY) Fellowship is offered to terminal master's students to help them improve mental health services for minority youth ages 16 to 25.

The Recovery to Practice (RTP) is a fellowship for psychologists to learn more about mental health recovery concepts and techniques.

Learn about all five of the program descriptions and how to apply at the APA's website here.

Psychology Fellowship Example

Outside the APA, there are many fellowship opportunities for psychologists. For example, the Veteran Affairs (VA) provides a variety of fellowship opportunities for psychologists who are interested in helping veterans with their mental health problems. They offer approximately 400 post-doctoral fellowships in almost 79 VA medical centers across the country. These unique programs are supported through cooperation from the Office of Academic Affiliations (OAA) and the VA Psychology Training Council (VAPTC).

In addition to this, students can join well-established organizations, such as the Association of Psychology Postdoctoral and Internship Centers (APPIC), which offers membership and exclusive access to special fellowships.

How to Choose the Right Fellowship?

As the academic job market becomes more competitive, it can be difficult to secure a fellowship. Even when there are excellent opportunities available, students should carefully select their program in order to assure a mutually beneficial match. Therefore, students should first check if the fellowship will allow them to publish distinguished research papers. Second, the student should verify if they will be able to work with a helpful faculty member. That is, the post-doctoral advisor should willing and able to teach the student skills and provide ample flexibility regarding choice of research topics.

What are the Core Competencies of Post-Doctoral Fellowships?

According to the National Post-Doctoral Association (NPA), every post-doctoral fellowship should include six basic core competencies:

  • First, there should be discipline-specific concepts and knowledge. This relates to scientific fundamentals, such as designing testable hypotheses and data analytics.
  • Second, there should be research skill development. This means that the student should be able to safely and accurately design and interpret their research.
  • Third, the post-doctoral student should learn excellent written, spoken and interpersonal communication skills.
  • Fourth, the post-doctoral student should be held to the highest professional standards. Fifth, the program must cultivate project and personnel management skills.
  • Sixth, the post-doctoral student should receive industry standard training, such as responsible conduct of research (RCR) methods.

To review, psychology students pursue fellowships because they offer excellent career and academic benefits and opportunities. There are many different types of fellowships available. A Psychology Fellowship is a proven way to establish a student's expertise and competency.

See also: What is a Psychology Assistantship?