Where to Start
As you consider your potential funding needs, please note that the first step in all cases is to design your research project with your advisor. Then, depending on your needs, please consider the following primary sources for funding: your advisor, the Department of Psychology, and the Office of Undergraduate Research (OUR).
Please note: the following information and sources of funding pertain to conducting experimental research. If you are seeking funding to attend or present your research at a conference, we recommend that you speak with your advisor and consult the Office of Undergraduate Research’s page on the Undergraduate Fund for Academic Conferences (UFAC).
Primary Funding Sources
If you are completing an experiment in a Princeton lab within the context of your advisor’s research, then the first likely source of funding will be your advisor’s lab grants.
Before you apply for funding from the Office of Undergraduate Research and/or the Department of Psychology, please speak with your advisor to determine whether your work will require these additional resources.
The Department of Psychology fund for Independent Work may be used to pay for research participant fees, equipment fees, or supplies. It cannot be used for housing, living expenses, or travel-related expenses.
Psychology students can receive up to $1,000 in departmental funds in total, which may be used to support their Senior Thesis, Junior Independent Work, or a combination of the two.
- For example, a student may apply to use their funding during the summer between junior and senior year to pay participants recruited for their Senior Thesis.
- Or, a student may apply to use a portion of their funding during junior year to conduct a pilot study as part of their Junior Independent Work, which may later support their Senior Thesis. Then, they may apply to use the remainder of their funds during senior year to pay participants recruited for the Senior Thesis.
Finally, please note that departmental funding is awarded based on the merit of the proposal and the need for funds. Due to this policy, students conducting research in well-funded labs may be less likely to receive departmental funding.
Through their Senior Thesis Research Funding program, the Office of Undergraduate Research supplies funding during the following periods throughout the year:
- Summer: in the spring, juniors may apply for funding to conduct thesis research during the summer between their junior and senior years.
- Fall: in the early fall, seniors may apply for funding to conduct thesis research over the fall break / semester of their senior year.
- Spring: in the mid fall, seniors may apply for funding to conduct thesis research from December through the end of March of their senior year.
OUR provides a detailed list of expenses covered and the maximum amount of funding that may be granted for each. You can review this list on their Thesis Funding page, under “Expenses Covered.” Additional details regarding eligibility, when and how to apply, and review and award processes can be found on the Office of Undergraduate Research website.
Applying for Funding
If funding from the Department of Psychology and/or the Office of Undergraduate Research is needed, you may apply through the Student Activities Funding Engine (SAFE) in consultation with your advisor.
In SAFE, you will find a set of funding opportunities open to Psychology majors along with the time window for submitting proposals. The application periods for Psychology funding closely follows the Office of Undergraduate Research Senior Thesis Research Funding cycles (see When to Apply on the Office of Undergraduate Research website). If you have questions about SAFE, please look through OUR’s FAQ help pages on this tool.
IMPORTANT NOTE: OUR Senior Thesis funding is considered "top-off" funding and can only be used once you demonstrate that you have used up the departmental or programmatic funds for which you are eligible in one single application. Please see more on this below under "Departmental vs. OUR funding".
Before you Apply
Students should discuss their application with their advisor and be prepared to submit a full account of their proposed research, a detailed budget, envisioned timeline, and a planned itinerary (if applicable) with their application.
You will also require IRB approval before you can conduct any research with human subjects. For questions about IRB approval, you may ask our Human Subjects Administrator, RoseMarie Stevenson
The Department of Psychology can fund requests up to $1000 for eligible students and may be used to pay for research participant fees, equipment fees, or supplies. It cannot be used for housing, living expenses, or travel-related expenses.
The Office of Undergraduate Research can often afford more funding for a wider array of research-related expenses, but you should note their funding cap in the senior thesis funding opportunity in SAFE, under the funding amount restrictions, before applying.
Please keep these respective funding limits in mind when designing your experiment and discuss this with your advisor. It is part of the challenge of practical science to keep the costs down, and we encourage you to take this opportunity to demonstrate your creativity and resourcefulness as a psychological scientist. For example…
- You may be able to reduce the number of participants by streamlining the experimental design.
- You may be able to borrow laptops or tablets via a University loaner program.
- You may be able to access software or cloud storage for free or at a discounted rate via OIT.
OUR Senior Thesis funding is considered "top-off" funding and can only be used once you demonstrate that you have used up departmental or programmatic funds for which you are eligible in one single application.
This means that any time you apply for OUR Senior Thesis funding, you must also select any and all departmental or programmatic funds for which you are eligible, such as those relevant funds afforded by your major or minor.
Please do not submit more than one application per project- this may jeopardize your funding eligibility.
Additional Information and Funding
If you are curious about additional funding opportunities, we encourage you to check SAFE for other funding opportunities open to Psychology majors. To view all published award opportunities, leave all search fields blank in SAFE and then select search. There, you may see opportunities such as those funded by:
- Center for Culture, Society and Religion: junior and senior independent research projects in the study of religion.
- Effron Center for the Study of America: research in the fields of American studies, Asian American studies, and/or Latino studies.
- Martin A. Dale ‘53 Summer Awards: sophomore summer funding to pursue project opportunities for personal growth, foster independence, creativity, and leadership skills, and broaden or deepen some area of special interest.
- Princeton Research in Experimental Social Science (PRESS): small-scale experimental projects that include treatment and control conditions that have clear implications for political processes or form a bridge between their home department and politics.
- Program for Community-Engaged Scholarship: community-engaged research conducted during the summer between junior and senior year or either semester senior year.
OUR also routinely publishes a list of available summer funding opportunities.