Each year as commencement approaches, the Psychology Department receives nominations for three awards. These are:

  • Distinction in Research and Creative Works
  • Howell award
  • Brelsford award

Below please find all the information you need, including eligibility, award criteria, and deadlines for these three awards.

Distinction in Research and Creative Works in Psychology

The Distinction in Research and Creative Work is a University-wide award described here:


This award is for select undergraduates, granted at commencement, and it will appear on their transcripts and diplomas. In Psychology, this award recognizes Rice B.A. recipients who have contributed to a substantial research discovery. Applicants should submit a formal description of their research by providing a submission-ready manuscript, a PSYC 499 honors final paper, or equivalent along with a detailed accounting of the nominee’s personal contribution as well as those of other authors. Applicants must also be in good academic standing and have a cumulative Rice-wide GPA of at least 3.30 for courses completed at Rice. Note that students who complete a Psychology honors thesis (PSYC 499) do not automatically qualify for this distinction, but they are strongly encouraged to apply for it. Note also that in addition to graduating seniors, non-seniors and December grads are eligible for the award.  Recognition for the award is granted only at Commencement in May and only for students who have graduated or are graduating at that Commencement. 

Required Application Materials:

  • A brief declaration of intention to apply for this distinction.
  • Documentation of research achievement in the form of a published paper, thesis, pre-publication manuscript, electronic file of a presentation (PowerPoint or poster).
  • A supporting letter from the research advisor, which should detail the student’s research accomplishments and intellectual contributions.

Deadline for Final Submission of Materials: Friday April 7, 2017.  
Please email the required documents in PDF format to psyc@rice.edu, with the subject header “Distinction in Research Award.” We will confirm receipt. If you are unable to submit your application electronically, you may bring it to Carrie Smith in Sewall Hall 464 in an envelope labeled “Distinction in Research” along with your name.

Howell and Brelsford Awards

Each year, the Department of Psychology grants two awards at the School of Social Sciences reception on the Friday before graduation: the William C. Howell Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Research and Scholarship, and the John W. Brelsford Award for Superior Scholarship, Leadership, or Service. Recipients of these awards receive a cash prize, a plaque, and a certificate. Names of the recipients are included in the graduation program and are inscribed on a large plaque displayed in the Department of Psychology.

The Howell Award recognizes an outstanding academic record as reflected by overall GPA, Psychology GPA, and outstanding record of research accomplishment as reflected on a c.v. in sections detailing:

  • Participation in lab(s) in the Psychology Department
  • Participation in lab(s) outside of the Psychology Department
  • Presentations at conferences
  • Publications
  • Grants awarded

The Brelsford Award recognizes these same criteria but puts significant emphasis on service contributions to the field of psychology, to the Department at Rice, and/or to the greater Rice community.

Deadline for receipt of your materials is Monday, April 3, 2017.
Please email these documents (transcript and statement) in PDF format to psyc@rice.edu, with the subject header “Howell and Brelsford Awards.” We will confirm receipt. If you are unable to submit your application electronically, you may bring it to Carrie Smith in Sewall Hall 464 in an envelope labeled “Howell and Brelsford Awards” along with your name.