Undergraduate Awards

At the end of each academic year, outstanding seniors are recognized with the departmental Howell and Brelsford Awards, along with the Jenessa Shapiro Prize for Best Honors Thesis. They are also recognized with the university Distinction in Research & Creative Works designation.

Howell and Brelsford Awards

The Howell Award and the Brelsford Award are given each year to students who exhibit excellence in scholarship, research, and leadership and service achievements as they relate to the field of psychology or to the department at Rice. Recipients of these awards are recognized at the annual School of Social Sciences reception on the Friday before Commencement, where they are awarded a cash prize and a certificate. Names of the recipients are also included in the Commencement program. Although only seniors are considered for these awards, both graduating and non-graduating seniors are eligible.

The Howell Award recognizes an outstanding academic record as reflected by overall GPA, major GPA, and outstanding record of research accomplishment as reflected by participation in lab(s) both in and outside of the Psychological Sciences Department, presentations at conferences, publications, participation in RUSP, SSURE or the Honors Program, and 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, including community service of a psychological nature, Psi Chi membership, leadership and activities, or other service to the university.

Students can nominate themselves, or have a faculty members/graduate student nominate them. If you would like to be considered for these awards (regardless of how you were nominated), please provide a recent Rice transcript (an unofficial one will do) along with a brief personal statement and/or curriculum vitae of your relevant activities (no more than 2 pages).

Please email these documents (transcript and personal statement/curriculum vitae) in PDF format to psyc@rice.edu, with the subject header “Howell and Brelsford Awards.” We will confirm receipt.

Distinction in Research and Creative Works

To be eligible for the Distinction in Research and Creative Works designation on the diploma and transcript, students must be in good academic standing and provide a letter of support from a faculty member. The designation will be granted to graduating seniors whose research efforts and/or creative works relevant to psychology demonstrate the very highest levels of achievement and commitment. A variety of research, design, and other creative projects will be considered for the award. An honors thesis is not required to achieve distinction, nor does it guarantee the distinction.

Students must apply for Distinction in Research and Creative Works designation by submitting a cover letter, a supporting letter from a Psychological Sciences professor, and the product that resulted from their work. Examples of such products would be a thesis, a journal article on which the student is an author, a video project documenting their work, etc. Honors students can use their Honor Thesis proposal as their work product. There must be a product produced by the student to qualify for this distinction. It is not sufficient to submit only a cover letter and a supporting letter from a Psychological Sciences professor.

Please email these documents (cover letter, faculty recommendation letter, and student work) in PDF format to psyc@rice.edu, with the subject header “Distinction in Research and Creative Works.” We will confirm receipt.

The Jenessa Shapiro Prize for Best Honors Thesis

The Jenessa Shapiro Prize for Best Honors Thesis is awarded each year to the undergraduate senior who has completed the best honors thesis in the Department of Psychological Sciences, with preference given to students who are planning to attend graduate school to obtain a Ph.D. in psychology. If you have completed an honors thesis you will be automatically considered for this award, so no application is necessary.