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The Mary Whiton Calkins Undergraduate Award

The Mary Whiton Calkins Undergraduate Award is granted annually to an academically outstanding undergraduate student in psychology and philosophy while honouring Calkins’ remarkable achievements as a pioneer of psychology.

Mary Whiton Calkins, an early American psychologist and philosopher, was among the first generation of women to enter into psychology at the turn of the 20th century. Before 1900 graduate studies for women was unprecedented; women could not officially register at Harvard.

Calkins fought for access to Harvard’s seminars and laboratories and was eventually granted guest status. In 1895, despite fulfilling all requirements and being considered one of the most skilled students in her field, Harvard refused to grant a degree to Mary Whiton Calkins because she was a woman.

Inspired by the obstacles that Calkins’ faced in her education and career, a group of UBC psychology undergraduate students campaigned to establish an award in her name. The Mary Whiton Calkins Undergraduate Award recognizes and honours Calkins’ remarkable achievements as a pioneer of psychology.

Dr. Alan Kingstone, a professor in UBC’s department of psychology who worked with the students to establish the award says, “These students felt that founding the award was a significant first step in recognizing the groundwork Mary Whiton Calkins established in psychology and in gender equality.”

The students must major in Psychology with a minor in Philosophy; major in Philosophy with a minor in Psychology; or double major in both Psychology and Philosophy.

Eligibility is evaluated on grades and records from the student’s most recent 30 percentage-graded credits.

The students may only receive the award once and it must be in their graduating year.

Recipients are asked for a short submission about how they relate to Calkins’ story in their own lives.

Research Assistantships

If you’d like to gain research experience in an academic setting, there are two forms of assistantship awards available. Note: you may receive funding from only one of the programs below. Those eligible should apply for the NSERC USRA. Students who do not receive the USRA will automatically be considered for the Quinn Award. Both awards offer a minimum salary of $9,755.20 for 16 weeks of full-time work.

Applications are closed!

If you are interested in this award you must first contact a UBC Psychology faculty member.

Applications are closed!

Applications closed on February 16, 2024.

More information:

Faculty with an active NSERC Research Grant:

  • Susan Birch
  • Frances Chen
  • Kalina Christoff
  • Luke Clark
  • Samantha Dawson
  • Lauren Emberson
  • James Enns
  • Stan Floresco
  • Liisa Galea
  • Peter Graf
  • Kiley Hamlin
  • Todd Handy
  • Hee Yeon Im
  • Alan Kingstone
  • Joelle LeMoult
  • Darko Odic
  • Daniela Palombo
  • Catharine Rankin
  • Jason Rights
  • Victoria Savalei
  • Jason Snyder
  • Kiran Soma
  • Rebecca Todd
  • Lawrence Ward
  • Janet Werker
  • Catharine Winstanley

This funding is provided by a generous gift from the estate of a distinguished alumnus, Dr. Michael J. Quinn (1917-2005). Learn more about the award.

To be eligible to apply for an award you must have obtained at least the equivalent of a B- (68% at UBC) cumulative average in previous university level coursework.

To hold an award you must have completed the course requirements of at least the first year of university study(or two academic terms); have been registered in at least one course in the term immediately before holding the award; not be receiving major funding from another award program; and not be pursuing a program of graduate studies.
You are expected to work 560 hours on a full-time basis during the summer (4 months of full-time work, 35 hours/week starting in May).
If you are interested in this award you must first contact a UBC Psychology faculty member listed below. If the faculty member agrees to nominate you for this award, each of you must complete a Quinn Research Assistantship form (student and supervisor). Both the supervisor and student forms must be submitted for your application to be considered.

Applications are closed!

Applications closed on February 16, 2024.


  • Lynn Alden
  • Andrew Baron
  • Jeremy Biesanz
  • Anita DeLongis
  • Elizabeth Dunn
  • Friedrich Götz
  • Geoffrey Hall
  • Steven Heine
  • Paul Hewitt
  • Christiane Hoppmann
  • Connor Kerns
  • E. David Klonsky
  • Kristin Laurin
  • Amori Mikami
  • Ara Norenzayan
  • Delroy Paulhus
  • Mark Schaller
  • Toni Schmader
  • Azim Shariff
  • Noah Silverberg
  • Nancy Sin
  • Jessica Tracy
  • Sheila Woody
  • Jiaying Zhao

In addition to the faculty members listed above, those listed under the NSERC faculty list can also nominate students for the QRA. If eligible, students nominated by NSERC faculty members should first apply to the USRA.

Travel Funding

UBC students pursuing an undergraduate degree (BA or BSc) in Psychology are eligible for the Quinn Travel Award for Undergraduates, which is intended to encourage student participation in scholarly conferences and to expand the opportunities for consultation and collaboration.

Funding for this program is provided by an extraordinary gift to the department from the estate of a distinguished alumnus, Dr. Michael J. Quinn (1917-2005) and the anticipated award is $500 per trip.

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