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Navy Psychology Health Professions Scholarship Program

Navy Psychology HPSP is an educational support program for individuals who desire to serve as clinical psychologists in the United States Navy. HPSP provides financial assistance to students who are enrolled in APA-accredited doctoral programs (Ph.D. or Psy. D.) in clinical or counseling psychology.

IMPORTANT! All scholarships are three years in length (years 2, 3, and 4 in most programs). To be eligible for HPSP, applicants must already be enrolled in their doctoral program, and must be able to complete three years as a full-time student on the scholarship before starting their pre-doctoral internship. For example, scholarship students selected in 2024 will be full-time students in their doctoral programs for three years, and will start their pre-doctoral internship in 2027. Students in their second year of study are eligible for HPSP, but they must commit to remaining in their program for three additional years prior to starting internship.


  • Must be a United States citizen (dual citizenship not permitted)
  • Must be less than 42 years of age when starting the pre-doctoral internship (which will commence in August of 2027).
  • Must be medically qualified.
  • Must meet Navy height/weight standards.
  • Must be able to pass a security background check (be eligible for a Secret security clearance).
  • Must be a full-time student.


  • For guidance on the application process, please contact the National Director, Navy Psychology Training Programs (Dr. John Ralph) at (301) 295-2476 or john.a.ralph.civ@health.mil. You can also contact the Head of Student Programs for HPSP at (301) 295-1594 or (301) 295-1217.
  • Students should apply for HPSP during their first (or in some cases, second) year of graduate school. Students who have not yet started graduate school should not submit an application.
  • Interviews conducted as part of the application process will be scheduled during the second half of the academic year (usually in early February). This is to provide the interviewers with maximum information about applicants’ graduate school performance up to that time.
  • Selection of scholarship students takes place annually in March. Receipt of the scholarship is contingent on the successful completion of one’s first year of graduate school.

Benefit Start Date

HPSP benefits start on the latest of the following three dates:

  • Oath of Office
  • HPSP Contract
  • Academic Start Date

For example: If you take the oath of office on 21 July 2024, sign the HPSP contract the same day, then start the fall semester on 14 August 2024, your resulting Benefit Start Date (BSD) would be 14 August 2024

Tuition is backdated to the start of the semester in which the student is currently enrolled. Your stipend (see below) will begin on the Benefit Start Date.


  • Full tuition (no upper limit) paid via contract between the Navy and your school. (If you are brought into the program prior to the last day of the term, the Navy can pay tuition for the entire term)
  • A stipend of $2,608.00 per month (this represents 2023 figures, and will likely increase for 2024)
  • All required fees with some exceptions (e.g., parking, cap and gown, student union fees, etc.)
  • All required books and equipment
  • Reimbursement for health and dental insurance, if required by school
  • Full pay and allowances of an Ensign (0-1) for 45 days per year (amounting to approximately $4,500), which is completed during Annual Training (AT). HPSP students may complete one sponsored AT per year. Travel and per diem are paid by the Navy if the AT is performed in a location other than your school. However, AT can also be completed at your school under “School Orders.”

HPSP Obligated Service

  • The traditional HPSP service obligation is 3 years post-internship. Students are obligated to serve one year of active duty (not counting training years) for each year of scholarship, with a three-year minimum. So, scholarship recipients who receive 3 years of tuition will serve three years on active duty after their pre-doctoral internship.
  • It should be noted that the Navy Clinical Psychology community is gradually moving toward compliance with a DOD regulation that requires an individual to be licensed before fulfilling any portion of their service obligation. In support of this, we are currently piloting a postdoctoral training year for new psychologists. This training will focus on the provision of psychological ser vices in Navy and Marine Corps operational settings, and it will provide the time and resources necessary for trainees to become licensed in the state of their choice. It is expected that this postdoctoral training year will be fully implemented within the next two to three years, and will then become mandatory for most new psychologists. This will essentially increase the service obligation to 4 years post internship. However, this will not change the service obligation for those applying for HPSP in 2024. This service obligation will still be 3 years post internship.

Entry Grade Credit

  • Scholarship students receive 4 years of “entry grade credit,” so they start the pre-doctoral internship as Navy Lieutenants (O-3). 
  • Entry Grade Credit determines Date of Rank. It does not affect pay.
  • Applicants with prior commissioned service earn EGC at a rate of ½ year for every year of service.


  • Scholarship students must apply for (and are expected to attend) the Navy’s APA-accredited doctoral internship at Naval Medical Center Portsmouth, Virginia (NMCP).
  • Applications for the NMCP internship are due around the 1st of November in the year prior to internship.
  • Internship application results will be released by mid-November. In the unlikely event that a student is not accepted to the Portsmouth internship, this early date allows them time to submit an application for the national match (through which they could apply to the Navy internships at Walter Reed and Naval Medical Center San Diego).

Coming on Active Duty: Orders

  • Scholarship students attend a 5-week Navy orientation program (Officer Development School [ODS]) at some point during the three years that they are on scholarship. ODS is a one-time training, and can be attended during the first, second, or third year of the scholarship. Students are strongly encouraged to complete this requirement in the first or second year of the scholarship if possible. ODS must be completed prior to starting internship, and there are a limited number of seats in each class.
  • Arrangements to attend ODS are made through the HPSP Accessions Program office.
  • Once orders to internship are in hand, students can arrange to have their household goods moved to the Portsmouth area. This move will be funded by the Navy.

Coming on Active Duty: Superseding

  • Prior to starting the doctoral internship, students supersede from Ensign (O-1) in the Individual Ready Reserve, to Lieutenant (O-3) in the active-duty Navy.
  • Students are not eligible for active duty pay until they report to Portsmouth for their internship. If they attend ODS immediately prior to starting their internship, their active duty pay will begin when they report to ODS.

For additional questions, please contact the National Training Director for Navy Psychology, Dr. John Ralph, at john.a.ralph.civ@health.mil, or by phone at (301) 295-2476.

Additional Information

John A. Ralph, Ph.D., ABPP
CAPT, MSC, USN (ret)
National Director
Navy Psychology Training Programs
Walter Reed National Military Medical Center
Bethesda, MD 20889


(301) 295-2476



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