Truman Scholarship: An Overview

At A Glance...

Official Name: 
Truman Scholarship
Campus Deadline: 
Wednesday, November 29, 2023
Who Should Apply?: 

Juniors interested in public service

What It's For: 

Graduate degree and career in public service

Fields of Study: 
Any field

Click here for more Truman Scholarship application resources...


Truman scholars are movers and shakers, agents of change, students who are committed to changing the world and serving the public. The Truman Foundation awards 60-65 scholarships annually to college juniors who wish to pursue graduate school in preparation for careers in public service. The scholarship includes up to $30,000 toward graduate studies, leadership training, and a 10-week Washington, D.C. Summer Institute following graduation. The Foundation defines public service as government employment at any level, uniformed services, public interest organizations, nongovernmental research and/or education organizations, public and private schools, and public service-oriented nonprofit organizations - in short, those organizations and agencies whose primary purposes are to help needy or disadvantaged persons or to protect the environment.

Eligibility Requirements

  • U.S. citizen or U.S. national
  • Current junior (based on date of graduation, not credit hours accumulated)
  • Planning to pursue an advanced degree: Master's degree, doctorate, or professional degree such as a law degree or a Master of Public Administration, Master of Public Health, Master of Social Work, Master of Education, Master of Public Policy, or Master of International Affairs
  • Will pursue a career in which you will serve as a "change agent," for example, improving the ways that government agencies, nonprofit organizations, or educational institutions serve the public

Candidate Profile

  • Record of sustained service to community as demonstrated by participation in extracurricular activities, volunteer work, internships
  • Demonstrated skills as an effective leader, advocate, and/or activist ("agent of change")
  • Intellectual rigor and a strong academic record that illustrate preparedness for graduate study
  • Clear plans to pursue a career in public service
  • Well-developed and pragmatic policy proposal essay that addresses a specific problem

Application Components

  • Online application form
  • Personal Statement
  • Policy Proposal essay
  • Three letters of recommendation, each addressing a particular area:
    • Leadership abilities and potential
    • Commitment and desire for a career in public service
    • Intellect and ability to succeed in graduate school
    • Transcript

Application Procedure

All applicants MUST be nominated by their college or university in order to apply for the Truman Scholarship. As such, UMass applicants are reviewed by the internal faculty committee and up to four nominees are sent forward to the Truman Foundation for consideration.

Detailed campus application information is provided directly to applicants once they meet with ONSA advisers.