Truman Scholarship

Program Summary

The Harry S. Truman Scholarship Foundation awards scholarships of up to $30,000 to college students who have outstanding leadership potential, plan to pursue careers in government or elsewhere in public service, and wish to attend graduate school to help prepare for their careers. 75-80 scholarships will be awarded to outstanding college juniors across the country.

Targeted Areas

Priority is given to candidates proposing to enroll in graduate programs specifically oriented to careers in public service.

These include master's, Ph.D., and J.D. programs in: public administration; public policy analysis; public health; international relations; government; economics; social service delivery; education and human resource development; and conservation and environmental protection.

Award and Stipend

The Truman Scholarship provides $3,000 toward the recipient's final year of undergraduate study and $27,000 for graduate study.


  1. leadership abilities and potential, including honesty, vision, sensitivity, and communication skills;
  2. commitment to career in public service, and the potential for influencing public policies;
  3. suitability of the student's proposed program of study for a career in public service;
  4. academic performance (upper quarter of his/her class), intellectual strength, and the potential to perform in graduate school;
  5. quality and extent of public and community service and government involvement.

An outstanding application, will among other things:

  • reveal unique and interesting aspects of the student, and show some humor;
  • demonstrate at least two years of public service involvement and include evidence of leadership, initiative, and taking responsibility;
  • include a well-researched public policy analysis worthy of the officials to whom it is addressed.

Application Process

The University of Puget Sound may nominate up to four students. All application materials must be submitted by the Fellowships Office following an internal competition. The application deadline is in December.

Persons interested in applying for the Truman Scholarship can visit the Truman Scholarship website. The next step is a visit to the Graduate and Undergraduate Fellowships Office (Howarth 114J) where a Letter of Intent is to be filed.

The Truman Scholarship is highly competitive. An applicant must meet all set deadlines --both on the University of Puget Sound campus and the scholarship's-- and is expected to work closely with the Fellowships Office.

An internal competition will determine those applications which are worthy of being forwarded to the District competition.

If granted an interview as a Truman Finalist, students will be asked probing questions that assess their intellectual strength, communication skills, and analytic abilities; understanding of public policy issues in their general fields and the roles of government in addressing these issues; commitment to public service; and likelihood of making a difference. Mock Interviews will be held on the University of Puget Sound campus for all finalists.