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Harry S Truman Scholarship

university fellowships committee

Juniors only may apply.

The Harry S Truman Scholarship Foundation awards scholarships to outstanding students who intend to pursue careers in government or elsewhere in public service. These scholarships are awarded on the basis of merit to students who will be college Seniors in the next academic year and who have an outstanding potential for leadership in government.

Each scholarship awards expenses for tuition, fees, books, and room and board, to a maximum of $3,000 for the Senior year and $27,000 for two- or three-year graduate study. One scholarship is awarded each year to a resident nominee in each of the 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and, considered as a single entity, Guam, the Virgin Islands, American Samoa, and the Trust Territory of the Pacific Islands. In addition, up to 29 Scholars-at-Large may be chosen.

The Harry S Truman Scholarship Foundation was established by Congress as the official federal memorial to honor the 33rd President of the United States. The Foundation recognizes President Truman's high regard for the public trust, his lively exercise of political talents, his broad knowledge and understanding of the American political system, and his desire to enhance educational opportunities for young people. Nominees for the Truman Scholarships are evaluated on academic merit, on outstanding potential for leadership in, and on intention to pursue a career in government or public service.

The Foundation defines public service as employment in government at any level, uniformed services, public-interest organizations, nongovernmental research and/or educational organizations, public and private schools, and public-service oriented nonprofit organizations such as those whose primary purposes are to help needy or disadvantaged persons or to protect the environment.

Nominees for Truman Scholarships must include in their nomination materials a statement of interest in a career in government, detailing how their academic program and their overall educational plans will prepare them for their chosen career goal. These educational plans need not be limited to courses in history, political science, public administration, economics and finance, or international relations. Examples of other disciplines that could lead to a career in government include: agriculture, chemistry, engineering, environmental studies, forestry, foreign languages, mathematics, computer science, and public health.

To be eligible, applicants must:

  • be matriculated students pursuing a Bachelor's degree at an accredited institution of higher education;
  • be a Junior at the time of application;
  • have a college grade point average of at least B (3.0 GPA) and be in the upper quartile of their class;
  • be U.S. citizens, or in the case of nominees from American Samoa or the Trust Territory of the Pacific Islands, must be United States nationals.

The completed application requires: a statement that the student plans to pursue a career in government; a list of the student's public service activities, such as those associated with government agencies, community groups, and political campaigns; a list of leadership positions the student has held during high school and during the first two years of undergraduate study; a statement of interest in a career in government that specifies how the student's educational plans will provide preparation for that career, and a description of a proposed program of graduate study; and three letters of recommendation. The application also must contain an essay of 600 words written by the student that analyzes a public policy issue chosen by the student.

All Boston College candidates for these scholarships must first be nominated by the Boston College Truman Nominating Committee. The Truman Foundation will not accept applications lacking the university's endorsement. Interested students should contact the Boston College Campus Coordinator for the Truman to obtain information and application forms. To be competitive, interested students should contact the BC Campus Coordinator for the Truman during the Spring semester of their Sophomore year, to begin preparing their applications.

The key dates for submitting an application to the Boston College Truman Nominating Committee are:

  • No later than October 15, inform the Truman Campus Coordinator that you will be applying;
  • By December 1, submit complete application (with policy proposal, official or unofficial transcript, and letters of recommendation) online to be evaluated by the Campus Coordinator and other faculty members;
  • By mid-December, those applicants who will be nominated by Boston College will be notified and will work with the Campus Coordinator in submitting their applications to the Truman Foundation.

If you would like additional information about the scholarship and application process before talking with the Campus Coordinator, consult the Harry S Truman Foundation web site.