Truman Scholarship

Truman Scholars are future “change agents” who have the desire, intellect, and leadership potential that in time will likely enable them to improve the way that public entities such as including government agencies and non-profit organizations serve the public. More than 50 juniors are selected as Truman Scholars each year to receive $30,000 for graduate studies. Applicants must have a strong academic and service record and plan to pursue a graduate program geared toward public service.

The Harry S. Truman Scholarship Foundation gives priority to master’s and doctorate programs in public administration, public policy analysis, public health, international relations, government, economics, social services delivery, education and human resource development, and conservation and environmental protection. Students who plan to pursue medical or law degrees must make a convincing case that they do so for purposes of public service.

The Truman Scholarship has a newly instituted service requirement. As a condition of receiving the award, Truman Scholars are now required to work in public service for three of the seven years following completion of a Truman Scholars Foundation-funded graduate degree program. Truman Scholars who do not meet this service requirement, or who fail to provide timely proof to the Foundation of such employment, will be required to repay funds received along with interest. The Foundation will have an appeals process for special circumstances.

Application Details   Apply Now


You must meet the following eligibility requirements to apply in 2017-18 for the Truman Scholarship:

  • Be a U.S. citizen, a U.S. national from a Pacific Island, or expect to receive your citizenship by the date the Truman Scholarship will be awarded.
  • Be committed to a career in public service or government.
  • Meet the Truman Foundation’s requirement of being a full-time student pursuing a bachelor’s degree with junior-level academic standing; or have senior-level standing in your third year of college enrollment.
  • Have sufficiently strong grades and coursework to gain admittance to a first-rate graduate institution.
  • Receive UNC’s endorsement through the Office of Distinguished Scholarships. 

Application Deadline

Tuesday, October 31, 2017 (5:00 pm ET)

Tips & Advice

Applicants interested in applying for the Truman Scholarship should:

  • Review the ODS “Tips & Advice” document for general advice on applying for a distinguished award
  • Attend an ODS information session to learn more about the application process.
  • Applicants who would like feedback on their policy proposal and resume are encouraged to submit drafts to ODS, preferably before the end of the summer or at least one week before the endorsement application deadline.
  • Read the Truman Scholarship Bulletin of Information, How to Become A Truman Scholar, and review the questionnaire for potential Truman Scholars.
  • Be familiar with Harry Truman and his presidency.
  • Prepare for the application process by:
    • Regularly reading national newspapers such as the Wall Street Journal/New York Times and periodicals such as The Economist
    • Taking a course or seminar dealing with current public issues
    • Continuing community service activities
    • Assuming leadership roles, even if on a small-scale basis
    • Engaging in public service, government, and community service work and/or volunteer activities that are not connected with UNC
  • Recent Truman Scholarship Recipient

    Will Lindsey ’14 (2012-13)