The Harry S. Truman Scholarship is a $30,000 award for those planning to go into 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. In general, they are seeking students who:

  • Have participated extensively in university and/or community service type activities (including political activities).
  • Have demonstrated leadership potential.
  • Want to support people who will be a "change agent" and are committed to making a difference through public service.

The scholarship provides $3,000 for senior year, the rest for graduate school. However, if you are selected as a Truman Scholar, most graduate schools will provide assistance to make up the difference of the Truman award and their costs.


  • Must be a full-time student with junior-level academic standing (or have senior-level standing in third year of college enrollment)
  • Must be a U.S. citizen (or a U.S. national from a Pacific Island)
  • Must plan to work in government, education, the nonprofit sector, or the public interest/advocacy sector to improve these conditions (for at least three out of the first seven years out of school)
  • Must plan to get a master's degree, a doctorate, or a professional degree such as a law or medical degree
  • Must have high grades and a sufficiently strong curriculum to gain admittance to a first-rate graduate institution
  • Can be in any field of study (for example, engineers interested in developing techniques or technologies that will improve the human condition through public service, or nurses interested in public health)


Generally one award is given to a student from each state, and a few more to other top candidates (about 55-65 awards nationally.) UAH has had final round candidates and two Truman Scholars.


Begin as soon as possible! This Fellowship requires a student to begin preparation within their first two years at UAH. Application is made in your junior year, and you must already have established a track record of leadership and service by that time. Frequently, students can carry over service or leadership they began in high school.

If you are interested in public service or already have been engaged in your community and leadership, think about how you could connect what you have done or wish to do with your academic studies. You will need both a personal statement and a policy proposal that connect with this. You will also need strong recommendations, preferably from faculty or other leaders who know you very well.

Make contact with the Campus Faculty Representative as early as possible (preferably by September) to let know of interest.

Early October

  • Develop idea/plan for policy proposal
  • Begin drafts on personal statements (Questions 7-9, 11-14 on application)
  • Discuss ideas from whom to request letters of recommendation
    • One must discuss the candidate's Leadership Potential and Abilities
    • One must discuss the candidate's Commitment to a Career in Public Service
    • One must discuss the candidate's Intellect and Prospects for Continuing Academic Success

Early November

  • Present draft of policy proposal
  • Present drafts of personal statements
  • Request letters of recommendation
  • Request transcripts from all institutions attended

Early December

  • Formal review of policy proposal
  • Formal review of personal statements
  • All transcripts and letters of recommendation turned in to/received by Faculty Representative


  • Applications due
  • Formal interviews/review by campus committee
  • Institutional nominations written

February 1

  • All nomination materials submitted


For more information about the Harry S. Truman Scholarship, please contact:

Dr. Kathy Hawk

Associate Professor, Political Science

 Morton Hall 251