The Center for Life Beyond Reed

Truman Scholarship

Apply through Reed Fellowships and Awards Committee

Internal Deadline: November 8th, 2023 at 12:00 PM pacific

» Scholarship's official website
» List of previous winners
» Internal application instructions
» Recommenders: Information about Writing Letters


The Harry S. Truman Scholarship provides awards of up to $30,000 to approximately 60 students each year (from approximately 800 nominees) to support graduate degrees in fields that are likely to lead to a public service career. Students must be college juniors at the time of application but will use the funding to cover the first and second years of graduate school. Public Service is broadly defined by the Truman Foundation and includes: government employment at any level, uniformed services, public interest organizations, nongovernmental research and/or education organizations, public and private schools, and public-service orientated nonprofit organizations such as those whose primary purposes are to help needy or disadvantaged persons or to protect the environment.

The Foundation is willing to fund any degree so long as it is likely to lead to a public service career. They have many Truman Scholars who seek juris doctors or master's and doctoral degrees in public administration, public policy, public health, international relations, government, economics, social services, education, urban planning, conservation and environmental protection. Some Scholars have pursued degrees in the medical or physical science.

They rarely support MBAs as these degrees are usually not likely to lead to careers in public service and are often not the best option for the path suggested by the applicant. There are, of course, exceptions. If you believe that you fall into that category, you must make the connection between the MBA and your future career in public service very clear in your application.


Applicants for the Truman Scholarship must be:
  • US Citizens, US National residents of American Samoa, or expecting their citizenship by the date of the award;
  • Currently enrolled at Reed and in their junior year at the time of application;
  • Nominated by Reed College;
  • Planning to attend graduate school in pursuit of a career in public service. The Foundation encourages time between undergraduate and graduate school, so candidates need not commit to going immediately.
This scholarship does not have a minimum GPA requirement, but applicants need to have an academic record that demonstrates that they are likely to gain admission to whichever graduate program to which they plan to apply.

Selection Criteria

The Foundation is looking for the next generation of public service leaders. The ideal candidate will demonstrate:

  • Leadership: They consider leadership to be more than merely occupying a position of leadership. Truman Scholars either use their leadership position in unique ways or create opportunities for leadership where none existed.
  • Commitment to a Career in Public Service: Truman Scholars have a lengthy record of service as well as detailed and ambitious plans for a future career as a leader in their area of interest.
  • Likelihood of Success in Graduate School: They are less interested in a perfect academic record than they are in seeing a Truman Scholar who is intellectually curious and on track to succeed in their graduate program of choice.

Application Procedure

Interested students should review our internal application instructions. Contact CLBR Fellowships with any questions.