Graduate School Proposal

You are here


The choice of a graduate school can affect academic success, access to public service careers, decisions on where to live and work, and the amount of debt incurred during graduate study. Before choosing a graduate or professional school, you should know: in what area(s) you wish to concentrate; the most appropriate schools for these studies; the main faculty under whom you want to study; the environment in which you feel comfortable and perform well; and the desired public service employment upon completion of graduate study. You should visit the graduate institution before committing to attend. 
Some Things to Look for When Visiting a Prospective Graduate Institution:
  • The priorities of the program in such terms as subject matter, types of students sought, and types of career placements emphasized; 
  • Average GRE (or equivalent) scores; 
  • Diversity among the student body;
  • Public service placement success: Percent of recent graduates currently in public service jobs and percent of graduates in the last year who received one or more job offers in the public service. Percent of students receiving paying internships and summer jobs during their graduate study. Number of recent graduates who have obtained the type of position(s) you seek;
  • Merit-based aid and loan forgiveness programs in the event the Truman award does not cover all expenses;  
  • Research funds available to students in your field of interest; 
  • Practitioners and public service leaders who have spoken on the campus or served as adjunct faculty during the past year; 
  • Teaching schedules and graduate student access to the faculty of interest to you and the availability of the courses you wish to take; and,
  • Experiences of Truman Scholars attending the institution.
Each Truman Scholar must submit a detailed proposal for graduate study and receive written approval from the Foundation. The field of study and career interests may differ from the original proposal for a Truman Scholarship. 
Scholars should consult with faculty members and academic advisors to refine graduate study plans and to find the most appropriate graduate school(s). Scholars are also encouraged to consult with the Truman Foundation Executive Secretary as they develop their plans for graduate school; the Foundation wants each Scholar to find the institution that best fits his or her needs and professional interests.  
The proposal should be uploaded on our website (not emailed to a specific staff member) no later than December 1 prior to the year the Scholar plans to commence graduate studies supported by the Foundation. is not able to receive PDFs, so you can cut and paste your proposal into the textbox from a Word processor. Proposals submitted after this date are not likely to be reviewed until April (after the selection of new Scholars has been completed), and proposals received and approved late may not be eligible for immediate fall semester funding. Often, proposals are returned for additional work. Proposals received after July 1 are not accepted. 
Contents of the Proposal 
The proposal should include the following information:
  • Your name, full contact information, the degree sought, and the institution(s) to which you are applying.
  • A narrative that outlines the specific problems or needs of society you want to address and how you expect to address them in the three to five years following graduate school;
  • Type(s) of employment you plan to seek immediately upon completing your graduate studies and what you expect to seek three to five years later; 
  • Your proposed graduate school curriculum and why this curriculum is appropriate for addressing the problems or needs and attaining the positions you seek;
  • Links to relevant pages from the catalog of the institution you hope to attend and indication of the program and the optional courses you expect to take; 
  • Your scores from standardized tests for graduate school, for example, GRE results; 
  • Your first choice for a graduate school and why this would be the best place to achieve your public service ambitions. If this is an optimistic choice, your back up school and why this would be an appropriate choice; 
  • Percent of recent graduates of the program who are now employed in the public service; 
  • The main professor(s) under whom you expect to study; Name(s) and telephone number(s) of the person(s) with whom you have consulted most closely in developing this proposal; and,
  • The types of summer jobs, part time jobs and/or internships you expect to seek to complement your graduate studies.
Important Reminders About Graduate Study Proposals 
Scholars who are proposing study in programs not given priority by the Foundation (such as the MBA, MD, and engineering), must include the following information in order to be considered for the full amount of their graduate stipend: 
  • Whether their program has a formal track specifically targeted toward employment in government or the non-profit sector (for example, a public-sector orientated MD program or the non-profit management track at a graduate school of business administration). If the program has a formal public service track, Scholars must explain how they will participate in that track. 
  • If the selected program does not have a formal public service track, the Scholar must identify why they have selected that program in the absence of a formal public service track. Scholars should also explain, in detail how they would develop a public service focused program using existing resources.
  • Whether Scholars intend to supplement their degree with another degree or program funded from other sources. For instance, a Scholar who plans to pursue a career in international public health may petition for Foundation funding for a MD with the hopes to obtain a MPH from another funding source (e.g. Rhodes, Marshall or support from the graduate institution). This information should be included in the graduate school proposal as it provides helpful information on the Scholar's commitment to public service.
Should Scholars need to change any aspect of their graduate school proposal after it is approved, the changes must be submitted in writing to the Foundation at Minor changes in program or institution can generally be approved within a few working days. More significant changes, such as a total change in program or a request for drastically different funding, may take longer to approve and may require additional documentation. 
All Scholars must submit a graduate study proposal, receive written approval from the Executive Secretary and meet the requirements of Section 1801.51 before funding for graduate study will be available. [Requirements are set out in the Harry S. Truman Scholarship Foundation's Rules and regulations, 45CFR Part 1801. Section 1801.51 refers to the required submission of Payment Request Form, Educational Expenses and Support Form, and Direct Deposit/EFT Form.]