We offer an array of educational programs to enable students at all levels of knowledge to learn about Ayn Rand’s philosophy and novels.

Program Overview

If you’re excited about Ayn Rand’s philosophy of Objectivism and serious about taking your understanding of it to the next level, the Objectivist Academic Center (OAC) is the program for you. The OAC is ARI’s premier intellectual training program. At its core is a three-year distance-learning curriculum that provides elite instruction in the central questions of philosophy, in Objectivism and its applications, in how to communicate ideas, and—above all—in how to think philosophically. It’s the only program of its kind in the world, offering live classes with Objectivist experts and personalized feedback on your writing, speaking and understanding of Objectivism.

One of the best aspects of the OAC is that you can take part no matter where you live. With classes conducted by videoconference, you’ll feel like you’re in the same room with your instructor and fellow classmates. Other benefits include AynRandCon and OCON scholarships and eligibility for professional development support such as career mentoring, grants and training opportunities.

If you’re intellectually ambitious, passionate about Objectivism and dedicated to challenging and improving yourself, then step up and apply to the OAC.

For reminders of application deadlines and other student updates, register here. Questions? Write to us at

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Program Experience

  • The OAC Program

    This is a three-year intensive program in which you will develop skills in abstract reasoning and philosophical thinking. You’ll deepen your knowledge of Objectivism and learn how to apply it to a range of philosophic and cultural issues. At the same time, you’ll have the opportunity to improve your communication skills and to explore what it means to be a professional intellectual or an intellectual professional.

    Within the structure of a systematic curriculum, designed and taught by ARI’s experienced instructors, students write papers, deliver oral presentations and evaluate the work of fellow students. Students receive personalized feedback and benefit from direct interaction with the Institute’s intellectual staff.

    The OAC Advanced Training Network

    Graduates of the OAC Program become part of a network of individuals who are eligible to participate in advanced-training opportunities, including courses and seminars, based on individual interest, fit and career relevance as well as ARI’s own resources. The emphasis is on developing the philosophical knowledge and skills needed to succeed as an Objectivist in both intellectual and professional contexts.

  • Dale Stevens

    The OAC has been an invaluable source of intellectual and moral support for me throughout my academic development, and continues to be as I embark on a career in academia.

    Dale Stevens

    Assistant Professor at York University
  • Elizabeth Laughton

    Participating in the OAC allowed me to deepen my understanding of Objectivism and to improve my communication skills.

    Elizabeth A. Laughton

    Attorney (CA, VA and DC)
  • Ray Girn

    My OAC classes were an excellent supplement to my college education. They improved my ability to think and write with precision, and to engage in honest, critical philosophic inquiry.

    Ray Girn

    Founder and CEO, Higher Ground Education

Program Details

  • The OAC is aimed at ambitious individuals who want to shape today’s intellectual debate. Those chosen for the OAC Program are usually considering careers in academia, public policy or business where the philosophy of Objectivism can heavily influence their way of thinking.

    In order to apply for the OAC Program, a basic familiarity with Ayn Rand’s ideas is required. Incoming students are expected to have read the following works prior to taking the entrance examination:

    • The Fountainhead
    • Atlas Shrugged
    • The Virtue of Selfishness
    • Capitalism: The Unknown Ideal
    • Objectivism: The Philosophy of Ayn Rand (by Leonard Peikoff)
  • Application Deadline: Midnight Pacific time, Sunday, July 15, 2018. Applicants will schedule a timed entrance exam to be taken by email during the following week. Following the review of applications, some candidates will be invited to interview for the program and participate in additional application steps. Applicants can expect to hear final results from ARI in early September.

    OAC Program Dates: Late October 2018 – early May 2019

  • The application for the OAC Program has the following components:

    1. 1. Online application form
    2. 2. Official transcripts
    3. 3. Entrance examination
    4. 4. Critical reasoning and leadership assessments

    Applications are reviewed after the July 15 application deadline and applicants are notified by September. ARI reviews every complete application in full and takes all application components into account in the decision-making process.

    Applications are welcome anytime and are reviewed as they arrive. With only 1–2 fellowships available in a given year, we recommend you apply well in advance of your preferred start date.

    Ready to Apply?

    When you are ready to complete the ARI application, click “Apply” to begin. We may request an interview as part of the application process.


    Best wishes on your application to the OAC program!


    Write to us at


  • There is no tuition fee for the OAC Program.

    In addition, OAC students are eligible to apply for grants to assist them in their intellectual work and careers. Here are some types of grants and scholarships ARI has awarded to students and scholars in the past:

    • Travel grants to attend academic or professional conferences
    • Grants for graduate school application fees
    • Scholarship awards to top OAC students
    • Grants for publishing papers and journal articles
    • Dissertation grants

    To inquire about financial support, write to

Key Dates

  • July 15, 2018

    Application deadline. Applicants will be notified by early September.

  • Oct 2018 – May 2019

    Typical duration of OAC Program, including a two-week break over Christmas and New Year’s.


  • What kind of workload can students expect in the OAC Program?

    Live classes generally occur once or twice a week and run for two to three hours; many of these live classes have pre-assigned readings and writing assignments. Overall, the workload is roughly similar to that of an undergraduate college course.

  • Is there an age limit for applying to the OAC?

    No. There is no age limit for applying to the OAC. While most OAC students are college-age, every application we receive will be considered in terms of the candidate’s fit with the program. Applicants under the age of 18 require parental consent to enroll.

  • I graduated from college many years ago. Can I still apply?

    Yes. Applicants need not be currently enrolled in or recently graduated from a university program in order apply to the OAC. We will consider every application we receive.

  • Can non-US residents apply to the OAC?

    Yes. OAC classes are offered via internet videoconference, with students participating remotely. As such, applications are welcomed from citizens of any country, and we regularly have students joining us from around the world.

  • Is the OAC an accredited program?

    No. The OAC does not currently offer university accreditation. The OAC is intended to supplement, not replace, a standard college education.

  • Where are classes conducted?

    Courses within the Objectivist Academic Center (OAC) are conducted exclusively online, typically by videoconference. Since there is no physical campus, participants may join live sessions from anywhere in the world.

  • How often do live classes take place?

    For the first year of the OAC’s 3-year program, class is typically held twice a week in the late afternoon (Pacific time). In recent years both undergraduate and graduate students have found these timeslots convenient for their schedules.

  • What are live sessions like?

    The OAC’s live classes are conducted within an online videoconferencing program called Adobe Connect. This platform allows each student to participate in live classes audibly (by microphone) and visually (by webcam). Attendees have the option of appearing as individual “screen blocks,” which makes interaction between students and instructors both easy and enjoyable.

  • How are assignments completed and graded?

    The OAC conducts its daily business within an online Moodle course administration platform. This type of system will be familiar to all who have taken online college courses administered via programs such as Blackboard or Brightspace. Each student is granted access to an account wherein he or she is able to view the syllabi, submit assignments, participate in forum discussions, submit questions through the virtual office or chat with fellow students in the student lounge.

  • What happens if a student cannot attend a live class?

    Students are encouraged to attend every class in order to get the maximum benefit from the course. However, OAC participants are sometimes unable to attend classes due to their work or school commitments. In these cases they are able to listen to recordings of the live classes, which are typically made available the day after a given session takes place. This makes it convenient for students with complex schedules to actively participate in the course.

  • How often do students complete assignments?

    There is typically one short assignment due per week along with corresponding readings. Several papers are also assigned throughout the year.

Suggested Course


The Philosophy of Objectivism

This course presents, in essential terms, the theoretical structure of Ayn Rand’s philosophy of Objectivism. Rand endorsed the course, attending every lecture and participating in many of the question periods.

Leonard Peikoff
Course Length
12 Lessons