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 considering a career in business, academia or public policy, the Objectivist Academic Center (OAC) can help you develop the skills you’ll need to succeed. The OAC offers free courses and seminars to people wanting to develop a greater knowledge of Objectivist philosophy, beginning with the basic understanding of how philosophy works in day-to-day life and how these values can eventually lead to a defined value system within your own chosen career path. These courses are also important preparation for a career as an Objectivist intellectual. The OAC is a distance-learning program with classes conducted primarily by Internet videoconference.

In the OAC, you’ll have the opportunity to

  • Develop a proven approach to intellectual understanding, conceptual reasoning and philosophical thinking
  • Learn and practice the principles of objective communication and how they apply in your career and everyday life
  • Receive personalized feedback on your writing and speaking

To expand your knowledge of Ayn Rand’s ideas and take the first steps on the path of your intellectual career, apply today.

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

Program Experience

  • The OAC Program

    This is a three-year intensive program in which you will develop a baseline knowledge of conceptual reasoning and philosophical thinking. You’ll deepen your knowledge of Objectivism and learn how to apply it to different issues. At the same time, you’ll have the opportunity to improve your communication skills and to explore what goes into a career as a professional intellectual.

    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 may be invited 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 a career as a professional intellectual or an intellectual professional.

  • 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
  • Application Deadline: Midnight Pacific time, Sunday, July 16, 2017. 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 2017 – early May 2018

  • 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

    ARI reviews every complete application in full and takes all application components into account in the decision-making process.

    Best wishes on your application!

  • Application Instructions

    1. Online Application Form.

    • Before you begin the online application, please review the questions and note what information you’ll need to gather to complete the form.

    • To prevent your written responses from being lost due to Internet connection issues, we recommend that you review the application questions and draft your short-answer responses in a separate word processing program. Edit and proofread your answers in advance. Then paste your final, polished drafts into the online form. (Note: The online application cannot be saved in-progress and must be completed in one sitting.)

    Fill out the online OAC Program application form.

    2. Official Transcripts.

    Applicants should request official transcripts from all universities attended. If you are in high school or have just begun your undergraduate studies, please mail your current high school transcript or whatever official records are available to you. You may have your electronic transcripts sent to Hard copy transcripts should be ordered from your university’s registrar and sent to:

    Ayn Rand Institute
    Objectivist Academic Center
    Suite 300
    901 N. Washington St.
    Alexandria, VA 22314

    Transcripts must be emailed or postmarked no later than July 16, 2017.

    3. Entrance Examination.

    At the bottom of the online application form, you will choose your exam date from a list of available time slots. This timed, closed-book entrance exam will be conducted by email and is required to complete the application process for the OAC Program.

    You must email back your completed exam within two (2) hours of the exam having been sent to you. Answers can be sent as an attachment or written directly in the body of an email. The exam is “closed book,” which means that you cannot consult any books or notes when writing it. As with the online application form, it is recommended that you draft your responses in an offline word processing program.

    Here are some things to consider before your exam date:

    • Be sure to make a note of the date and time you selected, as that is when the exam will be administered. 

    • ARI’s offices are located in California, and therefore the exam times are listed in Pacific time. Please be sure to adjust the chosen test time to your time zone accordingly. 

    • If you have more than one email address, list the one you check most frequently first on the application form. This is the email address to which we will send the entrance exam. 

    • The entrance exam is required of all applicants. We expect applicants to have some familiarity with Ayn Rand’s ideas. Therefore, the exam presupposes that you have read The Fountainhead, Atlas Shrugged, The Virtue of Selfishness, Capitalism: The Unknown Ideal. To prepare for the exam, you may wish to read or reread these books. 

    • On the day of the exam, check your email at the appointed hour. If you do not receive your entrance exam by the time you chose on your application, please check your spam folder. If you do not find your exam there, please email immediately. 

    • The time limit for writing the exam is one (1) hour and thirty (30) minutes. Follow the instructions, contained in the exam rubric, on how to submit your completed exam by email. Within two (2) business days of submission, you will receive an email confirming receipt of your exam. Email us only if you do not receive the confirmation within two (2) business days.

    Questions? Write to us at Due to volume, responses to inquiries received near the application deadlines may be delayed.

  • 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 16, 2017

    Application Deadline. Applicants will be notified in early September.

  • Oct 2017 – May 2018

    Typical duration of OAC Program, with 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 will 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 or phone, with students participating remotely. As such, applications are welcomed from citizens of any country.

  • 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.

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