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 ready to take your understanding of it to the next level, the Objectivist Academic Center (OAC) is the program for you. The OAC is a distance-learning program that offers free courses and seminars to people who want to develop a deeper understanding of Objectivism and its perspective on crucial philosophical and cultural issues. Classes are conducted primarily by Internet videoconference, so you can participate from anywhere in the world. Whether you’re considering a career in business, academia or public policy, the OAC can help you develop an approach to thinking and writing that will provide unique tools for your future career. These courses are an important preparation for a career as an Objectivist intellectual.

New this year! All students in the OAC 3-year program automatically qualify for financial support to attend Ayn Rand Student Conference 2017. This intellectually stimulating and high-energy event takes place November 3–5 in Atlanta, Georgia.

In the OAC, you’ll have an opportunity to

  • Gain a deeper understanding of Objectivism and its relation to philosophy’s central questions
  • Learn and practice the principles of objective communication
  • Receive personalized feedback on your writing and speaking
  • Get to know others in the program, both remotely and in person, at special conference opportunities

To expand your knowledge of Ayn Rand’s ideas and to take the next steps on the path of your intellectual growth, apply in 2018.

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

The application to join the OAC 2018-19 entering class will be available in March 2018.

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

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

    Best wishes on your application to the OAC program!

  • 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.)

    The online OAC Program application form will be available starting January 2018.

    2. Official Transcripts

    Applicants should request official electronic transcripts from all universities attended. If you are in high school or have just begun your undergraduate studies, please email your current high school transcript or whatever official records are available to you. Electronic transcripts are required and can be sent to If you are unable to obtain a digital version of your transcripts, please let us know.

    Transcripts must be emailed no later than July 15, 2018.

    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 15, 2018

    Application deadline. Applicants will be notified by early September.

  • Oct 2018 – May 2019

    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, and we generally 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