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

The Objectivist Academic Center 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 special consideration for AynRandCon and OCON scholarships and eligibility for professional development support such as career mentoring, grants and training opportunities.

OAC students, alumni and faculty form part of a unique network of individuals studying and advancing Objectivism through intellectual activity. If you’re intellectually ambitious, passionate about Objectivism and dedicated to challenging and improving yourself, then you should apply to the OAC.

Applications to enter the graded student program in 2018-2019 are closed, but Auditor registration is open until October 12. See “Participation Options” for details.

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

Program Experience

  • The OAC Program

    The foundation of the OAC 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 exclusive 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

  • You may apply to participate in the OAC as a graded student or you may register as an auditor. Graded students are held to a high academic standard and must keep up with their assignments.

    Those chosen for the OAC as graded students are usually considering or pursuing careers in academia, public policy or business where the philosophy of Objectivism can heavily influence their way of thinking, and where they will be in a position to be ambassadors for Rand’s works and ideas.

    Those outside this demographic are encouraged to participate in the OAC as auditors. Auditors attend live classes and can access the course website and assignments, but do not receive grades or other instructor feedback and are ineligible for benefits.

    A basic familiarity with Rand’s ideas is required to join the OAC as a graded student. Applicants 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
    If you have questions about which participation option is right for you, contact us at
  • Graded-Student Application Deadline: Midnight Pacific time, August 13, 2018.

    Auditor Registration Deadline: Midnight Pacific Time, October 12, 2018.

    OAC Program Dates: Late October 2018 – early May 2019

  • Auditors ($1875/year)

    To register as an auditor, complete the OAC Auditor registration form. Payment is due upon registration.

    Graded Students ($2875/year; tuition waivers available)

    The graded student application has the following components:

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

    In addition, applicants may be contacted for an interview.

    Ready to Apply?
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    Questions? Write to us at


  • The OAC is a tuition-based program, but tuition waivers are available for graded students based on financial need.

    Payment details and tuition waiver information will be provided following acceptance into the OAC as a graded student.

    Auditor tuition is due upon registration.

    Graded students: $2875 / year
    (Application required; tuition waivers are available.)


    • Participation in live classes
    • Access to class forum and class recordings
    • Access to instructor office hours
    • Grades and personalized feedback on assignments and exams
    • Eligibility to be invited to take Year 2 as a graded student based on Year 1 performance
    • Credit toward OAC graduation requirements upon successful completion of Year 1
    • Special consideration for OCON and AynRandCon scholarships
    • Consideration for professional mentoring for those pursuing academic careers
    • Eligibility for grants to support intellectual work and careers (e.g., dissertation grants, graduate school application fees)
    • Eligibility to apply for tuition waivers


    Auditors: $1875 / year


    • Participation in live classes
    • Access to class forum and recordings
    • Assignments are optional and not graded
    • Eligibility to take Year 2 after completing Year 1
    • Credit toward OAC auditor certificate after completion of Year 1

    Write to us at

Key Dates

  • August 13, 2018

    Graded-Student application deadline. Applicants will be notified by the end of September.

  • October 12, 2018

    Auditor registration deadline.

  • 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.

  • When do live classes take place?

    Classes have most often been held once a week in the late afternoon Pacific time, but with students located across the world we try to find a time for live classes that will allow for the greatest number of students to participate.

  • What are live sessions like?

    The OAC’s live classes are conducted within an online videoconferencing program that 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