AEI Summer Honors Program 2018

AEI Summer Honors Program

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The American Enterprise Institute’s Summer Honors Program is a series of educational and professional development opportunities in Washington, DC, for top undergraduate students. Students in the program have the chance to connect with the ideas, research, and network of AEI, one of America’s preeminent think tanks.

The program gathers students from diverse ideological backgrounds for substantive dialogue and debate about the most pressing issues facing the country and world. The core feature of the program is discussion-based seminars that offer participants forums to delve deeply into policy areas of their choice.  Each seminar features 20-25 students and is led by AEI scholars or other policy practitioners, including renowned economists and foreign policy experts. Outside of the seminars, students participate in policy briefings with distinguished guests, high-level networking events, and site visits in Washington.

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Nominate a Student

Eligibility: Current undergraduates and recent graduates (winter 2017 or later).  International students are eligible to apply.

Location: Washington, DC

Duration: Students participate in either a single one-week course or a multi-week opportunity at the start of the summer.

Funding: This is a fully-funded program.  Housing, meals on class days, stipends and travel vouchers are all provided.


· Early Decision Deadline: December 31st, 2017.  Student who apply by the early decision deadline will be told if they are accepted, rejected, or waitlisted by the end of January.

· Regular Decision Deadline: March 5th, 2018.


This year's Summer Honors Program offers two different opportunities: the Summer Honors Policy Studies Program and the Summer Honors Academy. Students may apply for one or both of these opportunities.

One week of public policy study.  Housing, meals, travel voucher, and a $250 stipend provided.

Policy Studies students choose one area of public policy to study intensively alongside an AEI scholar for one week at the start of the summer.  Available subjects, scholars, and dates are described in the links below.  Applicants are able to apply for multiple courses and then rank their preferences, but will only be admitted for one. Eleven courses are offered in all, four of which are offered through the Values & Capitalism initiative. This program is ideal for applicants who wish to pursue a separate internship, job, or other opportunity in addition to the Summer Honors Program.  

Four weeks of public policy study from May 29-June 22.  Housing, meals, travel vouchers, and a $750 stipend are provided.

Ten students chosen for the Summer Honors Academy have the chance to study multiple policy subjects by taking multiple policy studies courses. This is a four-week program from May 29-June 22. All students in the Summer Honors Academy will participate in a foundational course on "Pericles' Athens: Politics, Philosophy & Society of the First Great Democracy" from May 29-June 1 with AEI Scholar Gary Schmitt. Students then participate in one public policy studies course in each of the successive three weeks.

Example: A student in the Summer Honors Academy would participate in "Pericles' Athens: Politics, Philosophy & Society of the First Great Democracy" with Gary Schmitt from May 29-June 1. That student could then choose any course of study. They could participate in "Staying Calm in Unsafe Places" with Charles Murray from June 4-June 8, "Understanding the Middle East Challenge" with Michael Rubin from June 11-June 15, and "War & Decision-Making" with Frederick Kagan from June 18-June 22, or any of the 11 successive courses offered during the following three weeks.


Note: Courses offered through the Values & Capitalism initiative contain faith-related content and are specifically geared toward Christian college students.

Week 1 Courses - June 4-8, 2018


Week 2 Courses - June 11-15, 2018


Week 3 Courses - June 18-22, 2018


Past Guest Speakers


Frequently Asked Questions

The AEI Summer Honors Program is available to undergraduate students graduating in the winter of 2017 or later. Applicants are not required to be U.S. citizens, nor are they required to have studied in the U.S.  However, all courses are taught in English. Strong applicants have excellent academic standing, leadership positions on or off campus, and a demonstrated interest in public policy.  Participants in this program come from across the ideological spectrum, and it is important that they come into it ready to share their own perspectives and to learn from one another and the speakers.

Applications will be accepted through March 5, 2018.  The early decision deadline is December 31, 2017. Students who apply by the early decision deadline will know the status of their applicaiton by the end of January, 2018.  Applications are considered on a rolling basis, so we encourage you to apply as soon as possible.  

Yes, we encourage applicants to look at all of the courses as they are applying and ask them to list their preferences in the application.

The Summer Honors Program is provided at no charge to participants. AEI provides lodging, food, a travel stipend, and a stipend to cover the costs of the program.

In Washington, DC, at AEI's headquarters.

Applicants submitting a completed Summer Honors Program application will receive a confirmation email. If you did not receive a notification after submitting your completed application, please contact us, by emailing [email protected], because we may not have received it.

As you might suspect, the applicant pool is highly competitive. In reviewing applications, we carefully evaluate academic ability, career interests, demonstrated interest in the subjects of the courses, and any specific requirements for particular seminars. Once paper applications are reviewed, we interview select candidates and extend invitations to a portion of those applicants.  Unfortunately, we are not able to provide information or evaluations about individual applications.

Every day during the program is different, but this should give you some idea of what to expect.

Morning: You and your classmates will begin the day by having breakfast with a senior AEI officer. These will be people who run our media outreach, our fundraising efforts, or our government relations office. The next three hours will be spent in intensive instruction with a scholar covering your chosen course of study.

Lunch: Policy briefing by an AEI scholar or prominent Washington policy professional.

Afternoon: Site visit to D.C. headquarters of an organization involved in public policy. This could include Facebook, the Chamber of Commerce, Uber, Capitol Hill, or another think tank.

Dinner: Evening networking session with AEI scholar and DC young professional organizations.

Questions: If you could not find the answer to your question above, please email us at [email protected].

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