Summer Honors Program 2019 - AEI

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. Seminars feature 20-25 students and are led by AEI scholars or other experts, 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.

Eligibility: Current undergraduates and recent graduates (winter 2018 or later). International students are eligible to apply.

Location: Washington, DC

Duration: Most students will participate in a single one-week course at the beginning of Summer 2019. A select group of students will participate in a four-week opportunity.

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

Applications for the 2019 Summer Honors Program are now closed. Please email [email protected] to request updates about the 2020 Summer Honors Program and future opportunities for undergraduates from AEI.


Most students accepted to the Summer Honors Program will participate in an intensive one-week seminar, studying a particular area of public policy alongside an AEI scholar or partner instructor. Available subjects, scholars, and dates are described below. Applicants are able to apply for multiple courses and then rank their preferences, but will only be admitted for one. Participants will receive a $250 stipend, as well as housing, meals, and a travel voucher.

Applicants may also choose to be considered for a prestigious four-week opportunity, called the Summer Honors Academy. Through this program, a select group of ten students will be chosen to participate in four different week-long courses from May 28–June 21, 2019. As a cohort, they will take a foundational course entitled "Athens, Jerusalem, and Philadelphia: Politics and Its Limits" with AEI's Gary Schmitt and Rebecca Burgess from May 28–31, and then they will participate in courses of their choosing (among the options listed below) during each of the following three weeks. Summer Honors Academy participants will receive a travel voucher and $1,000 stipend, as well as housing and meals for the duration of the program.

Note: Twelve week-long courses are being offered as part of the 2019 Summer Honors Program, four of which are offered through AEI's Values & Capitalism program, an initiative that engages Christian college students in conversations about economics, public policy, society, and faith. These four Values & Capitalism courses (marked with an asterisk below) integrate faith-related content in course material.


June 3 - 7, 2019


June 10 - 14, 2019


June 17 - 21, 2019


Past Guest Speakers


Frequently Asked Questions

The 2019 AEI Summer Honors Program is available to undergraduate students graduating in the winter of 2018 or later. Applicants are not required to be US citizens, nor are they required to have studied in the US. However, all courses are taught in English. The most competitive applicants have excellent academic standing (3.3 GPA or above), leadership positions on or off campus, and a demonstrated interest in public policy.

Participants in this program come from various backgrounds and from across the ideological spectrum. It is important that students come into the program ready to share their own perspectives and engage in respectful dialogue with their peers, instructors, and guest speakers.

No, we do not let students participate in the Summer Honors Program more than once. However, alumni of other AEI student programs (e.g. Weekend Honors Programs, internships) or current AEI Executive Council members are eligible and are encouraged to apply.

Applications must be submitted online at the link above. They will be accepted through March 11, 2019, with an early application deadline of January 7, 2019. Letters of recommendation should be submitted no more than seven days after each application deadline.

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.

Upon submitting your application, your recommender will automatically receive an email with instructions on how to submit a letter on your behalf. Please notify your recommender in advance so that they are expecting the email and are aware of the application deadline(s).

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.

Applications are reviewed on a rolling basis. While 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 accept a portion of those applicants. Unfortunately, we are not able to provide specific information or evaluations regarding individual applications.

Decisions are made on a rolling basis, so students are encouraged to apply early. However, candidates who apply by the early decision deadline will hear whether they have been accepted, rejected, or waitlisted by February 4, 2019 at the latest. All other applicants will receive a notification no later than 2–3 weeks after the application deadline of March 11, 2019.

The Summer Honors Program is fully-funded. AEI provides lodging, meals, a travel voucher, and a stipend to cover the costs of the program.

In downtown Washington, DC. Most sessions are held at AEI's headquarters. Students will be housed at the George Washington University dormitories, which are a 20-minute walk from AEI.

Each day during the program is different, but the below agenda describes a normal day:

Morning: You and your classmates will begin the day by having coffee or breakfast with a senior AEI staffer. 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 the DC headquarters of an organization doing work related to your main area of study. This could include Capitol Hill, the Supreme Court, the Department of Justice, Facebook, the Chamber of Commerce, Capitol Hill, or another think tank.

Evening: Dinner conversation with prominent speakers, and the chance the network with other groups of students and young professionals.

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

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