The Academy

The Academy

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The Academy is a virtual educational and leadership program that is crafted to educate students, young professionals, and civic leaders on the foundational principles of American political thought and the important policy debates facing our country. This program is designed to increase leadership capabilities and to help participants engage more meaningfully in their communities and more confidently in policy debates.

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Participants watch two weekly pre-recorded lectures from Heritage staff and engage in two live Q&A sessions. It is approximately a 3-5 hour/week time commitment designed with flexibility in mind.

Participants will have the chance to:

  • Engage with Heritage scholars, policy experts and movement leaders
  • Study the foundational principles of American political thought 
  • Explore current issues in foreign, domestic, and economic policy
  • Partake in thorough leadership training, career exploration panels and job skills seminars
  • Participate in reading groups and discussion groups

The fall 12-week online program will be offered from September 12 through December 2.


Academy Graduates

Participants must attend at least 80% of the Academy program (including live Q&A sessions and pre-recorded lectures) in order to graduate and receive the Academy’s certificate of completion. Academy graduates can list this credential on resumes and will have the ability to participate in further Heritage programming, including future events offered by The Heritage Foundation and frequent alumni reunions.



“The Academy program has supplemented my undergraduate college education by broadening my perspectives of significant public policy issues and equipping me to discuss them with confidence. I can genuinely say that I am more prepared for future internships and a career in public policy due to my experience in The Academy.” - Joy Zavalick, Student, Grove City College

“I am a recent adopter of conservative principles and wanted to understand what that meant from a foundational perspective along with the policies created out of that perspective. The Academy has done a remarkable job in explaining conservative principles in a manner that is not only logical but deeply personal; graphs, charts, and data are very important for policy considerations but providing a human angle does so much to help bridge the gap between the mind and the heart.

The fact that Heritage has so many scholars and practitioners across so may disciplines able to provide insights for Academy participants is truly incredible. I have no doubt that this will become one of the premier conservative programs for everyone, ranging from current leaders to bright, up-and-comers.” - Rafi Levitt, Graduate Student, George Mason University

"As the Executive Director for the Young Conservatives of Texas, educating students is my number one priority. The Heritage Foundation's Academy is the best resource I have found so far for educating students in a holistic manner on public policy. I have encouraged every chapter chair in my organization to apply for The Academy. The Academy not only provides students with a holistic entry-level policy course, but also a deep dive into public policy. I heavily recommend participating in the Academy." - Manfred Wendt, Executive Director, Young Conservatives of Texas

Read more testimonials here!

The Academy is offered at no cost to all participants. To apply, please fill out and submit the application found here.

Academy Semester Dates 

  • 2022 Spring Program: January 17 through April 8
  • 2022 Summer Program: May 16 through August 5
  • 2022 Fall Program: September 12 through December 2

Academy Application Deadlines

  • Summer: CLOSED
  • Fall: August 7

For more information, please contact  [email protected].


A Typical Week in the Life of an Academy Participant:


  • Watch pre-recorded lecture [example: Policy Briefing on Identity Politics] for Tuesday. (30 minutes)
  • Send in 1-2 questions that you have from the lecture and email to YLP.


  • Attend live Q&A session with Mike Gonzalez on Identity Politics at 3 pm. (1 hour)


  • Watch pre-recorded lecture [example: The Reagan Doctrine and the Collapse of Communism] for Thursday (35 minutes).


  • Attend live Q&A session with Dr. Joseph Loconte on The Reagan Doctrine and the Collapse of Communism at 3 pm. (1 hour)


Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

How much does it cost to participate in The Academy?

Thanks to Heritage’s generous supporters, this program is offered at no cost to participants.

How much of a weekly time commitment is participating in The Academy?

Participation in The Academy is roughly a 3-5 hour commitment per week. In a typical week, you will have two hour-long live Q/A sessions, supplemental pre-recorded videos that are approximately 30 minutes long, and optional reading material. The recorded videos can be watched on your own time.

When do live Q/A sessions take place? What if I can’t attend the live Q/A sessions?

Live Q/A session times will usually take place at noon ET, but there will be some exceptions. Fellows will be notified in advance of sessions times.

While we encourage all participants to attend every Q&A session, we understand that recurring and occasional conflicts arise. All Q&A sessions are recorded and uploaded for participants to view afterwards.

We ask that participants who are unable to attend live sessions watch the sessions afterwards in order to still reach the required 80% threshold to graduate from The Academy.

How old do I need to be to apply and attend The Academy?

Participants have ranged from high school to mid- and late-career professionals. We accept students, professionals, faith leaders, educators, civics leaders, and more.

Can I receive academic credits for attending and graduating from The Academy?

If your high school, university, or college allows it, we are happy to provide college credits for participation and completion of The Academy.

Do I need to be a political science major or work for a political organization to apply and attend The Academy?

No! There are no requirements for applying. The Academy participants have a large range of backgrounds, including engineers, pre-med students, economists, and everything in between.

Do I need to relocate to Washington, D.C. to attend The Academy?

Not at all. The Academy is offered in a fully virtual environment. As long as you have access to internet, you can participate from anywhere in the world, from the comfort of your home. You can be located in any time zone.

Can I attend The Academy if I’m not from the United States?

International participants have come from all corners of the globe, ranging from South and Latin America to Eastern Europe, and everywhere in between. Since the program is completely virtual, you do not need to have work authorization to participate.