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Lincoln Scholars Program

Challenging Books, Authentic Conversations

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4400 Massachusetts Avenue NW Washington, DC 20016 United States

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The Lincoln Scholars program application is closed.

Lincoln Scholars (Certificate in Political Thought) is a 15-credit certificate program for 1st and 2nd year students who want to explore the great questions of moral and political life in a context of intellectual and political diversity. Key points of the program include:

  • Small seminar classes on foundational texts. Our classes are seminar discussions of classic texts in political theory and philosophy, economics, and literature. Students learn to read closely, write clearly, and think about issues from multiple points of view.
  • An intellectually and politically diverse program. No one can truly understand their own beliefs unless they know the strongest arguments on the other side. Lincoln Scholars welcomes students and faculty who are liberal, conservative, and those who do not fit into any category, and we aim to model frank but respectful discussion of important issues.
  • An intellectual community of students and scholars outside the classroom. The program uses guest lectures, reading groups, and retreats to create a community of conversation outside the classroom for both students and faculty. The program also offers 1 credit classes on career opportunities for students with a background in liberal education.

Students are admitted to the program through a competitive admissions process before they arrive on campus as freshmen. Admitted students receive a $1000 fellowship for each year of the program they complete.

Lincoln Scholars Program: Challenging Books, Authentic Conve

Learn more about Lincoln Scholars from program director Thomas Merrill in this video.


Learn more about Thomas Merrill, Associate Professor in the Department of Government and Associate Director of the Political Theory Institute at American University.
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Cornel West and Robert George speaking at event

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