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We are now accepting applications for our 2021 and 2022 gap year courses. Click below to apply now!



A Gap Year can be a life-changing adventure – exploring the world, learning a foreign language, and becoming a purposeful, resourceful, mature individual – but it's not for everyone. Our advice is this: a Gap Year is a great idea if you are bright and ambitious, and if you have clear plans about how to make your Gap Year extraordinary. The John Locke Institute can help.


We believe a well-designed gap year should be challenging, interesting, and fun. You should aim to learn a lot, so plan to develop your interests and acquire new skills before university begins, and make use of the freedom that comes from escaping the classroom to learn in a dynamic way, unconstrained by the school curriculum and the spectre of exams at the end of it all. This year, learning can be the adventure you choose for yourself. 


Before you go backpacking in Nepal or head to Beijing to learn Mandarin, why not join us in Oxford, Princeton or Washington DC? Our options are unlike anything else available anywhere in the world, and we know they will make your Gap Year extraordinary. 

"The John Locke Gap Year course was undoubtedly one of the most enjoyable and academically stimulating experiences of my life.  During my time there I was introduced to eclectic array of new concepts, ideas and people. I was endlessly challenged across a wide variety of topics and continuously pressured to develop my critical thinking skills. As a result, I became more analytically minded, more familiar with a wide range of theory and infinitely more confident in my abilities. I am also forever in debt to the John Locke Institute for the pivotal role it played in my application process, and eventual admission to, Oxford University.” -


– George Hargrave, Gap Year 2017 

September 1 - September 30, 2021

Princeton University

October 6 - November 4, 2021


March 20 - April 14, 2022

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"The Gap Year course profoundly impacted the way I think and argue today. It was a challenging yet intellectually stimulating environment that aided me with a wealth of knowledge aligning with my academic ambitions and interests. Being given the chance to embrace your differences in thought with a group of highly motivated people in this friendly and rigorous setting is an opportunity that I was very fortunate to have. New waters have been opened in the way I think, plan and communicate, and I can wholeheartedly say that my time with the John Locke Institute was both intellectually demanding and rewarding."


– Samantha Hawes, Gap Year 2018 


Our Gap Year courses attract some of the brightest young minds in the world, who all come together to collaborate on a journey of intellectual humility. You’ll get to explore the exciting and vibrant cities of Oxford, Princeton, and Washington D.C. with a new group of friends who will challenge, engage, and entertain you both inside and outside the classroom. Consistently, feedback from our Gap Year students highlights the life-long connections they’ve made during their time with us.


The John Locke Institute Gap Year courses are intellectually rigorous, both because of the calibre of the students and the quality of our tutors and professors. Some of the most acclaimed academics from Oxford, Cambridge, Princeton, and other world class universities come to teach for us - offering stimulating lectures and precepts, and intimate yet demanding tutorials. They’ll open your mind to ideas and concepts you hadn’t even considered before, and give you the opportunity to make the case for your viewpoint, which will be listened to, engaged with, and challenged. 


Most of our interaction with students is based on the Socratic model, which for over 150 years has been the hallmark of Oxford tutorials and Cambridge supervisions. You can apply for any combination of subjects you can imagine. Where your interests match up with those of another student we will put you in a tutorial pair – your opportunities are only limited by your imagination. We think you will be impressed by how diverse the opportunities are. Study politics with a congressman or cabinet minister, learn how to use econometrics to examine poverty solutions in East Africa, sit opposite an eminent Aristotelian scholar, study international relations with expert practitioners, immerse yourself in mediæval history. Additionally, if you are planning to apply to Oxbridge or to universities in the United States, we will incorporate into your programme valuable advice and holistic feedback on your entire application.


We can introduce you to other opportunities to make the rest of your Gap Year extraordinary, after you finish our programme. Previous students have moved on to a wide range of exciting activities. One went on to do economic research for an operation set up by the University of Oxford; another researched and wrote an academic article for the magazine Economic Affairs; several have spent the remainder of their Gap Year working for British, American and Swiss investment banks and hedge funds. We have organised invitations for internships in New York, Washington D.C., London, Milan and Nairobi. Our own internship programme runs from January to June each year.


Your connection with the John Locke Institute doesn't come to a close when you head off to university. We organise alumni events and reunions in New York, Chicago, Boston, London and Oxford from time to time, and we count it as a point of pride that so many of our students stay in touch for many years after finishing. 

Interested? Sign up to receive more information.


+44 (0)1865 566166 (UK)

+1 (609) 608-0543 (US)