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John Locke students are impatient for change, and rightly so. Be dissatisfied with the status quo. But also cultivate discernment to diagnose problems, creativity to identify solutions, humility to submit your ideas to the critical scrutiny of others, and courage to turn your vision into reality.

14 – 27 JULY


28 JULY - 10 August

Read on to see why the John Locke Summer School is the best place for elite students to acquire the skills to change the world.



Every one of our senior summer school students follows a common course of study, supplemented by up to two electives. Our signature core curriculum consists of logic, ethics, political theory, political economy, public policy, game theory, psychology and political, economic and intellectual history.


We focus on contestable claims within these subjects, inviting students into a vigorous debate about questions on which two people of intelligence and goodwill might reasonably disagree. Indeed learning through disagreement is a key part of the John Locke experience. Mastering the art of disagreeing without being disagreeable is a valuable skill, and arguing about contentious topics provides the perfect setting to practise what we call generous listening, and to learn how to think and speak with clarity and precision.   



There are six electives available - philosophy, politics, economics, history, law, and psychology - and we invite you to choose either one or two of them.


Philosophy includes formal symbolic logic, metaethics and epistemology. Politics introduces some advanced game theory and a public policy case study. Economics includes mathematical microeconomics, macroeconomics and finance. The history elective consists chiefly of historiography and especially the interrogation of conflicting source documents. The law elective includes jurisprudence and British Common Law and its alternatives. In psychology we consider how beliefs are formed and we look at systematic cognitive bias.   


Symbolic Logic, Metaethics & Epistemology


Game Theory & Public Policy Case Study


Microeconomics, Macroeconomics & Finance


Historiography & Source Interrogation


Jurisprudence & Comparative Legal Systems



Belief Acquisition & Causes of Irrationality

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1. Purpose       2. Pedagogy

3. Professors       4. Peer Group

"Why did you apply for the John Locke summer school?" is a question we put to many candidates. The two most common answers are, first, "to expand my knowledge of philosophy, politics, economics or history" and, second, "to spend part of my summer with like-minded people." 


But both these answers subtly but importantly miss the point. 


Yes, you will know much more after our summer school than you do now, but we are mostly concerned with developing listening and reasoning skills, cultivating a new mindset of open-mindedness and love for truth, and inspiring the courage to express what you have good reason to believe is true, rather than parrot what is merely fashionable.


As for meeting like-minded people, yes, you will find that you are among people who - like you - care about ideas and love to debate them with other intelligent people; but many of them will be anything but like-minded. Instead you will find every shade of opinion - about politics, religion, ethics, and public policy - held by people who are well informed and able to make a compelling case to support their conclusions. 


We expect you to comport yourself with courtesy, but we equally expect you to join the battle of ideas with people - both faculty and students - who hold views very different from yours. 



1. Purpose       2. Pedagogy

3. Professors       4. Peer Group

Let us introduce you to the Precept, a hallmark of John Locke summer schools.


In order to hone your listening and reasoning skills and to develop the intellectual virtues, we put you into a group of between six and nine students, called a precept group. Your preceptor will guide the discussion with a light touch, and you will be encouraged to develop critical responses to both the readings and the lectures. 


The Precept is the centrepiece of John Locke pedagogy, as it is the ideal training ground for learning how to listen generously, how to express yourself carefully, and how to take seriously robust challenges to beliefs you have always taken for granted to be true. So embrace the controversies and disagreements you meet at our summer school.



1. Purpose       2. Pedagogy

3. Professors       4. Peer Group

Unusually among academic summer schools, the John Locke Institute prides itself on our faculty of world-class academics, chosen for their preeminence in their fields of study, but also for their ability to bring the best out of our students by presenting persuasive arguments for surprising conclusions. 


To take full advantage of the serious scholars available to you, we would encourage you to sit next to one of the professors at lunch or dinner. Many of them will share their email addresses with students so you can keep in touch in the months and years to come. 


1. Purpose       2. Pedagogy

3. Professors       4. Peer Group

There is an abundance of research from the last sixty years showing that the contribution of peer effects is persistently underestimated in educational outcomes such as skills, habits, character and aspiration. 


We think that that the biggest difference between John Locke summer schools and other academic summer courses may be the students you will meet. The friends that you will make at our summer school will change how you think, and - to a considerable extent - who you become. 


Last year we received 1045 applications for our four summer schools, and we welcomed just 288 students. Don't let this deter you from applying: if you're intelligent, curious and motivated we really want to hear from you! If you are successful, you will be welcomed into an exceptional community of talented young people. We invest a lot of effort in identifying the people capable of developing both the intellectual humility and the intellectual courage to change the world for the better. If you join us, you will encounter some of the most interesting people you will ever meet; we hope some of them might become lifelong friends. 



Students attending Session 2 of the senior summer school are invited to the home of His Grace the Duke of Marlborough, the magnificent Blenheim Palace, for a cricket match between the JLI Alumni Association cricket team, The Philosophers' XI, and the Blenheim Palace Cricket Club on the South Lawn of the Palace. During the game we will serve a picnic lunch.

Blenheim Palace was a gift from Queen Anne to John Churchill, the first Duke of Marlborough, as a reward for his military victory over the French and the Bavarians in the War of the Spanish Succession in the early Eighteenth Century. It was the place of Sir Winston Churchill’s birth, when his grandfather, the seventh Duke, lived there. He described it as ‘the finest view in England’, but he might have been a little biased.



  • Accommodation is in single rooms with shared bathroom facilities. Male and female students will stay in different buildings. Students will also be living with people of the same age. 

  • Meals are served in the college dining hall (breakfast, lunch, afternoon tea and dinner), except when we provide a picnic lunch on the punting day and when we are hosted by an Oxford College. 

  • Free WiFi.

  • Personal laundry service once during your stay.

  • Access to campus sports facilities (swimming pool, athletics track and astro turf pitch).​





Students attending Session I should plan to arrive at the summer school on Sunday, 14 July. Students attending Session II should plan to arrive at the summer school on Sunday, 28 July.


The check-in time is between 10 am and 11.30 am. We advise you to arrive early to give you enough time to check in, be shown to your room and receive your course timetable. A welcome talk is scheduled for 12 o'clock midday. Parents and guardians are welcome to attend.

If you would like to be met by a driver at the airport on the check in day, we are offering a shuttle service from Heathrow airport at an extra charge. If you plan to take the shuttle please book a flight that arrives no later than 8.30am.

It is your responsibility to determine whether you need a visa and, if so, what kind of visa you need and how you should apply for it. Every overseas student must have a valid passport to enter the United Kingdom. You can find all the information about UK visas here. For attending a short course in the UK, the Standard Visitor Visa is the one you would need. We can provide individual support on request for those who will need a visa.

We advise you to purchase travel insurance.


On the departure day, Saturday, 27 July (Session I), and Saturday, 10 August (Session II) check out is by 9am. 

We will be running a shuttle to Heathrow airport at an extra cost. If you plan to take the shuttle please book a flight that departs no earlier than 12 midday.

Our staff will be available to help you on the departure day so you don't miss your flight! 


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