The mission of the Cato Institute’s Student Programs Department is to identify and develop the future leaders, thinkers, advocates, and supporters of the libertarian movement, thereby promoting the principles of individual liberty, limited government, free markets, and peace.

The students and young professionals Cato engages will go on to defend those principles in a range of different occupations, including academia, journalism, business, and even government itself. Through a wide array of programs and resources that educate and empower, Cato provides students with the skills, experience, and networks to both succeed professionally and promote the cause of liberty.

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Through our prestigious internship program, students and early‐​career professionals play an instrumental role in helping the Cato Institute advance libertarian principles. Cato hosts interns for three semester‐​long sessions each year—spring, summer, and fall. Assigned to specific departments based on their interests and backgrounds, interns are able to work one‐​on‐​one with scholars and staff on research and communication of that research. Interns also participate in an intensive seminar series in which they learn about public policy, economics, history, and political philosophy. Additional seminars cover professional development topics, such as public speaking and interviewing skills.

Student Briefings

The Cato Institute welcomes visits from college classes, internship programs, and other groups. These “Briefings” offer groups of all backgrounds and perspectives an outstanding opportunity to learn from some of the country’s foremost scholars on a wide range of policy disciplines.

Briefings generally follow a standard format in which groups tour our headquarters and participate in a lecture and engage in discussion with policy scholars selected based on the group’s interests. Cato regularly hosts groups including small private colleges, Ivy League universities, large state universities, religious schools, high schools, Washington, DC‐​based internship programs, professional development and​leadership training programs, and more. We are open to receiving any group interested in hearing from our scholars or learning more about our internship program.

If you would like to arrange a virtual or in‐​person visit for your class or group, we invite you to please submit a brief request form here.


Through in‐​person and online programming, we bring thousands of students, interns, and young professionals together to discuss the most pressing public policy issues. The events, sponsored by Cato or presented in association with student‐​oriented organizations, offer participants opportunities to hear from leading scholars, meet directly with policy leaders, and engage each other in discussion. Topics covered in these events have included the war on drugs, the impact of debt on the Millennial generation, conservatism versus libertarianism, health care, the future of individual liberty, and more. Explore archives of these events, and view the schedule of upcoming events.


The Cato Institute’s Fall Liberty Seminar is an educational program to engage intellectually curious students and young professionals from around the world through policy forums, discussions, and collaborative networking. With generous support from Sponsors, we offer scholarships for approximately 25 students per seminar. Scholarship recipients attend at no cost for registration, meals, lodging, and materials. Apply here for a Bastiat Scholarship!


Cato University is Cato’s premier educational seminar program. The three‐​day Cato University seminars are held across the country, and they bring together outstanding faculty and attendees from around the world. Generous support from Sponsors funds scholarships for approximately 25 students per seminar. Scholarship recipients are able to attend at no cost for registration, meals, lodging, and materials. Applications for this scholarship opportunity—the Bastiat Scholars program—are posted online at the beginning of each calendar year.


Staying fully updated and informed about Cato’s work is now easier than ever via our social media and multimedia resources. Cato’s Facebook and Twitter communities, YouTube channel, podcasts, videocasts, free eBooks and research reports, vast archive of online publications, and event videos keep students on top of policy issues and debates. Lib​er​tar​i​an​ism​.org is a treasure trove of multimedia content as well, including podcasts, videos, books, and more.

In addition, Cato maintains other Twitter and Facebook accounts specifically for the purpose of bringing career, training, and educational opportunities into the news feeds of students, recent graduates, and early‐​career professionals.


When was the last time you were truly energized by ideas? Cato’s self‐​paced, home study program enables you to spend time with brilliant minds wherever and whenever you have an opportunity to listen and think.