College Prep Programs

National History Academy Online is a unique summer experience for rising 10th, 11th and 12th-grade high school students and recent high school graduates with an interest in the history, law and government of the United States of America. Because of the extraordinary challenges we are facing as a country today, the Academy has made the decision to allow students to register for and attend the Academy at no cost.

National History Academy offers an inspiring and engaging learning environment. Each week, you will immerse yourself in a case developed by Harvard Business School Professor David Moss’s Case Method Institute. You will also spend two days virtually visiting our country’s seminal historic sites and delving deeply into major themes related to the case and the challenging issues we’re facing as a country today.

You will engage in rich discussions about significant periods in American history and tie them to the struggles we’re facing now. The Academy utilizes a hybrid of formal and informal learning methods through case discussions, virtual site visits, and lectures by noted leaders and scholars. 

Comprehensive Curriculum

Our curriculum challenges you to participate and interact with fellow students and explore historic places virtually. Curriculum components include:

History of American Democracy cases

The Academy High School program uses the case-based History of American Democracy curriculum developed by Professor David Moss. The cases provide an interdisciplinary and contextual examination of key historic events, permitting students to consider the multiple viewpoints of historical debates and to place themselves in the shoes of decision makers.  

Virtual Visits to Historic Sites

The Academy alternates classroom work with virtual visits to the defining sites from American history. You will experience iconic National Parks, presidential homes, and Civil Rights Movement sites, and engage with experts, historians and thought leaders as they give behind-the-scenes access to these important places.

Speaker Series

National History Academy will host guest speakers who are nationally recognized experts in their fields as part of an online speaker series. These speakers supplement the lessons learned in the classroom and during the virtual site visits with real-world examples. Past speakers have included Civil Rights Leader Ernest Green of the Little Rock Nine, American Civil War Museum CEO Christy Coleman, Academy Award-winning actor Robert Duvall, and Smithsonian National Museum of the American Indian Curator Cecile Ganteaume.

The Case Method of Learning

Watch what our students have to say about this unique learning approach.

Each week, you will spend three to four hours a day in small online classes led by top high school history teachers from around the country. Mondays and Wednesdays will focus on case preparation, while Tuesdays and Thursdays will feature the virtual site visits. We will conclude on Friday with the final case discussion. Professor David Moss will personally lead one or two of the case discussions.

National History Academy Online builds on the success of our groundbreaking residential program, which has brought students together from all around the country for the summer to study the foundations of our American Democracy. Academy students have come from throughout the country and gone on to top colleges, including Yale, Penn, Ohio State, West Point, Cornell, Columbia, Brown, Williams, Florida, Bowdoin, Rice, Texas, Washington University, Ole Miss, Michigan and USC. Students who complete one session will receive a certificate of completion, two sessions will receive a bronze certificate, three sessions will receive a silver certificate, and completion of all four sessions will receive a gold certificate.

2020 Sessions:

We the People | U.S. Constitution

Session 1: July 6 – 10

James Madison, the ‘Federal Negative,’ and the Making of the U.S. Constitution

Study the debate over the balance of power between the federal government and the states, while making virtual visits to James Madison’s Montpelier and George Washington’s Mount Vernon.


Session 2: July 13 – 17

A Nation Divided: The United States and the Challenge of Secession.

At the onset of the Civil War, the country was divided like never before. Study Lincoln’s decision-making process to save the union in the context of today’s red-blue divide. 

Martin Luther King March on Washington Aug 28 1963

Session 3: July 20 – 24

Martin Luther King and the Struggle for Black Voting Rights.

Study Martin Luther King’s leadership role in non-violent protest during the Civil Rights movement in the context of our continuing fight for racial justice in America. Virtual visits to the MLK home/Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta and the Legacy Museum.

Session 4: July 27 – 31

Democracy and Women’s Rights in America: The Fight Over the ERA.

Study women’s ongoing fight for equal rights, from the 19th century to today. Virtual visit to Seneca Falls.

Time Commitment

Typically, all synchronous class sessions are from 11:00 am to 12:00 pm EST and 1:00 pm to 4:00 pm EST. A guest speaker series is scheduled around 6:00 pm EST.

Free Tuition

Tuition for each one-week session is free, but you must fill out an application for the Academy to participate. National History Academy is a nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization, and any donations received are greatly appreciated and will help defray the costs of the program.

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