Minerva Project


Our experience creating Minerva University®now the most innovative in the world – makes us the only partner with the depth of expertise to help you manage the complexities of institutional transformation.

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Your Premier Innovation Partner

We understand what it takes to create transformative new programs because we built a university from its foundations. When Minerva was established in 2011, our visionary founder, Ben Nelson, recognized that combining learning science with digital technology to create a wholesale redesign of what, how, and where education occurs, had the potential to close not only the global skills gap, but also remedy the dearth of critical wisdom in the world.

In the years since, we established Minerva University as the first hybrid residential program in the world, and built upon our unique learning approach. This experience makes us the only partner with ten years of expertise in hybrid program design and delivery.

Today, we are collaborating with other visionary leaders to help them create innovative programs focused on high quality learning, build institutional capacity, and transform their institutions in the process.

Meet the team
of learners find Forum effective at keeping them engaged.
of learners recommend their courses and instructor.
of learners believe they can use what they learned.
Nurturing Critical Wisdom for the Sake of the World
Our Mission

Ours is a humanist calling. We recognize that talent is distributed around the world, but access to high-quality learning is concentrated, closely mirroring the concentration of global wealth. Minerva aims to change this, significantly expanding access to a new, more effective way of learning. We are here to prepare the next generations of leaders, innovators, and global citizens with critical wisdom — the ability to readily apply knowledge to unfamiliar challenges, to make informed decisions, and to continuously consider the interconnected nature of life on earth — in order to enact positive, consequential change.

Minerva Project is established with $25 million in seed investment from Benchmark Capital, the single largest investment the storied venture firm had made.


Minerva Project gets its first round of funding, begins hiring its founding team, and begins developing Forum™.


Minerva Institute is established as a private nonprofit organization.

Minerva Project begins development of its new university curriculum.

Minerva Project enters into an alliance with the Keck Graduate Institute (KGI) to incubate Minerva Schools.


Minerva Schools at KGI (MSKGI) admits its first undergraduate class.


MSKGI hires its first instructional faculty.


MSKGI hosts its first undergraduates in residence outside the US.


MSKGI graduates its first class of students in the Master of Science in Decision Analysis (MDA) program.


Minerva Project establishes its first higher education partnership with the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology (HKUST).

MSKGI simultaneously operates four residential locations for the first time.


MSKGI graduates its first class of undergraduate students.

Minerva Institute receives pledges of more than $30 million to fund the establishment of Minerva University.

Minerva Project hands over operations of MSKGI to Minerva Institute to independently govern the university.


Minerva Project collaborates with Minerva Institute to develop and introduce the Minerva Baccalaureate high school curriculum.

Minerva Project launches the Minerva Baccalaureate with its first partner high schools.


Minerva Institute is granted accreditation by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges Senior College and University Commission (WSCUC) and begins operating Minerva University independently.


Education Reformed: Improving Learning Outcomes

Vision Uniting on Purpose
Our Vision

We recognize that our mission is ambitious and cannot be accomplished by one organization alone, regardless of its scale or success. Our vision is inclusive: to galvanize a movement of like-minded visionaries, who are committed to meaningful education reform and ready to undertake the difficult work needed to achieve it.

By expanding through partnerships, we can foster a heterogenous ecosystem of individuals and organizations, which shares a belief in the importance of critical wisdom. We can act expansively and urgently, driving change in multiple arenas at once. We can harness the power of multiple minds to tackle the massive and increasingly complex challenges we face.

Minerva teaches thinking for its own benefit. Content will only be a vehicle for how to think better.”
Rory Foulger
Minerva University Alumnus
Class of 2019
Systemic Thinking
Our Philosophy

Minerva is focused on accelerating the acquisition of critical wisdom by developing universal skills instead of imparting information. Our approach, a direct application of the educational sciences, dramatically improves learning outcomes compared to traditional systems, including better understanding, retention, recall, and the ability to transfer knowledge across domains and contexts.

We believe that ad-hoc or small-scale interventions, which target specific aspects of the system are doomed to incrementalism or outright failure. It is only through comprehensive reform, that addresses curriculum, instruction, and assessment — as well as surrounding concerns such as equitable admissions and sustainable economics — that we can address the full scope of the change society needs.

Achieving Extraordinary
Our Guiding Principles

Minerva is intensely focused on continuous innovation and ongoing improvement. Our Guiding Principles inform our collaboration with partners, our work within and across teams, and our individual behaviors. By adhering to these tenets, we ensure our efforts support everything we stand for.

Our guiding principles
Being Unconventional
We refuse to settle for the status quo.
We are unique, standing apart from traditional ways of learning. We refuse to settle for the status quo, challenging conventional thinking, anticipating needs and desires, and championing novel approaches. By delivering the unexpected — that which brings a sense of mystery, or a moment of delight — we encourage deeper engagement and heightened resolve. We never do something simply because others do, or worse, because that’s how it has always been done. Instead, we question assumptions, in order to develop different, more effective solutions.
Being Human
We connect on a personal level.
We are deeply curious and broad-minded. We embrace the energy and complexity of the world, seeking to understand the diverse cultures we live in. We build relationships through respectful, personal connections. By celebrating the power of different perspectives, we promote mutual understanding and benefit from new ideas. We eliminate barriers to human interaction, emphasizing meaningful contact and personal engagement.
Being Confident
We take decisive action.
We are bold and decisive, unwavering in our commitment and beliefs. We take informed risks and make prudent decisions, without fear of failure. We approach challenges directly, working through adversity and complexity. By acting with conviction, we are able to advance our progressive vision for the future. We act with clear intent and strong judgment, yet understand that confidence must be tempered to avoid hubris or arrogance.
Being Thoughtful
We pay close attention to the details.
We continually analyze, evaluate, and examine, incorporating depth and dimension into our work. We look for things others do not see, including details and information that add nuance — levels of interest beyond what is immediately evident. We are considered in our own views, initiating discussion and debate, and treating those that disagree with dignity and respect. We never accept superficial thinking or inattention to detail, and expect others to engage with the same level of depth and scrutiny.
Being Selective
We find the essence and focus relentlessly.
We are distinguished, exacting, and rigorous, attracting the finest talent in the world. We focus our time and attention on the people, institutions, and initiatives that are most important for our collective success. We carefully consider what we present to the world, producing high quality with clear intention. We are not suitable for everyone or every circumstance, but neither are we elitist.
Being Authentic
We built trust with clarity and candor.
We communicate openly and candidly, addressing people directly and conveying heartfelt emotion. We welcome honest dialogue, even about sensitive or controversial topics. We impart accurate information with genuine sincerity, building trust and establishing mutual respect. We avoid anything artificial, false, or contrived; hyperbole breeds suspicion and erodes credibility.
Being Driven
We constantly push, question, iterate, and refine.
We are ambitious, always pushing to transcend the commonplace. We look for opportunities to improve, refining our approach, and enhancing the outcomes for our students and the world. We work to reach apotheosis — the highest point of achievement. Only by constantly striving to excel will we realize our full potential. We never settle for “good enough”; if we cannot accomplish excellence, we pursue a different route.

If you are a visionary leader, you need an equally visionary partner.