PRGS at a Glance

PRGS Building
  • Founded in 1970; one of eight graduate programs created to train future leaders in public policy
  • Leading producer of Ph.D.s in policy analysis in the world
  • Only policy school based at a public policy research institute – the RAND Corporation
  • Affiliation: Private, not-for-profit institution
  • Location: Santa Monica, CA (with the ability to leverage RAND locations in Washington, D.C., Pittsburgh, Boston, and Cambridge, England, for dissertation research and project work)
  • Degree conferred: Ph.D. in Policy Analysis
  • Dean: Susan L. Marquis
  • Accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC) through 2020
  • Governance: A 21-25-member Board of Governors, composed of leaders from business, academia, and the non-profit sector
  • Named after Frederick S. Pardee, a former RAND researcher and philanthropist
  • School colors: Purple and gold
  • School motto: Be the Answer


  • Current enrollment: Approximately 110 students
  • Entering cohort size: 20-25
  • Faculty to student ratio: 2:1
  • Tuition: $26,500 per year for the first two years (full tuition scholarships available); $16,500 per year in years 3-5 covered by fellowship
  • Students by geographic origin: U.S. 65%, International 35%
  • Matriculation: Full time, residency, beginning in fall term only
  • Academic calendar: Quarter system (fall, winter, and spring)
  • Average time to completion: 5 years


  • Pre-applications received: ~500
  • Applications received: ~150
  • Students with advanced degrees: ~65%
  • Average GRE quantitative score: 750 (160)
  • Average GRE verbal score: 620 (160)
  • Average age: 29
  • Age range: 22-46
  • Women: 45%
  • International students: from over 25 countries around the world
  • First year scholarships awarded: 100%
  • Financial aid: open to U.S. citizens and qualified international students
  • Undergraduate majors: economics and business (30%), social sciences and humanities (26%), science (13%), mathematics (12%), and engineering (11%)
  • Advanced degrees held include: business administration, economics, education, engineering, international relations, law, mathematics, medicine, public administration, public health, and public policy
  • Prerequisites: Bachelor's degree from an accredited institution; coursework in economics, statistics, and calculus; work experience and/or an advanced degree highly desirable
  • Application period: August 30, 2013 – January 9, 2014

Fellowship and On-the-Job Training (OJT)

  • Fellowship eligibility: All admitted students
  • Fellowship amount: $22,225 in first year plus tuition scholarship; $53,000/year (taxable) covering tuition and providing a living stipend ($26,500 before taxes) (2012-13)
  • Fellowship requirements: 65 days of work on research projects in their first year + 135-155 days annually in subsequent years
  • "On-the-Job Training" (OJT) requirement: a total of 300 days of policy research project work for academic credit towards your degree (concurrent with work requirement for fellowship); graduates are exposed to a wide variety of policy areas, research methods, colleagues, and clients
  • RAND's research areas include: children and families, education, energy and environment, health and health care, infrastructure and transportation, international affairs, law and business, national and international security, population and aging, public safety, and science and technology
  • Number of RAND research projects underway at a given time: 500+
  • "Curriculum Plus Vitae": Most students accumulate the equivalent of at least 2 years of full time work experience in policy analysis by graduation

Curriculum and Dissertation

  • Required coursework: 13 core courses and 6 elective courses
  • Multidisciplinary core curriculum: emphasizes analytic tools and methodologies drawn from mathematics, economics, statistics, political science, operations research, and the behavioral and social sciences
  • Elective courses: Over 20 electives offered each year in areas such as social network analysis, advanced econometrics, national security strategy and planning, operations research, economic development, large scale optimization, finance and accounting, health economics, ethics and public policy, transportation planning, food policy, and research methods and empirical economics
  • Faculty: Drawn from the over 850 Ph.D.-level RAND researchers
  • Dissertations: All students complete a policy-relevant dissertation, aimed at tackling the most pressing policy issues facing the world. Past dissertations are available online at


pie chart of PRGS graduates employment placement

  • Ph.D.s awarded: 300 (as of August 2013)
  • Employment placement (2001-2012): Graduates pursue careers in academic and research institution settings, public service, and private industry
  • Make a difference with analytic skills, creative solutions, and policy leadership
  • The majority of graduates receive multiple offers and find work in their field of interest within 6 months of graduation.

Brief History of the Graduate School at RAND

RAND Graduate Institute logo 1970

  • 1970: RAND Graduate Institute (RGI) is founded at the RAND Corporation in Santa Monica, CA; first cohort has 11 students
  • 1970: Charles Wolf Jr. becomes Dean (1970-1998)
  • 1974: The first doctorate degree is awarded
  • 1975: The school receives its first accreditation (WASC)
  • Late 1970s: RGI is a founding member of the Association for Public Policy Analysis and Management (APPAM)
  • 1985: Accreditation is reaffirmed
  • 1987: RGI becomes the RAND Graduate School (RGS); entering cohort has 12 students, total enrollment is 81
  • 1990: Accreditation is reaffirmed
  • 1998: RAND Corporation celebrates its 50th anniversary
  • 1998: Robert Klitgaard becomes Dean (1998-2005); interim Dean Rae Archibald (2005-2006)
  • 2000: Accreditation is reaffirmed
  • 2004: RGS becomes the Frederick S. Pardee RAND Graduate School (PRGS) to honor the vision and contributions of Frederick S. Pardee, a former RAND researcher and philanthropist; entering cohort has 25 students; total enrollment is 92
  • 2004: PRGS and the RAND Corporation move down the street into a new, state-of-the-art LEED certified building (U.S. Green Building Council's "Gold" designation) at 1776 Main Street
  • 2006: John Graham becomes Dean (2006-2008); interim Dean Molly Selvin (2008)
  • 2008: RAND Corporation celebrates its 60th anniversary; total enrollment is 100+
  • 2009: Susan L. Marquis becomes Dean (2009-present)
  • 2010: PRGS celebrates its 40th anniversary with a gala celebration including students, alumni, current and former staff members, and many other guests
  • 2010: Washington Experience program begins; 4 students study and work in Washington, D.C.
  • 2010: PRGS partners with Southwestern Law School to offer matriculated students a Certificate in Legal Studies and, for Southwestern students, a Certificate in Public Policy
  • 2011: Accreditation is reaffirmed (until 2020)


Saved Items


  • New for You
  • [an error occurred while processing this directive]
  • View All »