About the Pardee RAND Graduate School

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Photo by Diane Baldwin/RAND Corporation

The Pardee RAND Graduate School is a selective, multidisciplinary doctoral program with a focus on policy analysis and the ways it can shape our world.

We offer a full-time Ph.D. program in policy analysis — the first and largest of its kind in the country. And we’re backed by the brainpower and resources of the RAND Corporation, a nonprofit, nonpartisan research institution that helps improve policy and decisionmaking through research and analysis.

Our Students

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Students learn from each other in class and throughout their time together in the program.

Pardee RAND receives more than 1,500 pre-applications and 150 applications each year, of which we accept and welcome between 25 and 30 students. Our students come from diverse personal and academic backgrounds, and about a third of our students come from outside the U.S.

All our students are supported by a combination of fellowships and scholarships that cover tuition, include a living stipend and optional subsidized housing, and can enable them to graduate debt-free.

Our Curriculum

Students undertake rigorous program requirements that include courses in policy analysis, economics, quantitative and qualitative analysis, social and behavioral sciences, technology and society, and ethics. They also follow one of three policy engagement streams — Research, Analysis, and Design, Community-Partnered Policy and Action, or Technology Applications and Implications — and choose from a rotating selection of 75 electives in a wide range of areas, including new and emerging topics.

Experiential learning at Pardee RAND takes the form of working with faculty mentors on RAND research projects, navigating local and regional issues through community-partnered externships, and working hands-on with technology and policy through Tech + Narrative Lab explorations. These projects let students work side-by-side with RAND and community mentors to research and help to solve real-world problems of direct concern to local, state, national, and international decisionmakers, all while providing a foundation for their Ph.D. dissertation.

Our Faculty

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Our faculty comprises RAND researchers who want to influence the next generation of policymakers and analysts.

Our faculty is drawn from the more than 1,000 members of RAND's research staff; some of them teach our courses, while others mentor and work with students on research projects or advise them on their dissertations.

Our Breadth

Students hone their research skills on a vast range of intersecting policy research projects — of which RAND conducts more than 500 each year. Additionally, through our initiatives, innovative Methods Centers, community-partnered externships, and the Tech and Narrative Lab, we prioritize our commitment to taking lessons outside of the classroom and into the field.

Our History

Charles Wolf teaches a RAND Graduate School class in 1980

Starting in 1970, RAND piloted a new graduate school — the only one of its kind housed at a research organization.

The Pardee RAND Graduate School was founded in 1970 as one of eight graduate programs created to train future leaders in public policy. Named for Frederick S. Pardee — benefactor, board member and former RAND researcher — the school has the distinction of being the only policy school based at a public policy research institute.

Our Alumni

In our nearly 50 years, more than 400 alumni have graduated from Pardee RAND with the theoretical and applied skills that enable them to tackle hard issues around the globe. Pardee RAND alumni careers cross boundaries and disciplines in every sector — public, private, academic, and nonprofit. And perhaps most importantly, our alumni are making a difference and changing the world.

Our Future

Our prospective students are the future of Pardee RAND. If you are thinking of applying to #BeTheAnswer, or you know someone who might be interest, visit our Admissions section to learn more.

We also encourage prospective students to submit a pre-application to receive immediate feedback on their candidacy.