About the Pardee RAND Graduate School

Photo by Diane Baldwin/RAND Corporation

Founded in 1970 as one of eight graduate programs created to train future leaders in public policy, the Pardee RAND Graduate School is the largest public policy Ph.D. program in the nation. It also has the distinction of being the only policy school based at a public policy research institute — the RAND Corporation, a private, not-for-profit institution.

Pardee RAND is led by a dean, Susan L. Marquis and a leadership team that includes an executive vice dean, three associate and assistant deans, two directors, and a Board of Governors composed of leaders from business, academia, and the non-profit sector. One of the board members, Frederick S. Pardee — a former RAND researcher and philanthropist — is also our leading benefactor and school's namesake.

At Pardee RAND, students develop the theoretical and applied skills that enable them to tackle hard issues.

Each year, Pardee RAND receives approximately 500 pre-applications and 150 applications for the coming year's cohort. Because we seek a diverse student body, our prerequisites are minimal: a bachelor's degree from an accredited institution, including coursework in economics, statistics, and calculus; work experience and/or an advanced degree are highly desirable. And indeed, our students have a broad academic background. A recent entering cohort had undergraduate majors in economics and business (30%), social sciences and humanities (26%), science (13%), mathematics (12%), and engineering (11%), as well as graduate degrees in business administration, economics, education, engineering, international relations, law, mathematics, medicine, public administration, public health, and public policy.

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Our degree program is similarly multidisciplinary, emphasizing analytic tools and methodologies drawn from mathematics, economics, statistics, political science, operations research, and the behavioral and social sciences. Our course catalog includes more than 20 electives each year in a wide range of areas, including 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.

Pardee RAND students benefit from a financial aid package that includes free tuition and a living stipend for the first year, and fellowships for the remaining years of the program. All students also participate in RAND research projects (at any time, RAND has more than 500 projects on which students can work), accumulating the equivalent of at least two years of full-time work experience in policy analysis by graduation through project-based research (internally known as "on-the-job training" or OJT).

Our faculty is drawn from the more than 1000 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. All students complete a policy-relevant dissertation aimed at tackling the most pressing policy issues facing the world.

At Pardee RAND, students develop the theoretical and applied skills that enable them to tackle hard issues—poverty, national security, justice, health, education, the environment, and more. It's a place to cross the boundaries of disciplines and of sectors (public, private, non-profit)—a place to be intellectually adventurous. And perhaps most importantly, it provides students a chance to make a difference—and maybe even to change the world.