Make a strategic decision

Apply to Pardee RAND

Our application season for Fall 2020 is now closed. Applications were due January 7.

If you are interested in applying for Fall 2021, visit our Application page to learn more about the application process.

Learn more

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 come from diverse personal and academic backgrounds, and about a third of our students come from outside the U.S. All of them are supported by a combination of fellowships and scholarships that cover tuition, include a living stipend, and can enable them to graduate debt-free.

Meet our students

  • Rachel Perera

    Rachel Perera

    Cohort '16

    Using quantitative methods to understand and address opportunity gaps and inequities in K-12 education

  • Jalal Awan

    Jalal Awan

    Cohort '17

    Autonomous transport, climate change, infrastructure resilience, future of work, the smart grid

  • Luke Irwin

    J. Luke Irwin

    Cohort '16

    Complex social systems, emerging technologies, and social change in a wide array of substantive areas

  • Krystyna Marcinek

    Krystyna Marcinek

    Cohort '17

    International security and cooperation, NATO and Eurasian affairs, asymmetric and information warfare

View all students »

Choose your policy engagement stream

Policy analysts need not only mastery in one area but also the ability to work with and understand colleagues across a range of areas of expertise. Pardee RAND offers three different streams of policy engagement. In your application, you will choose the stream that best fits your interests:

  1. Research, Analysis, and Design: mastering analytic tools and methods for addressing complex policy problems
  2. Community-Partnered Policy and Action: partnering with and working in communities to effect real and sustainable change
  3. Technology Applications and Implications: creating technology-focused solutions to policy problems and understanding the societal implications of changing technology
Learn more about our academic program »

What's included in the financial package

  • A full-tuition scholarship for the first year, partial scholarship in the second year, and reduced tuition thereafter
  • A research fellowship earned by working on RAND projects of the student's choice that gives students a stipend to cover living expenses for the length of the program
  • Generous health insurance and other benefits, including paid parental leave
  • Use of a laptop computer
  • Support for travel to conferences and to other RAND offices
  • Competitively awarded internal dissertation funding
  • Paid visit to Pardee RAND for preview weekend in March after acceptance

Pardee RAND's program enables students to cover their tuition while receiving a consistent stipend for living expenses each year and graduate debt-free.

Learn more about our generous financial aid »

Eligibility criteria

Applicants must:

  • be available to participate in our full-time combined research-and-study program at RAND’s headquarters in Santa Monica, California
  • have completed a bachelor’s degree; an advanced degree and/or some work experience is desired
  • demonstrate strong quantitative skills, although all majors and disciplines welcome

Our students are driven to change the world. Does that describe you?

Learn more about what we look for in an ideal candidate »

Application elements

  • An online application
  • Resume or CV
  • Three essays to understand your motivations to work in the field of policy analysis
  • Test scores on the GRE or GMAT; TOEFL for some international students
  • Three letters of recommendation
  • School transcripts
Learn more about our admissions process »

Attend an admissions event or webinar

Pardee RAND Graduate School hosts admissions events each fall that provide an overview of the Ph.D. in Policy Analysis, the admissions process, and our degree requirements. You will have an opportunity to hear current students describe their experiences and share their perspectives on the program. Our webinars are interactive and we encourage you to ask questions; we also record them, in case you aren't able to attend.

Sign up »

Contact us

If you have any questions or wish to be in touch, please contact us at