Apply to Pardee RAND

Make a strategic decision

Our Ph.D. application season for Fall 2022 is now closed. Applications were due January 6.

If you are interested in applying for Fall 2023, visit our Application page to learn more about the application process.

Learn more

Not sure whether you're ready for a Ph.D.? Submit a pre-application and we will provide individualized feedback on your qualifications.

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

Our full-time Ph.D. program in policy analysis is 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 Ph.D. students come from diverse personal and academic backgrounds; about a third of them 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 Ph.D. Students

  • Khadesia Howell

    Khadesia Howell

    Cohort ’20

    Health policy and bioethics, public health policy, women’s health, the social determinants of health, and vulnerable populations

  • Heather Gomez-Bendaña

    Heather Gomez-Bendaña

    Cohort ’19

    Academic achievement gaps, education policy, education equity, and disadvantaged students, as well as the social determinants of health

  • Jamie Ryan

    Jamie Ryan

    Cohort ’17

    Health policy, immigration, violence prevention, and counter-extremism

  • Jarrett Catlin

    Jarrett Catlin

    Cohort ’18

    The future of cities, specifically the municipal management of data and emerging technologies

  • Carlos Calvo Hernandez

    Carlos Calvo Hernandez

    Cohort ’19

    The intersection of international development and sustainability, including climate change, migration, resource management, and emerging technologies

  • Diana Myers

    Diana Myers

    Cohort ’19

    International relations and strategic defense policy with a focus on North Korea

View all students »

Choose Your Policy Engagement Stream

Policy analysts need more than mastery of one focused area; they must also be able to work with and understand colleagues across a range of areas of expertise. Pardee RAND offers three different streams of policy engagement. In your Ph.D. 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 »

Receive a Financial Package That's Fully Funded

Our Ph.D. students benefit from:

  • 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 covers remaining tuition and provides a stipend to cover living expenses
  • Generous health insurance and other benefits, including paid parental leave
  • Use of a laptop computer
  • Support for conference attendance and travel to other RAND offices
  • Opportunity for subsidized housing in West L.A., a short commute to campus
  • Competitively awarded internal dissertation funding
  • Paid visit to Pardee RAND for preview weekend in March after acceptance

Pardee RAND's fully funded Ph.D. 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

Ph.D. 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 »

Ph.D. 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 (can be waived); TOEFL or English proficiency test for some international students
  • Three letters of recommendation
  • School transcripts
Learn more about our admissions process »

Contact us

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