Apply to the Pardee RAND Graduate School
Thank you for your interest in applying to the Ph.D. program at the Pardee RAND Graduate School. The application period for the entering cohort of Fall 2020 is now closed. If you are interested in applying for Fall 2021, this page will help prepare you for the process. Applications for Fall 2021 will open in September 2020.
Please note that, in applying, you will need to select which policy engagement stream you wish to pursue.
If you are interested in receiving preliminary feedback on your candidacy, prior to investing your time into the 2021 admissions process, please consider submitting a pre-application.
The Application Process
The Pardee RAND application consists of seven parts:
- Online application form
- Résumé or curriculum vitae (CV)
- Test scores
- Letters of recommendation
- School transcripts
- Application fee of $50
Other than the application fee, all components of the application are submitted via our online application system.
All application components must have been submitted by the deadline to be reviewed. All applications are carefully read by the Admissions Committee. Admission decisions are sent to applicants by email no later than the end of February.
If you are interested in reapplying for Fall 2021, please review the additional requirements for reapplicants.
For more information or questions, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Please submit a completed application form via our online application system. On the application, you will be asked to select which policy engagement stream you are interested in pursuing.
The Fall 2021 application season will open in September.
Please upload a résumé or curriculum vitae (CV) highlighting your:
- Academic background
- Work experience, including dates of employment and principal responsibilities
- Research, technical, and other skillsets
- Honors and awards, publications, languages, and professional affiliations
Please respond to the following three essay questions (maximum 750 words each).
Your writing and essays are an important piece of the application process. They should help us understand your motivations to work in the field of public policy and to learn about you as an authentic individual beyond your transcripts and resume.
- Statement of Purpose: Why did you choose to apply to the Pardee RAND Graduate School and a Ph.D. in Policy Analysis? How did where or how you grew up influence your interest in public policy? What significant personal and/or professional factors have most informed your present outlook? How do you see this program fitting in to your long-term personal and professional goals?
- Policy and Stream Interests: Please tell us which policy engagement stream you are applying to and why. What makes you a good fit for this stream (both past experience and future intentions)? Please include the types of policy problems that interest you and how your current skills and the skillsets you hope to gain fit into those policy and stream areas. You may want to review the RAND website to see the kinds of projects RAND researchers are currently working on. Explain which RAND policy areas are most interesting to you and how you will utilize your skills and experience to benefit the research teams and your on-the-job training.
- Situational Question: Please describe a situation in which you needed to be creative in addressing a social problem, thoughtfully took a stand on a controversial issue, or recognized and recovered from a mistake you have made.
Please include your full name, question number, and question text with each essay.
Please sign up to take your exam well in advance of your test date and the application deadline.
GRE or GMAT Exam
Please submit your score from either the GRE or GMAT exam. To be valid for the 2021 application, the test must have been taken after July 1, 2015 (GRE) or September 1, 2015 (GMAT).
Official score reports are optional during the application process. Either request the official score report be sent to us from the testing agency (GRE institution code 4648 and GMAT institution code M9X-GD-45) or upload your unofficial score report to our online system (a downloaded PDF of your test taker score report is acceptable). If you are admitted and accept our offer, you will be required to submit your official scores if you had not done so already.
TOEFL (if applicable)
For most international applicants whose native language is not English, TOEFL scores are required (see TOEFL exemption below). To be valid for the 2021 application, the test must have been taken after September 1, 2018.
Official score reports are optional during the application process. Either request the official score report be sent to us from the testing agency (institution code 4648) or upload your unofficial score report to our online system (a downloaded PDF of your test taker score report is acceptable). If you are admitted and accept our offer, you will be required to submit your official scores if you had not done so already.
Pardee RAND requires applicants to receive a score of at least 100.
International applicants are exempted from the TOEFL requirement if they meet either of these requirements:
- Hold a bachelor's or higher degree from a university located in the United States or other English-speaking country where courses are taught in English
- Have completed at least two years of full-time study at a higher education institution where courses are taught in English
Each applicant is asked to submit three letters of recommendation, which may be from either academic or professional sources, and should address the following topics:
- Interest in policy analysis as a career/field of advanced study
- Prospects for success as a policy analyst
- Intellectual ability and potential for future intellectual growth
- Quantitative preparation and aptitude
- Ability to handle the demands of a highly rigorous doctoral program
As soon as you enter the name and contact information on the online application, your recommender will receive emailed instructions on how to submit their letter. Please contact recommenders on the day you enter their information to confirm that they received the email request from us and ask them to complete their letter well in advance of the application deadline.
You can check the status of your letters by logging in to the online application system.
Please submit unofficial undergraduate and graduate school transcripts from all institutions you have attended since completing high school. Transcripts should show a record of all courses completed and/or currently enrolled in, along with degree confirmation.
Please upload transcripts for each school as separate files.
If you are admitted and accept our offer, you will be required to mail final, official transcripts before starting the program.
Unless you have an application fee waiver, a $50 application fee will be due by the application deadline, payable via PayPal. You can pay either with a PayPal account or with a debit or credit card.
Application Fee Waiver
Applicants are eligible for a fee waiver based on participation in one of the programs below (indicate program name in the fee waiver section of the online application). Those who wish to request a fee waiver based on financial or other hardship should email email@example.com.
- AEA Summer Training Program
- Asian Pacific American Institute for Congressional Fellows
- Bill and Melinda Gates Millennium Scholars
- Congressional Black Caucus Fellows
- Congressional Hispanic Caucus Fellows
- Coro Fellows
- Eisenhower Fellows
- Ford Fellows
- Fulbright Scholars
- GEM Fellows
- Hispanic Serving Institutions
- Historically Black Colleges and Universities
- Humphrey Fellows
- Institute for International Public Policy
- Leadership Alliance
- McNair Scholars
- Mellon Mays Undergraduate Fellows
- Muskie Fellows
- NYC Urban Fellows
- National Association of African American Honors Programs (NAAAHP)
- QuestBridge Scholars
- Peace Corps
- PPIA Fellows
- Society for the Advancement of Chicanos and Native Americans in Science (SACNAS)
- Teach for America
- Tribal Colleges
- Truman Scholars
- U.S. Military
- Upward Bound Math and Science
- Yellow Ribbon Program
Background Check of Successful Applicants
Students who are accepted into the program will be contacted by RAND to complete a background check required of all RAND employees. A conviction is not necessarily a bar to employment and all circumstances are considered. For more information or additional questions contact RAND Human Resources at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Application Requirements for Reapplicants*
- Send an email indicating you would like to reapply to email@example.com. Please include a note about which (if any) application components you would like to reuse (such as transcripts, test scores, letters of recommendation, etc.). A new application will be added to your file and you will be emailed new login instructions.
- Complete the online application and all components, including an updated resumé or CV.
- Upload a cover letter explaining what is different about your application since the last time you applied and ways you are a more competitive applicant.
* Reapplicants who applied before 2014 will need to begin a new application.