Apply for the M.Phil. in Policy Analysis

Applications for fall 2023 will open in September. If you are interested in applying to our inaugural class in fall 2022, please email us for more information.

To receive preliminary feedback on your candidacy prior to investing your time into the admissions process, please consider submitting a pre-application.

We seek to enroll a diverse, talented, and engaged entering cohort each fall. We encourage a diverse, equitable, and inclusive environment—one that is rich in different backgrounds, experiences, and perspectives—in our graduate program and in the public policy field. Each application is comprehensively and holistically reviewed. All majors and disciplines are welcome.

M.Phil. Application Checklist

The following documents are required for admission to the M.Phil. program for fall 2023.

All components must be submitted by January 5, 2023.

All admitted M.Phil. students will receive a research fellowship; applicants can indicate in the application if they would like to be considered for a scholarship.

For more information or questions, please email


Start your M.Phil. application via our Admissions Portal. After you submit your initial demographic application items, within one business day you will receive an email notification that your Admissions Checklist is ready and you may proceed to the rest of the application.


You will be asked to upload unofficial transcripts from each institution you have attended since high school.

Transcripts must show a record of all courses taken, grades received, and degrees conferred. If you are enrolled in a fall term course, please wait until you have received your final grade(s) before submitting your transcript. If a school’s transcript does not include degree conferral information, please provide separate official documentation or a photograph/photocopy of your diploma.

For transcripts in a language other than English, please provide an exact translation into English of each transcript (that includes courses, grades, and degree conferral). Please combine the transcript and the translation into one document and upload together. You do not need to provide certified translations at the time of application.

If you are admitted and accept our offer, you will be required to send final, official transcripts for all institutions from which you earned a degree, as well as certified translations for any original documents that are not in English.


Please upload a resume that highlights 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 submit three letters of recommendation from either academic or professional sources. Each recommendation 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 master's program

You will be asked to complete the Recommender Confidentiality Waiver which asks whether you waive your right to access your recommendation letters if you are admitted to Pardee RAND. This pertains to the U.S. Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA).

As soon as you submit a letter of recommendation form, your recommenders will receive an email with instructions on how to submit their letter. Please contact recommenders in advance to confirm that they are willing to write a letter, and please follow up to confirm they received an email request from us and ask them to complete their letter well before the application deadline.

You can check the status of your letters in the Admissions Portal.

Quantitative Coursework

Please indicate which prior quantitative coursework you have taken and the grades you received. For admission into the program these skills and experiences are not all required, but they will help us evaluate your strengths as an applicant.

  • Univariable Calculus - Differential
  • Univariable Calculus - Integral
  • Multivariable Calculus
  • Linear Matrix Algebra
  • Probability
  • Statistics
  • Microeconomics
  • Macroeconomics
  • Econometrics
  • Other quantitative coursework

Test Scores

GRE or GMAT Scores (Optional)

We read each application comprehensively and holistically, and we consider the combination of personal accomplishments, academic background, work experience, essays, test scores, letters of recommendation, and other materials in a thoughtful review of each application file.

Applicants may choose to submit scores from either the GRE or GMAT, but this is optional. If you choose not to submit a GRE or GMAT score, the admissions committee will review the rest of your application for quantitative and writing preparation.

To be valid for the 2023 application, you must have taken the test after July 1, 2017 (GRE) or September 1, 2017 (GMAT). If you took the test more than once, include the highest score you received for each section, even if from different test dates.

We ask that you upload your unofficial score report, which can be a downloaded PDF of your test taker score report or a scanned personal copy of the official score report. If you are admitted and accept our offer, you will be required to submit your official score report.

English Language Proficiency Exam Results (TOEFL, IELTS, or PTE Academic)

For international students whose native language is not English and who have not studied at least two years at a higher education institution where courses are taught in English, we require an English language proficiency exam.

Scores are required from one of the following approved English language proficiency tests*:

  • TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language)
  • IELTS (International English Language Test System)
  • PTE Academic (Pearson English Language Test)

*The TOEFL iBT Special Home Edition, TOEFL ITP for China, or IELTS Indicator may be used to fulfill the English requirement.

Pardee RAND requires non-native English speaking applicants to receive an overall score of at least 100 on the TOEFL, 7.0 on the IELTS, or 68 on the PTE Academic. Sub scores indicated must be from the same test administration.

For the 2023 application, you must have taken the test after September 1, 2020.

As with the other exam results, we ask that you upload your unofficial score report. This can be a downloaded PDF of your test taker score report or a scanned personal copy of the official score report. If you are admitted and accept our offer, you will be required to submit your official score report if you had not done so already.

English language exemption

If you are an international applicant, you are exempted from the English language proficiency requirement if either of the following applies:

  • You 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, or
  • You have completed at least two years of full-time study at a higher education institution where courses are taught in English.

The information you provide in the application will make it clear that you have the requisite language skills; you do not need to request an exemption.


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.

Please respond to the following two essay prompts (maximum 800 words each).

  1. Personal Statement: Please describe your personal, academic, and professional background, career aspirations, and how you see the MPhil in policy analysis program helping you to achieve your goals. As you write your statement, tell us how your unique background, experiences, and/or perspective contribute to the diversity of the public policy field. Explain which policy areas are most interesting to you and how your current skills and the skillsets you hope to gain fit into those policy areas.
  2. 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.

You will need to upload each essay individually. Please include your full name and question number with each essay.

Optional Statement

If there is any information about your background that you were not able to provide elsewhere or you consider needing further explanation, please include it here. This might include additional comments about your academic background or hardships or other circumstances that impacted your work or education that would be helpful for the admissions committee to understand. Your response does not have to be in the form of a formal essay. Brief explanations on multiple topics are okay (maximum 300 words).


A $50 application fee will be due by the application deadline, payable by credit card within the Admissions Portal.

Application Fee Waiver

Applicants may request a fee waiver based on participation in any of the following programs, or in a program similar to those listed below. Fee waivers may also be requested based on financial or other hardship.

  • AEA Summer Training Program
  • AmeriCorps
  • 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
  • Rangel Fellows
  • Society for the Advancement of Chicanos and Native Americans in Science (SACNAS)
  • Teach for America
  • The Policy Academies
  • 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