Student Life

p201210_01, students, prgs

Pardee RAND is in an amazing geographic location, and because we are part of the RAND Corporation—rather than a university—applicants often ask what student life is like. We welcome you to ask us questions as you consider, apply, and matriculate to Pardee RAND. Below are some topics common to all students (another page focuses on questions specific to international students).

Living in Los Angeles

Santa Monica beach

Santa Monica beach

Southern California is an exciting, challenging, cutting edge, cosmopolitan region that is highly sought after as a place to live. The city of Los Angeles is truly a global city offering much in the way of city life, restaurants, museums, mountains, beaches, and more. When you are not doing your studies, there is much to see and explore in this diverse area. Pardee RAND is located just west of the city of LA, in the smaller city of Santa Monica, on the coast and is a beautiful place to be.

The Pardee RAND campus, part of the RAND Corporation, prides itself on its safety. Our latest Campus Safety Report, which we are pleased to make available as part of the Student Right-to-Know and Campus Security Act, lists incident statistics as required for compliance with all sections of the law.

Health Insurance

Pardee RAND covers the cost of health insurance (Kaiser Permanente HMO) for enrolled students. In addition, students may purchase health insurance at a heavily subsidized rate for family members accompanying them.

Employment at RAND

One of the many reasons students come to Pardee RAND is the opportunity to work on RAND’s research portfolio as part of your academic curriculum. Any project at RAND is a candidate for your On-the-Job Training (OJT) requirement.

Pardee RAND Graduate School is committed to ensuring an equal opportunity workplace for all, including those with disabilities.

Pardee RAND will provide reasonable accommodation to the known physical or mental disabilities of an otherwise qualified individual with a disability or disabled veteran employee or applicant for employment. If you need such an accommodation, you may request it at any time from RAND Human Resources, your supervisor, or the person with whom you are applying for employment. Reasonable accommodations may include assisting in the completion of the application, making appropriate changes to the workplace, job content, work schedules, company practices or procedures necessary to provide an otherwise qualified person the opportunity to perform the essential functions of a particular job without causing RAND undue hardship.

For more information, please refer to RAND Corporation's Equal Employment Opportunity Policy.

Housing and Transportation

Santa Monica Big Blue Bus RapidBlue

Santa Monica's Big Blue Bus

Students are responsible for finding their own place to live; we do not have dormitories. The most common areas in which students reside are Santa Monica, Venice, Palms, Mar Vista, Brentwood, West Los Angeles and Culver City. There are many different types of housing in these areas (e.g., studio apartments, apartments to share or live on your own, and rooms to rent in a house) and are accessible to bike routes and bus lines.

It is very common not to have a car while a student (or not until you are farther along in the program). RAND subsidizes public transportation (bicycling, walking, or taking public transit) for those who use it as their primary method of transportation. The commuter assistance program provides students up to $100 per month when using mass transit (i.e., bus, metro rail); for those who walk, carpool, and bicycle, the reimbursement is $50 per quarter. If you drive a car, RAND does provide free underground parking to students and employees. Additionally, in the near future (expected mid-2016) the Los Angeles Metro Expo line will connect to downtown Santa Monica, a few blocks from RAND. This will connect Santa Monica by rail to Downtown LA, Pasadena, Long Beach, Culver City, and dozens of other locations across LA County.

Students at the annual Welcome BBQ

Social Life

The RAND campus and surrounding location offer a variety of social outlets when a break from studying and working is needed. RAND’s wine club, music club, and bowling club are quite popular. Students also enjoy Zócalo talks and other social/intellectual events on campus, playing beach soccer or volleyball, surfing, running, bike rides, skating at the beach, ping pong, yoga, outdoor chess, lots of local coffee shops, happy hours (student sponsored or in nearby restaurants), a huge variety of nearby ethnic foods, summer beach concerts, hiking, and more. Student leadership opportunities also exist via volunteering on campus or off, and many opportunities to help support and improve student life await.

Questions? Contact Us

If you have any general questions or questions about applying, please email