Master of Philosophy in Policy Analysis

The Pardee RAND M.Phil. in Policy Analysis combines a rigorous, interdisciplinary curriculum with real-world, on-the-job training at a global policy research organization. Students graduate with a deep analytic toolkit, ready to tackle the hardest policy challenges.

As the world’s challenges have grown ever more complex, people with the skills to help interpret data and analyze policies have become increasingly important. RAND uses rigorous, fact-based research and analysis to help individuals, families, and communities throughout the world be safer and more secure, healthier, and more prosperous.

To help train the next generation of policy and data analysts, Pardee RAND’s core curriculum is broadly interdisciplinary, and our teaching and mentoring faculty pulls from the more than 1,000 members of RAND’s research staff. Join us and work side-by-side with RAND experts on real-time, real-world projects for clients in government, partner agencies, foundations, and beyond.

With an M.Phil. in Policy Analysis from Pardee RAND, students can jumpstart their career in changing the world.

Location:
Santa Monica, CA
Duration:
Full time, on campus, 21 months; fall quarter start
Fellowship:
Students are paid for their on-the-job training research requirement. Learn more »

Curriculum of the M.Phil. in Policy Analysis

Core coursework

A total of 10 units

  • Understanding Economic Systems
  • Ethics in Theory, Policy, and Practice
  • Perspectives of Policy Analysis
  • Policy Making in Complex Environments
  • Technology and Society
  • Introduction to Data Science
  • Statistics for Policy Analysis I
  • Statistics for Policy Analysis II
  • Understanding Human Systems
  • Designing Empirical Research
  • Social Network Analysis

Elective coursework

Students choose from an additional 5 units of elective courses. Sample electives* include:

  • Advanced Econometrics
  • Behavioral Economics
  • Big Data Applications
  • Cost Benefit and Cost Effectiveness Analysis
  • Economic Development
  • Engaging Communities in Research
  • Game Theory
  • Intersectionality of Policy
  • Issues of Modern Labor Economics
  • Operations Research
  • Performance Measurement
  • Principles of Client-Centered Policy Analysis
  • Program Evaluation
  • Qualitative and Mixed Methods
  • Robust Decision Making
  • Survey Design

*Availability of electives may change from year to year; students may also enroll in graduate-level courses at the UCLA Luskin School, per availability and approval.

On-the-Job Training

Pardee RAND is unique in requiring master’s students to complete 150 days of experiential learning or on-the-job training (“OJT”) over the course of their two-year degree.

As full-fledged members of multidisciplinary RAND project teams, students conduct research and analyze data while developing a sophisticated understanding of the role analysis plays in real policy problems. They are truly “learning by doing.”

Experiential Learning Mentoring Sessions and Tutorials

A total of 3 units

To support students’ experiential learning, and to develop expertise in professional, technical or substantive areas needed for their experiential learning, students will have mentoring sessions once a week during the first year and take a 1-unit experiential learning tutorial each quarter during the second year. Each quarter’s course of study will be developed in consultation with the Academic Dean.

Sample Schedule

Here is an example of what the mix of courses and OJT looks like, balanced over the two years of our program. Courses listed in bold are required core courses. Students complete 150 days of on-the-job training throughout the program, starting in the fall quarter of the first year and finishing in the spring quarter of the second year. Actual schedules will depend on course offerings and student selections.

Year 1

Fall

OJT Days + Experiential Learning Mentoring Sessions

  • Perspectives of Policy Analysis
  • Understanding Economic Systems
  • Engaging Communities in Research

Winter

OJT Days + Experiential Learning Mentoring Sessions

  • Understanding Economic Systems II
  • Understanding Human Systems
  • Stats for Policy Analysis I

Spring

OJT Days + Experiential Learning Mentoring Sessions

  • Ethics in Theory, Policy, and Practice
  • Stats for Policy Analysis II
  • Intro to Data Science
  • Behavioral Economics

Summer

OJT Days

OJT Total: 75 days

Year 2

Fall

OJT Days

  • Experiential Learning Tutorial
  • Understanding Networks
  • Tech and Society
  • Qualitative and Mixed Methods
  • Robust Decision Making

Winter

OJT Days

  • Experiential Learning Tutorial
  • Policymaking in Complex Environments
  • Cost Benefit and Cost Effectiveness Analysis
  • Issues of Modern Labor Economics

Spring

OJT Days

  • Experiential Learning Tutorial
  • Economic Development
  • Principles of Client-Centered Policy Analysis

OJT Total: 75 days

Admission Requirements

  • Be available to participate in our full-time research-and-study program at RAND's headquarters in Santa Monica, California
  • Have completed a bachelor's degree by the program start date; some prior research or work experience is desired
  • Demonstrate strong quantitative skills; all majors and disciplines are welcome
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Pardee RAND Graduates and Career Paths

Pardee RAND graduates are sought after by employers that value their intellectual agility, project experience, and unique ability to apply analytic tools and methodologies across a wide range of policy problems. Graduates can be seen as:

  • Policy Analyst
  • Data Scientist
  • Research Specialist
  • Program Evaluator
  • Consultant
  • Program Officer
  • Policy Researcher
  • Local Government Officer
  • Executive Director
  • Policy Advisor
  • Civil Service Administrator
  • Foreign Affairs Officer/Diplomat