Pardee RAND History & Accreditation

Students of the (then-)RAND Graduate Institute, with founding dean Charles Wolf, in 1978

Students of the (then-)RAND Graduate Institute, with founding dean Charles Wolf, in 1978

Pardee RAND Graduate School is unique in American higher education.

Founded in 1970 as one of the original eight graduate programs in public policy analysis, it is the only program based at a public policy research institute—the Santa Monica, California-based RAND Corporation—which invented many of the analytical methods and tools of public policy analysis.


The Pardee RAND Graduate School (then RAND Graduate Institute) received its first accreditation from the Western Associate of Schools and Colleges (WASC) in 1975 and it has been reaccredited continuously since then. Most recently, Pardee RAND was re-accredited through 2030, following a review in 2021 from the WASC Senior College and University Commission.

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  • 1970: RAND Graduate Institute (RGI) is founded at the RAND Corporation in Santa Monica, CA; first cohort has 11 students
  • 1970: Charles Wolf Jr. becomes Dean (1970-1998)
  • 1974: The first doctorate degree is awarded
  • 1975: School receives official accreditation from Western Association of Schools and Colleges
  • 1979: RGI is a founding member of the Association for Public Policy Analysis and Management (APPAM)
  • 1985: Accreditation is reaffirmed
  • 1987: RGI becomes the RAND Graduate School (RGS); entering cohort has 12 students, total enrollment is 81
  • 1990: Accreditation is reaffirmed
  • 1998: RAND Corporation celebrates its 50th anniversary
  • 1998: Robert Klitgaard becomes Dean (1998-2005), later succeeded by interim Dean Rae Archibald (2005-2006)
  • 2000: Accreditation is reaffirmed
  • 2004: RGS becomes the Frederick S. Pardee RAND Graduate School to honor the vision and contributions of Frederick S. Pardee, a former RAND researcher and philanthropist; entering cohort has 25 students; total enrollment is 92
  • 2004: Pardee RAND and the RAND Corporation move into a new, state-of-the-art LEED certified building (U.S. Green Building Council's "Gold" designation) at 1776 Main Street
  • 2006: John Graham becomes Dean (2006-2008), later succeeded by interim Dean Molly Selvin (2008)
  • 2008: RAND Corporation celebrates its 60th anniversary; total enrollment exceeds 100
  • 2009: Susan L. Marquis becomes Dean (2009-2021)
  • 2010: Pardee RAND celebrates its 40th anniversary with a gala celebration including students, alumni, current and former staff members, and many other guests
  • 2011: Accreditation is reaffirmed (until 2020)
  • 2012: Pioneering political scientist James Q. Wilson bequeaths his complete archive of papers, books, and correspondence to the school; the James Q. Wilson Collection is dedicated in January 2013
  • 2013: A generous gift from Frederick S. Pardee begins the Pardee Initiative for Global Human Progress, a multi-year program to improving the future human condition with a focus on Asia and Africa
  • 2013: Inaugural Summer Faculty Workshop, later renamed the Faculty Leaders Program, is offered as part of the Next Generation Initiative to increase diversity among policy leaders and analysts
  • 2014: A legacy gift establishes the John and Carol Cazier Environmental and Energy Sustainability Initiative
  • 2015: School begins a multiyear process of reimagining its curriculum for the 21st century
  • 2020: School celebrates 50th anniversary; first cohort of students begins three policy engagement streams
  • 2021: Accreditation is reaffirmed (until 2030), including institutional approval for distance education; Nancy Staudt named fifth Dean
  • 2022: School receives approval to offer stand-alone M.Phil. in Policy Analysis
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