Student Life at Pardee RAND

Pardee RAND is in an amazing geographic location: Santa Monica, California, and the greater Los Angeles region. Because we are part of the RAND Corporation—rather than a university—applicants often ask us what student life is like. We encourage you to tour our campus through the following video slide show, and read on to learn about student life at Pardee RAND. Please do not hesitate to reach out to to ask us questions as you consider, apply, and matriculate to Pardee RAND.

Read about: Living in LA | Housing and Transportation | Employment at RAND | Health Insurance | Social Life | The International Student Experience

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, coastal city of Santa Monica.

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.

Housing and Transportation

Students and faculty sometimes commute along the beach, or rent bikes for afternoon and weekend rides

Stefan Zavislan (cohort '14)

Students are responsible for finding their own place to live, and many find housing in the local areas of Santa Monica, Venice, Palms, Mar Vista, Brentwood, West Los Angeles, Culver City, and beyond. 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, bus lines, and the Metro rail. Pardee RAND also has a limited number of two- and three-bedroom apartment units for students to rent, a few miles from campus.

RAND subsidizes public transportation for those who choose not to have a car; many students start the program without one. 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. The terminus of the Los Angeles Metro Expo line is a few blocks from RAND and connects Santa Monica by rail to Downtown LA, Pasadena, Long Beach, Culver City, and dozens of other locations across L.A. County. For those students who do have a car, RAND provides free underground parking.

Employment at RAND

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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 the Project-Based Research 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.

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.

Social Life

Students at the annual Welcome BBQ

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.

The International Student Experience

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Students coming back from a lunchtime game of beach volleyball

International students help to make Pardee RAND the wonderfully diverse program it is, and we do all we can to help our students adjust to academic life in the United States. International students at Pardee RAND come from 23 countries across Africa, Asia, Europe, North and South America, and the Caribbean! We value the international flavor, the dedication to serving their home country or other parts of the world, and the courage to seek out education abroad in a new country that international students bring to our program. International students make up approximately one-third of our student population.

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. International students are valuable members of research projects and can often bring language, cultural, or other regional knowledge to a team that otherwise may not have this kind of expertise. Many projects at RAND will be candidates for your project-based research requirement; however, projects that require a U.S. clearance and/or "fitness" are not open to international students. This includes all RAND projects for the Department of Homeland Security. Depending on your areas of interest and country of origin, you may join other international students who have found work on national and international security projects, but we advise all international students to plan to do substantial project work in the areas without any restrictions for international students, including RAND Health Care, RAND Social and Economic Well-being, and RAND Education and Labor.

International students receive an F1 visa and are permitted to work up to 20 hours per week while school is in regular session and full-time during school breaks and during the summer period. Students are also eligible for Curricular Practical Training (CPT) and Optional Practical Training (OPT) which can increase the number of hours you are able to work. Pardee RAND is not a program sponsor of the J-1 visa.

Additional information on studying in the United States can be found in the following U.S. News and World Report article, "Critical Graduate School Considerations for International Students."

Questions? Contact Us

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