Which Degree Program Is Right for You?

At Pardee RAND Graduate School, we offer three degree programs—the Master of National Security Policy (MNSP), the M.Phil. in Policy Analysis and Ph.D. in Policy Analysis. Check out our comparison chart to see which one fits your needs.

Program Comparison

 

MNSP

M.Phil.

Ph.D.

Academic Program

Required coursework
Covers tools of policy analysis, empirical research design, statistics, and more
7 units 8 units 8 units
Elective coursework 3 units 10 units 10 units
On-the-job training
Work on RAND research teams for real clients; students can work more days and earn more money
  150 days 300 days
Degree-specific requirement Capstone (2 units) OJT workshops Dissertation
Faculty drawn from RAND research staff
Opportunity to take electives across programs
Strong student community built by taking core coursework together

Funding Support

Tuition scholarships
Awarded to all students; amount varies by program
Earned research fellowships
All students earn same amount in year 1; amount varies by program after year 1
 
Health insurance

Graduation and Beyond

Time to degree completion 9 months 18 months 3‑5 years
Graduate with applied research and analysis experience, critical thinking, and an analytic toolbelt
STEM designated degree program
International students may apply for up to 3 years of OPT in the United States post-graduation
 

Note: 1 unit is equal to 1 full-quarter course

Which one is right for you?

 

MNSP

M.Phil.

Ph.D.

What is it? Master’s level degree with a focus on national security and policy analysis Master’s level degree in tools of policy analysis Doctoral level degree in tools of policy analysis
Who is it for? Variety of disciplines and majors, early to advanced career individuals who seek additional training in national security policy
  • Launch a policy career
  • Change careers
  • Add to existing experience
Variety of disciplines and majors, early to advanced career individuals who seek additional training in policy analysis
  • Launch a policy career
  • Change careers
  • Add to existing experience
Variety of disciplines and majors, individuals seeking comprehensive training in policy analysis
  • Conduct own research
  • Lead research teams
  • Achieve research leadership positions
  • Make significant contributions to the field
How does it differ?
  • Shortest duration (9 months)
  • Earn more money than with a bachelor’s alone
  • Shorter duration (18 months)
  • Earn more money than with a bachelor’s alone
  • Longer duration (3-5 years)
  • Frequently earn more money than with a master’s or bachelor’s alone
  • Higher level of program funding support
Choose this degree if you want to:
  • Enhance skills in policy analysis within the realm of national security
  • Appeal to employers looking for master’s degree level candidates and broaden career pathways
  • Strengthen your profile for a future Ph.D. program at Pardee RAND or other institutions
  • Perform research but are unsure of committing to a Ph.D.
  • Augment your work experience or master’s degree in another field with real-world research experience
  • Return to the full-time workforce more quickly
  • Appeal to employers looking for master’s degree level candidates and broaden career pathways
  • Strengthen your profile for a future Ph.D. program at Pardee RAND or other institutions
  • Complete original, unique research and complete a dissertation that contributes to the research and knowledge of the policy field
  • Increase your marketability for jobs that require a Ph.D. degree and advanced knowledge in the field
  • Take a deeper dive into policy engagement streams
  • Pursue a career in academia, direct your own research, or hold leadership positions across all sectors
Frequent post-graduate job opportunities
  • Policy Analyst
  • Research Specialist
  • Program Evaluator
  • Consultant
  • Local Government Officer
  • Civil Service Administrator
  • Foreign Affairs Officer/Diplomat
  • Policy Analyst
  • Data Scientist
  • Research Specialist
  • Program Evaluator
  • Program Officer
  • Director
  • Policy Advisor
  • Policy Researcher
  • Consultant
  • Local Government Officer
  • Civil Service Administrator
  • Foreign Affairs Officer/Diplomat
  • Senior Policy Analyst
  • Senior Data Scientist
  • Research Associate
  • Senior Program Evaluator
  • Senior Program Officer
  • Executive Director
  • Senior Policy Advisor
  • Senior Policy Researcher
  • Senior Consultant
  • Professor
  • Economist
  • Methodologist

Still not sure? There’s flexibility.

  • You can apply to more than one program.
  • Those who start in the M.Phil. program but decide they want to continue in the Ph.D. program may apply to do so after their first year. If accepted, they would start in year 3 of the Ph.D. program after their M.Phil. degree is completed.
  • Pardee RAND Ph.D. students receive an M.Phil. along the way to their Ph.D.