Apply for the Master of National Security Policy

Fall 2024 Application Information

  • Deadlines: Apply by June 15 for earliest consideration. Applications accepted through August 1.
  • Application Fee: None for Fall 2024

To receive preliminary feedback on your candidacy prior to investing your time into the admissions process, please consider submitting a pre-application.


We seek to enroll a diverse, talented, and engaged entering cohort. We encourage an equitable and inclusive environment—one that is rich in different backgrounds, experiences, and perspectives—in our graduate program and in the public policy field. Each application is comprehensively and holistically reviewed. All majors and disciplines are welcome.

Start Your Application

MNSP Application Components

After you start your application and submit your initial application form, within one business day you will receive an email notification that your Admissions Checklist is ready and you may proceed with the rest of the application.

Note: you can save your work and return to the application later; you do not have to complete it in one sitting.

We require two letters of recommendation from either academic or professional sources.

On the initial application form, you will be asked to complete the Recommender Confidentiality Waiver which asks whether you waive your right to access your recommendation letters if you are admitted to Pardee RAND. This pertains to the U.S. Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA).

As soon as you submit a letter of recommendation form, your recommenders will receive an email with instructions on how to submit their letter. Please contact recommenders in advance to confirm that they are willing to write a letter, and follow up to confirm they received an email request from us and ask them to complete their letter before the application deadline.

Each recommendation should address the following topics:

  • Interest in national security as a career/field
  • Intellectual ability and potential for future intellectual growth
  • Preparation and aptitude

You can check the status of your letters in the Admissions Portal.

You will be asked for information about all academic institutions you attended since high school and you will need to upload unofficial transcripts from each of those institutions.

Transcripts must show a record of all courses taken, grades received, and degrees conferred. If you are enrolled in a fall term course, please wait until you have received your final grade(s) before submitting your transcript.

If a school’s transcript does not include degree conferral information, please provide separate official documentation or a photograph/photocopy of your diploma. Please upload transcripts for each school as separate files.

For transcripts in a language other than English, please provide an exact translation into English of each transcript (that includes courses, grades, and degree conferral). Please combine the transcript and the translation into one document and upload where indicated in the online application. You do not need to provide certified translations at the time of application.

If you are admitted and accept our offer, you will be required to send final, official transcripts for all institutions from which you earned a degree, as well as certified translations for any original documents that are not in English.

Please upload a resume or curriculum vitae (CV) that highlights your

  • Academic background
  • Work experience, including dates of employment and principal responsibilities
  • Research, technical, computer, and other skillsets

The GRE or GMAT is not required. We read each application comprehensively and holistically, and we consider the combination of personal accomplishments, academic background, work experience, essays, test scores, letters of recommendation, and other materials in a thoughtful review of each application file.

Standardized Test Scores (GRE or GMAT)

If you choose to submit a GRE or GMAT score for your 2024 application, you must have taken the test after July 1, 2019 (GRE) or September 1, 2019 (GMAT). Home editions of the tests are valid. If you took the test more than once, include the highest score you received for each section, even if from different test dates.

We ask that you upload your unofficial score report, which can be a downloaded PDF of your test taker score report or a scanned personal copy of the official score report. If you are admitted and accept our offer, you will be required to submit your official score report.

English Language Proficiency Exam Results

For international students whose native language is not English and who have not studied at least two years at a higher education institution where courses are taught in English, we require an English language proficiency exam.

Scores are required from one of the following approved English language proficiency tests*:

  • TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language)
  • IELTS (International English Language Test System)
  • PTE Academic (Pearson English Language Test)

*The TOEFL iBT Special Home Edition, TOEFL ITP for China, or IELTS Indicator may be used to fulfill the English requirement.

Pardee RAND requires non-native English speaking applicants to receive an overall score of at least 100 on the TOEFL, 7.0 on the IELTS, or 68 on the PTE Academic. Sub scores indicated must be from the same test administration.

To be valid for the 2024 application, you must have taken the test after September 1, 2022.

Upload your unofficial score report. This can be a downloaded PDF of your test taker score report or a scanned personal copy of the official score report. If you are admitted and accept our offer, you will be required to submit your official score report if you had not done so already.

English Language Exemption

If you are an international applicant, you are exempted from the English language proficiency requirement if either of the following applies:

  • You hold a bachelor's or higher degree from a university located in the United States or other English-speaking country where courses are taught in English, or
  • You have completed at least two years of full-time study at a higher education institution where courses are taught in English.

The information you provide in the application will make it clear that you have the requisite language skills; you do not need to request an exemption.

Please respond to the following essay prompt (maximum 750 words).

  • What motivates you to pursue a Master of National Security Policy degree at Pardee RAND Graduate School, and how do you envision this program helping you achieve your career goals?

Optional Statement

If there is any information about your background that you were not able to provide elsewhere, please include it here. Your response does not have to be in the form of a formal essay. Brief explanations on multiple topics are okay. (Maximum 300 words)

Applicants for Fall 2024 will not be charged an application fee. The application portal includes a waiver code for you to enter.

Additional Components for Accepted Candidates

Accepted international applicants will be required to submit “Proof of Funds,” or documentation that they have sufficient funds to cover the first year of their stay in the U.S. (one year of academic and living expenses), before a Certificate of Eligibility for Nonimmigrant Student Status (Form I-20) will be issued. The Form I-20 is used to apply for a U.S. student visa.

Learn more

Students who are accepted into the program will be contacted by RAND to complete a background check required of all RAND employees. A conviction is not necessarily a bar to employment and all circumstances are considered. For more information or additional questions contact RAND Human Resources at rand-hr@rand.org.