Ph.D. Policy Specialization

Developing expertise in a specific public policy area

p201810_11, class, prgs class, discussion, meghan franco

Photo by Diane Baldwin/RAND

We strongly believe that our Ph.D. students should leave the program having a deep substantive understanding of at least one policy research area where RAND has substantial expertise.

To complete the policy research specialization, students must demonstrate that they have acquired a thorough understanding of their selected topic. This requires

  • An independent study with a specialist (Pardee RAND faculty expert, RAND researcher or outside expert) covering topics related to their chosen policy specialization
  • At least 50 days of OJT (on-the-job training) related to the substantive policy specialization, and
  • A dissertation related to the topic.

Students have a lot of flexibility in choosing their topic of interest. They can select a specialization that is more broad, such as health, crime and criminal justice, or defense and national security. Or they can opt for something more specific, such as military mental health, innovation and social policy, or low income and financially vulnerable populations in the U.S.

Recent Policy Specializations

  • Air Force Manpower, Personnel and Training
  • Child Policy
  • Climate Change, Climate Finance and African Governance
  • Data Science
  • Defense and Security
  • Defense Policy and Force Management
  • Defense, Security and International Relations
  • Economic Analysis
  • Economic Development
  • Economic Development and Poverty Reduction
  • Economics
  • Education and Labor Markets
  • Education Policy
  • Energy and Environment
  • Energy, Science and Technology
  • Environmental Policy
  • Food Security
  • Force Modernization and Evaluation
  • Foreign Military Sales
  • Government Reform
  • Health
  • Health and Labor Economics
  • Health and Public Safety
  • Health and Safety
  • Health and Social Policy
  • Health Economics
  • Health Policy
  • Health Services and Population Health
  • Individual Decision Making
  • Infrastructure, Energy and Environment
  • Innovation and Economic Development
  • Innovation and Social Policy
  • International Affairs and Security
  • International Relations and Economic Policy
  • Labor and Education
  • Labor and Population
  • Labor Economics
  • Law and Public Policy
  • Local and City Policy
  • Long-Term Economic Planning
  • Low Income and Financially Vulnerable Populations in the U.S.
  • Military Mental Health
  • National Defense
  • National Security Gaming
  • Political Science and Social Science
  • Politics and Government
  • Post Secondary Education
  • Radicalization, Terrorism and Organized Crime
  • Resource Allocation
  • Science and Technology Policy
  • Substance Abuse
  • Tax Evasion and Behavioral Science
  • Technological Change and Labor Market Policy
  • Technology Policy
  • Threat Detection and Risk Evaluation for Defense
  • U.S. Marijuana Policy