Policy Research Areas

Many students arrive at Pardee RAND with a passion for a specific area of policy research, while others choose the School because of the myriad topics available to them, and the many faculty and experts with whom they can work.

You can visit the RAND website to browse all of the research areas and topics RAND explores.

Pardee RAND’s policy research areas are based on student and faculty interests. Click on the topics below to learn about courses, faculty, research, and students in each, as well as alumni who have pursued careers in those areas.

  • Children, Families, and Communities

    Pardee RAND students and faculty help provide solutions to the social welfare and economic challenges faced by children and families, vulnerable populations, and historically marginalized communities. RAND’s work in this area, including the Center to Advance Racial Equity Policy and the Center on Housing and Homelessness, aims to understand why people make the decisions they do and how individuals and communities can increase their resilience.

  • Education, Labor, and Workforce Development

    From remote learning to classroom equity to local workforce training initiatives, Pardee RAND students explore a wide range of education and labor policy issues. RAND research has examined educational systems and school-to-work pipelines for almost five decades. Students have coauthored research on topics from early childhood education to postsecondary education, as well as educator effectiveness, instructional technology, employment outcomes, and retirement.

  • Energy, Environment, and Infrastructure

    Students interested in energy, infrastructure, and the environment contribute in a variety of ways to RAND research both within the U.S. and around the globe. Through the Cazier Initiative and several RAND programs and centers, students have supported research on green infrastructure, stormwater management, transportation and energy policy, the valuation of ecosystem services, and community resilience and emergency response.

  • Health and Health Care

    Pardee RAND students contribute to RAND’s portfolio of research on health and health care in the U.S. and around the globe. Recent topics include responding to and mitigating the COVID-19 pandemic, allocating limited health care resources, reducing hospital spending, and evaluating health care reform options and payment systems. Students work in areas such as public health, disability, aging, and mental and behavioral health, and many also develop expertise in health economics and outcomes research.

  • Justice and Equity

    How do we create a justice system that is fairer, more efficient, and more effective? Civil, criminal, and social justice policies affect populations at all levels, and student research is similarly wide-ranging. From work on the impacts of drug policies like marijuana legalization, to analysis of the ways that technology can impact policing and public safety — among many other topics — Pardee RAND students and faculty have a strong presence in the policy debate.

  • Security and Defense

    RAND helped create the field of defense analysis after World War II. Pardee RAND students and their RAND research mentors carry on this tradition, advising the U.S. national security establishment, allies, and partners on domestic and international security, emergency management, counterterrorism, and more.

  • Technology, Data Science, and Artificial Intelligence

    From big data analysis and blockchain to STEM education and cyber security, the exploration of policies that affect—and are effected by—emerging technology is a popular focus at Pardee RAND. Students frequently make substantive contributions through RAND research projects, experiential learning in the Tech + Narrative Lab, and their own dissertation research. Pardee RAND is also a founding partner in the Public Interest Technology University Network.