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RAND is a nonprofit, nonpartisan research organization focused on improving policy and decision making through high-quality research and objective analysis. Our research is enriched through diverse, multidisciplinary teams that draw on a range of experiences and perspectives. We are committed to striving for diversity, equity, and inclusion. Research and analysis is enriched by diversity of talents, experiences, and perspectives. We encourage students from different racial/ethnic and cultural backgrounds, abilities, ages, gender, gender identity/expression, and other underrepresented groups to apply.

Position Description

RAND’s Summer Associate Program introduces outstanding graduate students conducting national security-related work in political science; history; public policy; public administration; international relations; or area studies to the RAND Corporation, an institution that conducts research on a wide range of domestic and international social policy issues as well as national security problems.

RAND advises a variety of defense clients on policy-level decisions relating to defense programs, military systems, future force structure and doctrine, homeland security, and national military strategy. Working with multi­disciplinary teams, national security researchers apply quantitative and qualitative skills to analyze policy problems of national and international importance, and communicate the results of these analyses to decision makers.

Please note: Our Summer Associate program will be a remote/virtual program for summer 2022. Positions will only be available for students residing in the U.S. (excluding U.S. territories) for the duration of the summer associate assignments.

Summer Associates experience the following at RAND:

  • Typically work at RAND for a 12-week period during the summer;
  • Receive a bi-weekly paycheck during their assignment with RAND;
  • Conduct research that can be completed during their time at RAND and present the results of this research to the RAND community via a 15-30 minute briefing at the end of their three-month assignment;
  • Are closely mentored by one to two established RAND researchers;
  • Are highly encouraged to network and interact with other researchers outside of their primary mentorship team and area of expertise;
  • Are invited to attend a number of seminars from researchers both within and outside of RAND.


The program is designed for full-time students who have completed at least two years of graduate work leading to a doctorate (e.g., PhD, EDD, DRPH, SciD, etc.) or professional degree (e.g., law or medical degree, professional engineer certificate). Students must be enrolled full-time in a graduate degree program during the spring and fall of 2022 to be considered for the program. Students graduating prior to September 2022 are encouraged to look at our full-time positions at

Most of RAND’s professional hiring is at the PhD level, so our summer program is oriented toward individuals who are generally within a year or two of completing their doctorates.

U.S. citizenship is not necessary except when required for certain types of project work (e.g., the project contract requires it or the project work itself requires a security clearance).

A keen interest in working on applied, policy-oriented research questions is necessary. Applicants are strongly encouraged to explore RAND’s website ( for details on RAND’s ongoing research portfolio. Unfortunately, we do not know in advance which projects may require summer associates.

Additional qualifications required:

  • Excellent analytic skills;
  • Proven ability in quantitative and/or qualitative research methods;
  • Ability to communicate clearly and effectively in English, both verbally and in writing;
  • Ability to work effectively as a member of a multidisciplinary team;
  • Strong commitment to RAND’s core values of quality and objectivity;

To apply

RAND accepts applications only through our website, Applications mailed directly to RAND or emailed to our Summer Director will not be considered. All applications are due by December 1, 2021, 11:59pm Pacific Time.

If you have additional questions about the Graduate Student Summer Associate Program, please contact

Equal Opportunity Employer: race/color/religion/sex/sexual orientation/gender identity/national origin/disability/vet

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