Southwestern Law School Los Angeles, CA

Certificate Programs in Law and Public Policy

Southwestern Partners with RAND for Law and Public Policy Certificate ProgramsSouthwestern and the Pardee RAND Graduate School have established two exciting certificate programs to provide law students and public policy Ph.D. students the opportunity to complement their degree programs with a unique understanding of the interplay between the law and public policy.

Through these certificate programs, qualified Southwestern students can take courses in public policy at Pardee RAND, leading to a Certificate in Public Policy, and qualified students at Pardee RAND can take courses at Southwestern, leading to a Certificate in Legal Studies. These are not joint degree programs; instead, they are intended to provide participating students with a basic knowledge of law and public policy and an understanding of the tools and frameworks relevant to each field.

There are virtually no programs available to meet the needs of policy Ph.D. students who wish to gain substantial exposure to law school course work or law students seeking to gain an understanding of public policy without the requirement of an additional degree. Our new certificate programs provide a very practical solution.

Graduates who hold either the Certificate in Legal Studies or the Certificate in Public Policy will acquire skills and knowledge that should allow them to rise to leadership roles in a number of policy-making and legal organizations including government agencies, nonprofit groups, law firms and private-sector corporations.

The certificate programs will be small and highly competitive with approximately two to four students from each school each year. The schools will select candidates for the program from among their student bodies. The hosting school will make final admission decisions; however, students will generally be from the top 20% of their graduate school/law school class at the end of their first year of study. Southwestern students will have up to two years to complete the policy certificate program, and Pardee RAND students must complete the law certificate program within three years.

"Our nation's public policies are largely contained in legislation and regulations grounded in the law and impact nearly every aspect of the public, commercial and private sectors. Both law and public policy students can therefore benefit tremendously from a more holistic understanding of the interconnectivity of law and public policy."

- Dean Susan Marquis, Pardee RAND Graduate School


Students will be selected on a case-by-case basis from the top 20% of their class or cohort. Each school will select their applicants for the appropriate certificate program and the hosting school will then evaluate those applications to determine admissions.

Southwestern students will be eligible to enter the certificate program after completion of their first year of law school. To enroll in any quantitative courses at Pardee RAND, students will have to demonstrate competency in math through college transcripts or GRE scores at a level similar to Pardee RAND students, or by taking Mathematics for Policy Analysis.

Pardee RAND students may enter the certificate program after completion of their first or second year of the Ph.D. program and must successfully complete their qualifying exams prior to commencing the program.

Academic Credit

All approved units taken at one school will transfer to the other school as credit/no credit using the equivalencies shown in the Certificate Requirements table. Students must earn a grade of C+ or better to receive course credit. Southwestern students must complete the certificate program requirements within two years. Pardee RAND students must complete the certificate program requirements within three years. Other than Perspectives on Public Policy Analysis and Mathematics for Policy Analysis, students may take required and elective courses at their own pace and in order of preference or convenience.


Program Required Credits for Certificate Credit Counting Toward Degree
Public Policy Certificate 6 units at Pardee RAND (generally 6-8 classes at 0.5 - 1.0 unit each)* 3 Pardee RAND units may be counted toward the Southwestern J.D.*
Legal Studies Certificate 12 units at Southwestern
(generally 6-8 classes at 1.0 - 4.0 units each)*
6 Southwestern units may be counted toward the Pardee RAND PhD.*

Unit Conversion (SW = Pardee RAND)

1.0 = 0.5 2.0 = 1.0 3.0 = 1.5 4.0 = 2.0

*The units for the required foundational course are included in the counts above.


Students accepted into the certificate program may choose from a wide variety of courses eligible for credit at both schools, such as Principles in Client-Oriented Policy Analysis, Organizational Culture of Government Institutions, and Cost Benefit and Cost Effectiveness Analysis (Pardee RAND courses), and Children and the Law, Environmental Law, and International Dispute Resolution (Southwestern courses).

Click here for a list of courses that count toward the Certificate in Legal Studies. A list of courses for the Certificate in Public Policy can be found on the Pardee RAND website.

Application Process and Tuition

The Southwestern-Pardee RAND Certificate Programs are only open to current Southwestern and Pardee RAND students.

Students accepted into the certificate program will pay no additional tuition to the partner institution provided that they complete the certificate requirements concurrent with earning their J.D. or Ph.D.

Current Southwestern students can find the application and instructions on MySouthwestern (log-in required).

Contact Information

For Southwestern students:
Mr. Zachary Bruning, Counselor
Phone: (213) 738-6721; W102

For Pardee RAND students:
Director of Admissions
Pardee RAND Graduate School
1776 Main Street
Santa Monica, CA 90407
Phone: (310) 393-0411, ext. 7690

Pardee RAND Graduate SchoolPardee RAND Graduate School

The Pardee RAND Graduate School is unique in American higher education. Founded in 1970 as one of the original eight graduate programs in public policy, Pardee RAND was the only program specializing in the Ph.D. degree. It is also the only one based at a think tank, the RAND Corporation, and is unique in focusing its core curriculum on analytic tools and methodologies including economics, statistics, operations research, and social and behavioral science research methods.