The School of Public Policy (SPP) is the youngest of the University's five schools, established in 1996 after one year of existence as a freestanding institute of the University. The mission of the nonpartisan School of Public Policy is to take a student-centered approach to studying the multidisciplinary field of public policy. The school aims to properly equip its graduates with conceptual and economic tools of analysis necessary for the profession. It also seeks to encourage students toward the self-discovery and self-examination required to become leaders with clearly defined values and moral certainties who can then effectively change, design, or create the organizations that serve society.
SPP is distinctive in its curriculum which, in addition to imparting the contemporary tools of behavioral and scientific analysis of policymaking, uniquely looks to the study of the lives and ideas of great thinkers and leaders in the past—essential to considering and applying the ideals of limited government and capitalism, the moral implications and consequences of personal responsibility, and the belief that every individual is a sacred being with a transcendent end. Like all other Pepperdine schools, instruction is highly practical and the required internship is performed in the middle (not toward the end) of the curriculum.
The approximately 100 enrolled students at SPP enjoy innovation, freshness, and currency of ideas through instructional contact with visiting distinguished professors, visiting research scholars, and fellows, as well as through SPP-hosted forums, seminars, and symposia on topical issues. It is through such events, and through scholarship by its research fellows at the resident Davenport Institute, that the school fulfills its mission to strengthen the institutions the lie between the individual and the federal government, such as the family, religious organizations, volunteer associations, local and regional government, and nonprofit organizations.
The School of Public Policy offers the Master of Public Policy degree through its two-year, full-time resident program on the Malibu campus.