Facebook pixel School of Public Policy COVID-19 Updates | Pepperdine University Skip to main content
Pepperdine University

School of Public Policy COVID-19 Updates

The School of Public Policy continues to implement plans to address COVID-19 in coordination with the Pepperdine Restoration Plan. Additional information will be shared by the school as it becomes available.

Latest Updates

FAQs

  Prospective Students

Are you accepting applications for fall 2021?

The fall 2021 application portal opened on October 1, 2020. If you have any questions regarding the application process, please reach out to our SPP Admissions team at sppadmissions@pepperdine.edu for further information.

I started my application. What are the next steps?

First, please be sure to submit your application. You do not have to upload all your required documents before you press submit. When you are ready, you can go back into your application portal and attach your admission documents. You can also email documents to us at sppadmissions@pepperdine.edu and we will upload them for you. (Remember, you must submit your application in order for our Admission Team to attach documents to your applicant file). Please keep in mind that when you submit your application, your recommenders are automatically notified that you are requesting a letter of recommendation.

Submitting your application allows our admission team to monitor your application progress and notify you of missing items and when letters of recommendation come in. You may also contact us directly at sppadmissions@pepperdine.edu or call us at 310.506.7493 if you have any questions or would like a real-time status update.


Will the fall 2021 semester be online, remote, or in person?

For the fall 2021 and spring 2022 semesters only, we will be offering at least one remotely taught class in each of the SPP-led specializations (American Policy and Politics, International Relations and National Security, Applied Economic Policy, and State and Local Policy). We will also be offering the SPP-based portion of the Dispute Resolution specialization online next spring. Students should consult with the Pepperdine Caruso School of Law about which, if any, of the courses in the specialization offered through the Straus Institute may be offered online.

This new class schedule will provide every returning student with the flexibility to complete their MPP online (spring semester included). Due to the limited number of online classes we're planning, students pursuing the online option may have to adjust their planned final specialization for graduation, and certain dual specializations may be more difficult or may no longer be possible. Remember that every student has the option to graduate with a "general" MPP degree without a specialization.

Note: The core classes for incoming first-year students will still only be offered on campus.


I am an admitted international student, what are the next steps?

We know the current, rapidly changing health and travel situation has raised issues and concerns about visas and prospective students' ability to be able to travel to the US to attend school here at Pepperdine in Malibu, California.

First, know that the School of Public Policy is aware of these challenges and is actively working to provide options that address the issues and developments as they unfold. Second, and most importantly, make sure to move quickly with your appointments when the embassies do open, so that you will be ready to join us when it is possible.

We encourage students to reach out to Pepperdine University's Office of International Student Services for questions regarding visa processing.


Is housing available for fall 2021?

Our ability to house students on campus is directly impacted by state and county restrictions. For further information, please reach out to housing directly at 310.506.7586 or housing@pepperdine.edu about the housing application process. 


Will tuition rates be adjusted for remote/online education?

At this time, there are no plans to change our published tuition rates for the 2020–2021 academic year. Our commitment to academic integrity and program design remains the same whether our classes are delivered in person or via remote/online learning. As a rule, 90 percent of our students receive scholarships, and we are committed to providing this same level of support to the incoming class. At the ready are our experienced faculty, our unique and innovative James Q. Wilson core curriculum, and the resources of Pepperdine University and our community to guide you academically from start to finish while in attendance at the School of Public Policy.


Can I visit the campus?

The Malibu campus will reopen on August 2. In order for the admissions office to be prepared, we encourage you to reach out to us at sppadmissions@pepperdine.edu or call us at 310.506.7493 for meeting options and informative online brochures. You can watch our video tour in the meantime. 

How has COVID-19 impacted admission requirements?

Our admission team is fully committed to helping our applicants during this challenging time. We understand and recognize the potential challenges caused by recent events. That being said, we have decided to make all GRE/GMAT/LSAT test requirements optional for our incoming applicants.

Required documents are:

  1. Online Application
  2. Personal Statement
  3. Ethical Moral Dilemma Essay
  4. Resume/CV
  5. Two letters of recommendation
  6. For International Applicants: Language exams. We accept TOEFL or IELTS. If you are unable to take these exams due to the COVID-19 pandemic, we have other options available to you. Please contact us at sppadmissions@pepperdine.edu for details.
  7. Transcripts: please note that we will accept unofficial transcripts during the application process. If you are admitted, your academic institution(s) will be required to send us official transcripts indicating bachelor's degree conferral.

For more information about our admission requirements, check out our admissions page.

The application still requests standardized test scores. How can I confirm that these will be waived based on the guidance outlined above?

As these official test scores are optional, the application system requires an applicant to select a test. You will NOT be required to submit a test score unless you choose to. For further questions, feel free to contact our office at sppadmissions@pepperdine.edu.

I am an international student and cannot take the TOEFL or IELTS. Are these still required? Is there an alternative?

Language exams are still a requirement for admission. Please visit our admissions website or contact sppadmissions@pepperdine.edu for questions.

When is my application considered complete and ready for review by the admissions committee?

In order for your application to be reviewed by our admission committee, you must submit your application and upload all your required admission documents. Our Admission Office will email to notify you that your application is complete. You may also contact us anytime at sppadmissions@pepperdine.edu or by calling 310.506.7493 if you have any questions.


Are you awarding scholarships for fall 2021? How do I complete the financial aid process?

Yes, scholarships are available for students applying for the fall 2021 term. The application portal opened on October 1, 2020. To be considered for non-institutional aid (federal student loans and work study) you still need to submit the FAFSA. If you do not submit a FAFSA, you cannot qualify for federal student loans nor federal work study. The application is free, and you can begin here. A student must submit a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) to the Federal Student Aid Programs to determine financial need and apply for loans. The Federal Title IV School Code for Pepperdine University is 001264. Please note, financial aid packages will be made available to students beginning summer 2021. Please contact Christopher Jones, director of program services and admissions, at 310.506.7369 or christopher.j.jones@pepperdine.edu if you have any questions about the financial aid process.

  Academics

Will classes be online or in-person in the fall 2021 term?

For the fall 2021 and spring 2022 semesters only, we will be offering at least one remotely taught class in each of the SPP-led specializations (American Policy and Politics, International Relations and National Security, Applied Economic Policy, and State and Local Policy). We will also be offering the SPP-based portion of the Dispute Resolution specialization online next spring. Students should consult with the Pepperdine Caruso School of Law about which, if any, of the courses in the specialization offered through the Straus Institute may be offered online.

This new class schedule will provide every returning student with the flexibility to complete their MPP online (spring semester included). Due to the limited number of online classes we're planning, students pursuing the online option may have to adjust their planned final specialization for graduation, and certain dual specializations may be more difficult or may no longer be possible. Remember that every student has the option to graduate with a "general" MPP degree without a specialization.

Note: The core classes for incoming first-year students will still only be offered on campus.

Students may access the details of the Pepperdine Restoration Plan on the University's COVID-19 Planning and Preparedness website

How do I order books for my fall 2021 classes?

Students can order their books online by clicking on the "Class Material(s)" link after a course has been added to their Shopping Cart in WaveNet or by clicking on the "Bookstore" link while viewing their enrolled courses. Students may also visit the bookstore's website directly and follow the drop-down prompts under "Find My Course Materials." Since in-store pick-up will be unlikely course materials may be shipped directly to your home. In some instances, free ground shipping will be available with a minimum purchase.


My job offer was rescinded due to this unique situation what should I do?

We know there have been concerns related to the employment market for our second-year students. We are regularly checking with our professional networks and job boards to seek out opportunities. Students should continue to reach out to Kirsten Vassie as their main point of contact for additional details. The Public Policy Job Board, SPP developed two years ago, continues to be a resource for open positions as well as the University's Handshake platform.


I am an international student. What should I do?

All international students who plan to travel or have Optional Practical Training should contact the Office of International Student Services for detailed information or access the FAQ for international students. For an expedient response, please contact the Office of International Student Services via email or call 310.506.7747 with your CWID, full name, and request.

What do we do about rented textbooks or textbooks we plan to sell back to the bookstore?

Students can mail rentals back at no charge or sell books back to the Pepperdine Bookstore in the spring semester.


How do I complete my Professional Development credit since we are not on campus?

Students are still required to complete their Professional Development credit. To view the requirements, event types, and submission deadline, visit the Professional Development page.  


Do I still need to do an internship for the full 240-hour requirement? Are there alternative internships I could pursue?

Internships are an integral part of the experiential learning process and often lead students into career opportunities upon graduation. Students will still be expected to fulfill their 240-hour internship requirements and should be actively seeking internship opportunities if not already secured. We are regularly checking with our professional networks and job boards to seek out internship opportunities.

The School of Public Policy has approved a "Flexible Internship Strategy" that has additional options. SPP will continue to work with students to obtain substantive policy-based internships to meet the requirement during their time at SPP. However, please note that first-year students are not permitted to intern during their first term (typically fall) to intern. Students who are still looking for internships, finding it difficult to secure traditional and or remote internship opportunities, or concerned about meeting the 240-hour requirement may now consider the options below. Each request to pursue "flexible" options will be considered on a case-by-case basis and will need to be approved by Kirsten Vassie PRIOR to pursuit. Students' demonstration of significant progress in securing an internship (meetings with Kirsten, updated resume, cover letters, number of organizations where applications submitted are examples) will be considered in the approval process.

  • Remote work will continue to be an option for approved organizations.
  • Students, who cannot complete the full 240-hour requirement with a single organization, may request to have a "second" internship approved to supplement the hours for the full credit. "Flexible" hours may be split between no more than two organizations.
  • Students, who can continue working with their current organization in future terms, will be allowed to carry-over their enrollment across consecutive semesters.
  • Research projects from current full-time SPP faculty will be considered. Faculty member(s) would provide structure and oversight. Students are responsible for securing their own research project, which must be approved.
  • Volunteering with an organization, ideally related to the student's area of specialization, may be considered. This option would require a writing component as part of the assessment.
  • LinkedIn learning sessions may be a supplement to hours needed. A student would first complete a soft-skills assessment with Kirsten and then complete recommended learning modules to improve professional skills.
  • Alumni informational interviews in an area that aligns with the student's career objectives may supplement hours needed. Students would be required to work with Kirsten on outreach and this option is subject to alumni availability. Students would prepare a written assessment of the informational interview.
  • Employer informational interviews in an area that aligns with the student's career objectives may supplement hours needed. The employer would need to be approved in advance by Kirsten and a written assessment of the informational interview will be required.

In all instances, students will be expected to assemble a portfolio of experiences that is equivalent to the 240 hours required from the policy internship experience. Students seeking credit for these alternative activities will need to receive prior approval and to provide the documentation necessary for Kirsten to validate and approve the hours. Policy internship forms will still be required and students should continue to reach out to Kirsten Vassie as their main point of contact for additional details.


As a graduating student, how long can I keep my Pepperdine email?

The University Registrar and Information Technology will extend email and WaveNet access for graduating students to 90 days after commencement ceremonies. Commencement dates are to be determined. This extension has been put in place to afford graduating students extra time to update their contact information in WaveNet. Students will be informed of this extension via automated email reminders when they complete their program.

  Tuition, Financial Aid, and Housing

What if I have an emergency financial situation?

Students should contact CJ Jones regarding student accounts and financial aid questions. Students with a financial emergency unrelated to tuition, aid, or their student account may contact Sheryl Covey or LaShonda Coleman with the Student CARE team. 

How do I complete federal exit counseling?

Federal exit counseling may be done online. Please reference the SPP Loan Counseling website for applicable links and contact CJ Jones for additional information.

Am I eligible for the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act) funding from the Department of Education?

University financial aid administrators are currently reviewing eligibility of the CARES Act emergency funding grants for students. The University will provide an FAQ of eligibility and an application will be developed. Students may contact CJ Jones or LaShonda Coleman for additional questions.

  Campus Resources

Will graduate campuses be open?

Yes, the Calabasas, Encino, Irvine, and West L.A. campuses will open on August 2. 

Do I need to be vaccinated and can I file an exemption?

As the COVID-19 pandemic continues and case surges are being seen around the globe once again, Pepperdine University strives to have plans in place to protect student, staff, and faculty safety. Pepperdine's vaccination policy requires either 1) submission of proof of vaccination- Students who are uploading proof of vaccination must do so by inputting the dates of their vaccines and uploading their vaccine card to their Patient Portal. Employees must complete the COVID-19 Vaccination Notification Form. Or 2) submission of either a medical, religious, or philosophical exemption request-. Students who wish to claim an exemption may also do so by accessing the form in their Patient Portal and employees should submit their request through the exemption webpage. Pepperdine's policies regarding COVID-19 vaccinations mirror the University's long-standing approach to all vaccinations.

In keeping with Los Angeles County regulations, at this time vaccinated individuals will not need to quarantine if identified as a close contact to a positive COVID-19 case, but unvaccinated individuals will be required to follow quarantine protocols. Additionally, regardless of vaccination status anyone testing positive for COVID-19 is required to isolate and cooperate with contact tracing. Knowing the vaccination status of our community is important for contact tracing, identifying the appropriate individuals that will need to participate in surveillance testing, and to identify those that need to quarantine should they have a confirmed exposure to a COVID-19 positive case.

 

What happens if I filed a vaccination exemption?

Students who submit an exemption will be considered "unvaccinated" for purposes of surveillance testing and might need to take additional precautions as described by the requirements in the policy.

Unvaccinated individuals (faculty, staff, and students) will be required to participate in regular surveillance testing. The testing will be offered on campus for free. Results will be emailed to the individuals directly from the lab, although the Student Health Center will also have records of the results. If an individual tests positive for COVID-19 a Contact Tracer from the Student Health Center will be in touch. Please note that due to the fluidity of the pandemic guidelines are changing rapidly so any of these requirements are subject to change. Please continue to monitor your email for important announcements and refer to the University COVID-19 website.

 

How can I access library resources?

Pepperdine Libraries is excited to support students, faculty, and staff as we adapt to this online semester. There are also numerous online services available for teaching and learning remotely. If you need further assistance, don't hesitate to contact a librarian through online chat or email.

Faculty and students may also directly email Lauren Haberstock, Drescher Graduate Campus Librarian,  regarding any questions and assistance. 

  Faculty and Staff FAQ

Am I expected to report to work on campus?

Staff should plan to return to campus by August 2, unless their supervisor communicates they need to return sooner. This will provide staff with time to acclimate to campus and make necessary workspace adjustments before students arrive.

Can I work remotely? 

Staff eligible to regularly work remotely during any portion of their normally scheduled shift should submit a Remote Work Request (in accordance with section 16 of the University Policy Manual) and receive approvals prior to continuing remote work after July 31, 2021. Faculty members should look to their school to confirm teaching expectations for the fall term. Remote Work Requests must be in place by August 31, 2021; there is an intentional grace period built into this process.

 

How will I implement accommodations during remote classes and assessments?

  • Notes: The Office of Student Accessibility will continue to provide notetakers for classes where there is currently a notetaker. The note-takers will take notes in your online class in the same way they take notes in your face-to-face class.
  • Extended time on exams: If a student has extended time on an exam, please provide the appropriate extended time to that particular student. Some students have time and a half extended time. This means for an hour exam, they would receive an hour and one-half for the exam. Some students have double time extended time. If the rest of the class receives an hour for the exam, this student would receive two hours. If you are providing your exam on Sakai (Courses), you may work with your technology liaison to create different exam links with different time parameters. If you are planning on proctoring the exams, remember to allow students with extended time to have their additional time without disruption.
  • Other accommodations: Some accommodations may not be necessary to implement, such as word processors for essay exams, as the student will already be accommodated by using a computer.
  • Captions: Please remember that everyone benefits when videos are captioned.
  • If you have specific questions that are not answered, please contact the Office of Student Accessibility via email or by phone at 310.506.6500. They are here to support you as you provide access to your classes and exams.
  Video Conferencing

What technology do I need for my online classes? 

We want students to have the best possible experience during their online class sessions. In today's COVID‐shaped environment, technology plays an increasing role in the student's learning community experience. The guidelines below provide some parameters for ensuring your ability to participate fully. Because of local factors, these are only recommendations—additional or higher levels of tech investments may be needed in certain settings to provide an acceptable experience.

Computer Specs:

  • For PC Users: Windows 10
  • For Mac Users: OS X 10.13 or higher (10.15 preferred)
  • At least 8 GB RAM, 2.8 GHz Dual Core or faster processor
  • At least 11" screen (15" or larger preferred)—cell phones screens will not be adequate and tablets may not enable full class participation
  • Intel i5 processor or faster (or AMD equivalent‐no Chromebooks)

Internet Connection:

  • Speeds of no less than:
  • 20 mbps download, 10 mbps upload, less than 45 ms ping
  • Hardwired is preferred, but reliable Wi‐Fi can work If sharing connection with others

Needed Peripherals:

  • Internal or external webcam (any can work—Zoom limits resolution to 720p)
  • Speakers and separate microphone connected to computer (recommended)
  • Headset or headphones with mic at a minimum (again smartphones will not be enough here)

Visit the Tech Central - Information Technology page for further information. 


Can I share a Zoom session link with others?

Treat the Zoom session as a private event and share the Zoom meeting link only with the intended participants. Participants should not share the link publicly or with others who do not need to be in the meeting. Participants are also advised to not post the meeting link in social public forums. Faculty are encouraged to post the meeting link in their institutional learning management system for students to access.

How can I prevent "Zoombombing" during a Zoom session?

Some universities and school districts are reporting inappropriate and offensive activities known as Zoombombing, where unwanted participants enter the Zoom meeting room and screen-share and/or proceed to say or write very offensive things. Zoombombing can usually be prevented by following these best practices:

  • Assign screen sharing ability only to the host. In Zoom, click the upward arrowhead (^) next to Share | Advanced Sharing Options | Only Host.
  • Mute participants upon entry and disable their ability to unmute themselves. In Zoom, click Manage Participants | the "More" button and check both "Mute Participants On Entry" and "Allow participants to unmute themselves."
  • Allow participants to chat with the host only. In Zoom, click Chat | the "ellipsis" button and check "Host only."

What do I do if I experience offensive or disruptive activity during a Zoom session?

Zoombombing can happen in Zoom or any other video conferencing solution. If you experience such activities, please report the incident as soon as possible to a member of the University IT staff.

 

Community Town Halls