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MPP vs. MPA Degree Comparison

Why Choose a Master of Public Policy

The Pepperdine Master of Public Policy (MPP) degree is a multi-disciplinary, liberal arts program that is both a terminal degree preparing you for a successful professional career and/or serves as a bridge to a range of doctoral programs, including economics, political science, and public policy. Compared to other social science master's degree programs, the MPP is simultaneously broad and specific, professional and academic, and practical and theoretical.

Liberal Arts
Prepares for
PhD Studies
Master of Public Policy (MPP)
 X X
Master of Public Administration
Master of Political Science         X
Master of Arts in Liberal Studies  
   X X
Master of Economics         X
Master of Social Sciences        X X

What's the Difference Between an MPP and an MPA?

A Master of Public Administration (MPA) prepares administrators while the Pepperdine MPP prepares leaders. Just as all squares are rectangles, but rectangles are not squares, all Pepperdine MPP graduates can successfully function as public administrators, but not all MPA graduates could achieve the policy leadership successes of someone with a Pepperdine MPP.

Select MPP Fields of Study:

  • American Politics and Public Policy
  • Budget and Public Finance
  • Public Engagement as a Leadership Skill
  • Economic Policy & Philosophy
  • Education Policy
  • Environmental Policy
  • Health Policy
  • International Development Policy
  • International Relations
  • National Security and Foreign Policy
  • Nonprofit Management
  • Program Evaluation and Analysis
  • Regulatory Policy
  • Social Policy
  • State and Local Policy
  • Urban Policy

MPP vs . . .

  • Master of Political Science (MPS): the Master of Political Science is the technically empirical study of political science modeling and research meant to serve as an educational vehicle to higher studies. It is not the study of politics, nor commonly a terminal degree. The Pepperdine MPP, itself a terminal degree, uniquely prepares students with both the empirical and political skills to pursue a PhD in political science, if interested.
  • Master of Arts in Liberal Studies (MALS): this interdisciplinary degree pulls from a host of the social, natural, and behavioral sciences providing an overview of issues and concepts; yet, unlike the Pepperdine MPP, it is rarely a terminal degree, nor one that can provide deep analytical reasoning to prepare for professional life and leadership.
  • Master of Social Sciences (MaSS): a purely research degree offered by a few major research universities, this program is designed to serve as a bridge between a student's bachelor and doctoral studies. The Pepperdine MPP also uniquely prepares students for doctoral studies, while also providing the leadership and critical thinking skills to succeed in the professional arena.
  • Master of Economics (MEcon): Rarely a terminal degree and a technically empirical bridge between ones undergraduate and PhD studies, the MEcon is an intensive study of economic theory and econometrics. The Pepperdine MPP's Applied Economic Policy specialization provides a strong foundation for those wishing to pursue their PhD in economics.