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Pepperdine | School of Public Policy

Top 5 Reasons an Internship Enhances a Master of Public Policy

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Participation in an internship program is a requirement for graduation at the Pepperdine School of Public Policy (SPP). Why do we stress the importance of public policy internships? Because it allows our students to take what they have learned in the classroom and apply it in the real world. Here at SPP, we understand the importance of synthesizing education with experience. Advanced degrees are worthy investments if they equip students to make tangible impacts. We can say with confidence that obtaining a master of public policy at SPP allows students to go into the world and make a difference. Internships are an essential part of that mission.

1. Interning is Where you Apply your Classroom Training

At SPP, our curriculum is designed to give our students an invaluable understanding of the American or international political systems in all its forms. Our specializations—American Policy and Politics, State and Local Policy, International Relations and National Security, Applied Economic Policy, and Public Policy and Dispute Resolution—equip our students to go into the policy area of their interests and make tangible impacts. Interning is the first step toward applying the classroom training students gain at SPP.

The internship will be of the student's choosing. You will have many options to choose from. Students pursue internships related to their area of specialization as a requirement for graduation, working in such environments as local, state, or federal government; a nonprofit agency; or an international experience in a non-US setting. After completing the internship requirement, faculty evaluate students' internship experiences and students prepare a report or case study related to their internship experience.

Students find their niche within their preferred policy sector and work towards finding solutions to the unique problems facing the industry of your choice. Through your internship, you will apply the skills that SPP equips you with to make your mark within your policy field.

2. Interning Gives You Invaluable Real-World Experience

While classroom learning is essential to your development as a policy influencer, real-world experience is invaluable to your career. You will work with experts in your preferred policy field through your internship. This will show you how policy is created firsthand. We believe this to be an excellent step for your career.

3. Interning will Expand Your Network

While working with experts in your field, you will undoubtedly make connections that will serve you throughout your career. Your internship exposes you to new people and new ideas. You will meet people who can add tremendous value to your career and personal development through this exposure. Our internship requirement will help you create the necessary relationships to begin your life after your education. 

4. Interning will Allow You to Contribute to Something You’re Passionate About

Through your internship in your policy field of choice, you will contribute to the mission of your organization or agency. By contributing to that mission, you are helping that organization achieve its goal. This contribution will add value to that organization. Further, it will allow you to narrow down what you are passionate about and how you want to impact the world after graduation. 

5. Interning is the Beginning of Your Journey in Policy

This final piece has been a latent idea within the previous points. Every point of your journey at SPP is aimed at directing you toward where you are ultimately supposed to be after completing your degree. We are confident that our classroom instruction and its application through an internship will equip you to be the policy influencer you want to be. 

SPP's mission is focused on taking a student-centered approach to the increasingly important interdisciplinary field of public policy. Pepperdine’s program is built on a distinctive philosophy that impacts public policy study and application in several important respects. One of our pillars is that solutions to public policy problems go beyond theoretical issues surveys. Instead, the application of training is the way to solve the issues facing our federal, state, and local governments, respectively. Our internship program equips you to meet these challenges and begin to make your mark in policy.

Internship wins

  • Say "yes" to internships outside your field of interest
  • Take advantage of all networking opportunities offered through your internship (if they are hosting a conference, put on business attire and bring your business cards)
  • Don't be afraid of learning new skills or giving the difficult projects a go
  • Volunteer for tasks especially in areas of your interest

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