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What Can I Do with an MPP/MDR Degree?

Students talking at table

Why get a Master of Public Policy?

A Master of Public Policy (MPP) program prepares graduate students to design and analyze policies effectively. The discipline provides a well-rounded and suited education that embodies qualitative and quantitative skills. As a multi-disciplinary education, the MPP graduate program welcomes students of various career interests and works to strengthen their skills through a curriculum rooted in first principles and quantitative policy analysis.

Undergraduate students enter the world of higher education with a set of proclivities; however, as they move through institutions, their world is expanded.

Student Leslie Rodriguez reflects on her time as an undergrad at Loyola Marymount University where she engaged in Socratic-style courses. Through those engaged discussions, she learned about the possible careers of policymakers and the importance of their work. As a first-generation Latina, Rodriguez has the goal to further develop the communities that supported her educational journey and learn how to better diplomatic relationships with countries abroad.

The Pepperdine School of Public Policy (SPP) values viewpoint diversity, similar to the Socratic style, both inside and outside the classrooms. At times the challenge of other political positions can seem overwhelming; however, the exposure allows future policymakers to engage in a more complex reasoning process, a process of understanding. SPP prides itself in providing a well-rounded and practical education with five different specializations: American Policy and Politics, International Relations and National Security, State and Local Policy, Public Policy and Dispute Resolution, and Applied Economic Policy.

Why get a Master of Dispute Resolution? 

A Master of Dispute Resolution (MDR) focuses on understanding conflict, whether a student chooses a law or non-law discipline. The MDR strengthens students' and professionals' reconciliation and conflict resolution skills—focusing on negotiation, mediation, and arbitration skills that students can apply in various disciplines and in daily life. The skills learned in an MDR program further strengthen one's ability to lead with understanding and empathy.

At the Pepperdine Caruso School of Law - Straus Institute for Dispute Resolution, students are equipped with the necessary skills to excel in the different career options that an MDR graduate degree can provide. An MDR is not limited to a legal career, as students from Straus have gone to work as business consultants, mediators, community advocates, and in international diplomacy. Straus' hands-on lectures and simulated exercises provide students with the social skills to excel in such environments.

How can an MPP and MDR work together?

The MPP/MDR joint graduate degree program strives to provide graduate students with a well-rounded set of masteries that focus on nurturing leaders with daring analytic skills and a commitment to see conflict's ethical and human components. The skills learned as a scholar of these two programs prepare one for careers as problem solvers, strategists, researchers, advocates, and domestic or international communicators. The joint degrees and other variables open multiple doors by maximizing the possibilities for careers and contributing to overall professional development through policy and legal academia. The art of policymaking and dispute resolution is needed and sought out by many public and private sectors.

In Rodriguez's experience, the joint degrees complemented each other. Students will find that a challenging topic being discussed at SPP carries conflict characteristics discussed in their MDR program. Additionally, students like Rodriguez, who specializes in International Relations and National Security, students will find that regional conflicts are a point of discussion in both the MPP and MDR programs.

Students with the MPP/MDR joint degree can speak on their amplified skills from each program when interviewing for employment. In our connected world, understanding policy making and conflict resolution positions students in competitive stages of leadership roles.

What is the expected salary range?

The MPP/MDR are graduate-level professional degrees that prepare leaders for a wide array of careers through an education that mirrors the skills often sought out by employers of these fields. Employees supplement their education with previous work experience, organizational participation, and leadership positions for eligibility of desired salaries.

An MPP graduate can expect a 31% increase in their salary, which translates to earning $20,000 more than an individual with a bachelor's degree. At the lowest amount, a graduate with an MPP can receive a salary of $45,000, with the higher end at $120,000.

An MDR graduate's average salary is $60,000, with the higher end as $100,000, with San Francisco, Santa Clara, and Los Angeles being the top city earners.

What are the top 5 jobs I can get with an MPP/MDR?

  • Common in-demand positions requiring ADR skills are:
  • Labor relations

  • International relations staffer

  • Mediation/arbitration case manager

  • Ombudsman

  • Policy consultant/negotiator 

What are the core classes for an MPP and MDR?

One of the advantages of a joint degree program is the school's careful planning to complete all core courses for the program in a shorter time. In the joint MPP/MDR degree program a student is required to complete a total of 58 credit units compared to the 82 credit units if degrees are sought out separately. Additionally, students can complete both degrees in a period of two to two-and-a-half years—far less than if degrees are sought out separately. The core courses for each degree are as follows:

MPP Core Classes

  • Applied Economic Analysis of Public Policy I (Microeconomics)

  • Applied Economic Analysis of Public Policy II (Macroeconomics) 

  • Applied Research Methods in Public Policy (Statistics)

  • Ethical Dimensions of Public Policy: Great Books and Great Ideas 

  • The Roots of American Order: What is Public Policy?

  • Policy Internship

  • Policy Seminar (Capstone)

  • Political, Organizational, and Strategic Aspects of Public Policy Analysis

  • Professional Development 

MDR Core Classes

  • Arbitration or International Arbitration 

  • Cross Cultural Negotiation and Dispute Resolution 

  • Dispute Resolution Externship 

  • Introduction to US Law

  • Mediation Theory and Practice 

  • Negotiation Theory and Practice 

  • Psychology of Conflict Communication

  • Two 2 Unit Qualifying Externships