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What is an MPP Salary?

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The job and salary opportunities provided by a master of public policy (MPP) are vast and distinctively unique to a prospective student's choice of an MPP and their career plans. While individuals who choose masters of government service (oftentimes referred to as a master of public administration) are often limited to public sector work, a master of public policy provides individuals with the opportunity to pursue not only government roles, but also positions in the private sector and non-profit fields, providing access to a wider array of salary options.

The multi-disciplinary, cross-sector job opportunities provided by Pepperdine's master of public policy program are diverse, as are the salary options granted by these roles. The unique combination of specializations and curriculum specific to the School of Public Policy allow students to ascertain a well-rounded background that is extremely desirable to future employers. Students graduate with in-depth knowledge in the creation of policy, but also philosophy, economics, statistical analysis, academic research, and grant writing. Students are also required to enroll in a 240-hour internship credit and engage in a professional development course. Eventually, students finish their degree with a cumulative capstone research study on a topic of the student's choice. Together, all of these distinct areas of study allow alumni to ascertain a more well-rounded education and appear more marketable to future employers.

It is important to remember that all of the subsequently discussed salaries are extremely fluid, as each pay rate depends on a candidate's background, work experience, levels of education, and job responsibilities.

On average, 33 percent of master of public policy and administration graduates earn at least $55,000 in their first job after graduation, compared to 16 percent of individuals earning such a salary prior to entering their graduate school program.

Salary data below drawn from Linkedin and GlassDoor research (November 2021). Listed positions can require varying degrees of experience, but either require or prefer a graduate policy degree.

Public Sector/Government Jobs Salaries

Pepperdine School of Public Policy graduates are granted an invaluable advantage in the hiring process for government and public sector jobs due to the numerous training seminars and programs provided through campus events, specifically headlined by the Davenport Institute for Public Engagement and Civic Leadership. This Institute specializes in thought leadership by providing training opportunities in public engagement and a platform that convenes public leadership partners for local government discussions. Though based in Southern California, Washington, DC remains our second-largest alumni chapter (SoCal is first), and we have many alumni working on Capitol Hill, federal agencies, and DC-based nonprofits. Some examples of public sector and government job salaries that Pepperdine MPP recipients could find themselves receiving include:

  • Policy analyst with a federal agency - Posted/example salary: $100,000
  • California city manager - Posted/example salary: $173,000
  • California deputy county manager - Posted/example salary: $113,000
  • Corporate policy officer with federal intel agency - Posted/example salary: $93,000
  • California county public health program specialist - Posted/example salary: $88,000
  • New York City director of data analytics - Posted/example salary: $94,000
  • California city community engagement director - Posted/example salary $65,000

Nonprofit Job Salaries

School of Public Policy alumni also have the unique opportunity to pursue jobs in the nonprofit and private sector. These jobs are extremely vast and provide students with the chance to work in a litany of globally-recognized companies and nonprofit organizations. Some of these potential nonprofit salary opportunities for students are listed as follows:

  • Hospital association program manager - Posted/example salary: $75,000
  • University communications directory - Posted/example salary: $73,000
  • Environmental firm policy advocate - Posted/example salary: $43,000
  • Public waste firm policy manager - Posted/example salary: $110,000
  • Community services director of program support - Posted/example salary: $57,000
  • Childhood advocacy group policy manager - Posted/example salary: $130,000
  • Health research firms policy officers - Posted/example salary: $46,000
  • Advocacy groups policy coordinator - Posted/example salary: $52,000
  • Think tank policy research fellow - Posted/example salary $97,000

Private-Sector Salaries

Graduates are also granted the chance to work for jobs in the private sector, where companies prefer the holistic backgrounds ascertained by alumni of Pepperdine's master of public policy program. A few examples of salaries and jobs in the private sector that might be offered are as follows:

  • Amazon Web Services, econ. policy and regulation - Posted/example salary: $110,000
  • Etsy, public policy analyst - Posted/example salary: $50,000
  • Microsoft, government affairs director - Posted/example salary: $75,000
  • Ring, manager of public policy - Posted/example salary: $110,000
  • Humana, state public policy director - Posted/example salary: $40,000
  • National Journal, public policy analyst - Posted/example salary: $50,000
  • Starship Technologies, director of government affairs - Posted/example salary: $60,000
  • The Mitre Company, government relations lead - Posted/example salary: $110,000
  • Guidehouse, public policy senior consultant - Posted/example salary: $75,000
  • Uber, manager of regulatory affairs - Posted/example salary: $97,000
  • Vero Bank, head of public policy - Posted/example salary: $92,000

How can graduates find these jobs?

Graduates are provided numerous connections and opportunities through the Pepperdine School of Public Policy alumni network to find jobs. Pepperdine provides access to a School of Public Policy job board for all policy-related careers and also grants students access to a continually updating student/alum LinkedIn page. Relationships with faculty, staff, and our 1,000+ alumni from the School are also invaluable. Our small class sizes enable personal connections to be made between all staff and students, and our dedicated Mentor Collective program connects our alums with current students to offer academic and career advice. There are a number of job boards that list available opportunities for graduates, including publicservicecareers.org, usajobs.govidealist.org, and LinkedIn.