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Pepperdine | School of Public Policy

What’s the Best Degree to Prepare You for Public Office?

Naron and Marina - Pepperdine School of Public Policy Students

What's the Best Degree to Prepare You for Public Office?

A master of public policy (MPP) is an important prerequisite to a career in the public sector. It is a revered professional degree that develops students' skills in policy analysis and program evaluation at public policy schools. MPP programs teach students to approach issues related to public policy and decision processes associated with them through a systematic analysis. The skills refined in an MPP set students up for a robust career in public office. In order to be eligible for an MPP program, students need to complete an undergraduate degree. At universities around the country, there are several undergraduate courses offered that can complement what is taught in a master's in public policy program and pave a strong path toward a career in the public sector. Keep reading to learn how each program can set you up with the skills needed to get a job in politics.

Political Science

Political science majors learn how to analyze politics, governments, and the governing process. This field of study is an asset to building a career in the public sector. Students will learn to integrate theoretical work with practical and experiential learning by developing key skills in analysis, contextualization, critical thinking, and maintaining a balanced perspective. A bachelor of science in political science can also refine students' skills in public speaking and how to disseminate their ideas with a clear purpose and direction to the public.


The skills developed in a bachelor of science in economics program complement what is taught in an MPP. In this program, students learn how to apply deductive reasoning to analyze, question, and explain how humans interact with each other in a dynamic world. By understanding theoretical models behind how the economy functions, students can have a better idea of what makes effective public policy and how economic and social factors weigh in on public decision making and policy formation. A bachelors degree in economics will also hone students' skills in public speaking, writing, and research.

Business Administration

A bachelor of science in business administration degree program trains students in the core skill areas of accounting, finance, management, and marketing. Students will develop a thorough understanding of how to be an effective and successful leader as well as learn problem-solving and decision-making skills, which are an asset to a career in the public sector. Students can take what they learn about finance and apply this to public policy and the economy at large.


Studies in communication foster students' abilities to synthesize information and disseminate it to the general public effectively, build strong relationships with others, and develop an understanding of communication systems in order to foster justice. Students will learn how to collect, analyze, evaluate, and interpret messages as well as practice ethical communication. A bachelor of arts in communication is an excellent segue into a career in the public sector as the skills learned can be utilized effectively in a master of public policy.

International Business

A bachelor of science in international business teaches students all about the global economy, which is an asset to a career in the public sector. By understanding economic factors, students can learn how to analyze good public policy and possible economic ramifications of implemented decisions. As part of the program, students are given an opportunity to complete some educational work abroad, offering them the chance to strengthen their international perspective and build new connections. By understanding how other economies work, students can enter the MPP program equipped with a deeper insight into navigating good public policy.


Graduates of a bachelor of arts in history program can effectively utilize their ability to think constructively about present day issues by drawing connections to the past. In the program, students develop core skills of analytical reasoning, researching, and disseminating ideas through oral and written communication. By learning complex factors that have produced past civilizations as well as the present century, students can take this knowledge and apply it to learning how to be an effective leader in the public sector.

Public Relations

A bachelors of arts in public relations program educates students on how to write, plan, and build positive relationships between organizations and the public. Ethics plays a large role in the program and students are taught how to become a responsible communicator. The degree sharpens a student's communication skills, which is a valuable and necessary skill for a career in the public sector where they will need to uphold diplomacy.

Master of Public Policy

After graduating from an undergraduate program, students can further their studies in the concentrated field of public policy by enrolling in a master of public policy program. In an MPP program, students can develop essential skills required for a career in the public sector; the degree focuses on refining students' understanding of a systematic approach to issues related to public policy and the decision processes that contribute to them. This includes learning more about how economic and political factors weigh in on public decision making and policy formation.

At Pepperdine School of Public Policy (SPP), there are five specializations within the master of public policy program. Students can select from American Policy and Politics; international relations and national security; applied economic policy; public policy and dispute resolution; and state and local policy. Pepperdine University's graduate policy school seeks to humanize politics and policymaking by shaping prospective public leaders with a "moral sense." The MPP program not only educates but inspires future leaders of integrity.

Earn Your MPP Degree at Pepperdine School of Public Policy

Pepperdine University offers comprehensive undergraduate programs as well as an MPP degree to help students enter careers in politics. The School of Public Policy is located right in the heart of beautiful Malibu, California, steeped in Christian heritage and rich in diversity. Our programs are geared to help you reach high levels of academia with the support of experienced and educated faculty. At SPP, we not only nurture your career aspirations but seek to create a studious environment where you can build close-knit relationships with other like minded individuals. Being a Christian University, we offer students an abundance of opportunities for spiritual and intellectual exploration. Learn more about our MPP program and start your application today. If you are a non-US resident, please review our admission instructions for international students.