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School of Public Policy Implements New Career-Focused Curriculum

The School of Public Policy (SPP) has announced a revised curriculum for the Master of Public Policy degree program effective Fall 2017. The curriculum changes were proposed to better balance the learning that occurs both inside and outside the classroom, and to increase the opportunities for students to engage in professional development during the two-year degree program. There are other elements of the revised curriculum, which are intended to provide greater programmatic flexibility to students.

While the total number of courses required for graduation remains the same, and the School’s distinctive James Q. Wilson Core Curriculum will remain intact, the current four-unit course model has been modified to a three-unit course basis as the framework for the academic program. With that, there will be an overall decrease in semester units from 64 to 50. In addition, a professional development requirement has been created to ensure student participation in the co-curricular programs of the School; and the former summer internship requirement has been reorganized to allow students to pursue professional activities during the semester that will facilitate possible larger-scale student involvement during the academic year in addition to summers. Finally, there have been changes within the specialization requirement that allow students to take more courses within their area of specialization (American Politics, Economics, International Relations and National Security, and State and Local Policy). This modification will enable students more free electives to pursue their interests and it creates the opportunity for the creation of additional specialization options in the future.

The new curriculum design also allows a realigned tuition structure, making the program even more competitive with the nation's top policy programs. The more affordable tuition will better able students to pursue a wider range of career paths upon graduation.

“Public policy as a discipline is changing rapidly,” associate dean Michael Shires explains, “and the new curriculum positions Pepperdine to remain among the leading schools in equipping today’s leaders in a chaotic policy environment.”

The changes were developed with the goal of best preparing students for careers in public service, making the program more competitive nationally and to increase the flexibility students have to access opportunities to practice their public policy in professional settings.

As the School is in its 20th anniversary year, the curriculum changes are a momentous event in its history, and will continue to propel the Pepperdine School of Public Policy as America’s unique graduate policy program.