Is an Online Master of Public Policy Right For Me?

policy review
policy review

From Capitol Hill to the nonprofit sector and corporations to local governments, all corners of society benefit from servant leaders in public policy. Professionals with strong interpersonal skills, the capacity to create change, and a collaborative spirit can make important decisions and drive transformation in ways that create positive outcomes for many others.

One of the ways these leaders create and enact change is through designing and implementing effective policies. The online Master of Public Policy and Leadership (MPPL) program from Pepperdine University’s School of Public Policy (SPP) equips servant leaders who are ready to evaluate the needs of others and work on their behalf to meet those needs in meaningful ways.

But can an online degree program really prepare strong, capable leaders? The answer is an emphatic “yes!” In fact, online learning features several unique, key benefits.

What Is Online Learning?

In short, online learning simply refers to education that is conducted on the internet. Online learning typically takes place through virtual courses that are akin to webinars, virtual learning platforms that facilitate instructor-student and student-to-student interactions, and digital assignments.

While online learning programs have existed for quite some time, the COVID-19 pandemic accelerated their growth exponentially . In the fall of 2019, higher education institutions affiliated with the State Authorization Reciprocity Agreement reported more than three million distance education (another name for online learning) students. By fall 2020, that number had surged beyond 5.8 million.

Online learning is here to stay, offering students an educational experience with five distinctive advantages.

Classroom lecture on policy

Advantages of Online Learning for Change-Oriented Leaders

From building a national professional network to flexibility, an online master’s degree empowers working professionals to further their education and get closer to their career goals. Consider five of the many benefits available to learners in the online Master of Public Policy and Leadership program.

Immediately Applicable Coursework

Many online learning programs, including the online Master of Public Policy and Leadership from the Pepperdine School of Public Policy, are designed for working professionals. Students who work full- or part-time can fit their coursework around their professional and personal commitments—studying during early mornings, during lunch breaks, evenings, or weekends.

The flexibility of online learning also helps students to remain committed to their families, friends, and career. By working with students’ unique schedules, online learning empowers students to grow their leadership skills from within their existing personal and professional environments, creating greater continuity between their present lives and future leadership aspirations. For students maintaining their work schedule, online learning provides an opportunity to immediately apply what they are learning to make an even bigger impact on causes and communities they are currently serving.

Digital Collaboration with Classmates Across the Globe

Much of the communication and collaboration that occurs in the workplace today happens virtually. Whether by email, Zoom, or a workspace platform, professionals spend much of their time interacting with their causes, clients, colleagues, and collaborators via digital means.

Online learning helps students to build those real-world, digital communication, and collaboration skills. Students in an online Master of Public Policy and Leadership program participate in group projects with classmates across the country, learn how to communicate effectively in writing, and take part in virtually-facilitated dialogue and conversation.

Through each online assignment students not only learn the curriculum, but they also practice the collaboration and communication skills needed to put that curricular knowledge to use—in the virtual classroom and their career. In working with others who have diverse viewpoints and geographical locations, online students have a unique opportunity to critically think about their own beliefs and examine public policy and approaches to leadership in fresh, creative ways.


Some students find that they learn best by reading on their own. Others like to listen to audio but feel distracted by video content, while still others can remember content shared through video almost word for word. Online learning allows students to focus on the materials that work best for them.

Those who can read quickly and with great comprehension can do so, then take their time with audio/visual content—rewinding and rewatching as necessary. Those who can quickly digest audio-visual content delivery but need more time to write can efficiently move through their video materials while setting aside a greater allotment of time for discussion board posts.

By enrolling in an online program like the online Master of Public Policy and Leadership degree from the Pepperdine School of Public Policy, students can set themselves up for success in a self-paced learning environment.

A National Network of Fellow Leaders

Selecting a program that is innovative, current, and engaging will help online students make the most of their experience in the classroom and throughout their careers. The Pepperdine School of Public Policy incorporates emerging technologies and community engagement so that graduates are connected and prepared to lead in private, nonprofit, and government sectors.

The online Master of Public Policy and Leadership program has a cross-sector emphasis. Three specializations and the core curriculum are offered as graduate certificate options that can be combined/stacked for the full master’s degree. Students connect with current policy challenges and an influential network of leaders in coursework that offers multiple certificate options including:

These stackable certificates allow students to customize their coursework, but also learn with—and from— fellow students who may have differing professional experience, opinions, and interests. In a world more connected than ever, the digital connections of fellow students and professors may not only expand their professional network but could have career benefits in the short or long term.

Time Management

Hand-in-hand with the benefits of flexibility and self-pacing is the opportunity online learning provides for bettering one’s time management skills. Students who study online have more control over their schedules, which means they have to prioritize organization and block out time for classwork, studying, and interacting with professors and fellow students.

This is an especially appealing benefit for students who want to enhance their leadership skills in policy development—whether in government, the philanthropic field, or the private sector. Such leaders have to determine which objectives, tasks, and meetings are most important and determine how to make them happen. The time management skills that are built through online learning will provide those leaders with the momentum they need to continue setting and achieving good priorities in the workplace.

business metting

Experience the Benefits of an Online Degree with a Pepperdine University Master of Public Policy and Leadership

Do you want to affect change for the good of others? Are you interested in putting the “public” back in “public policy” through sustainable solutions and servant leadership? If so, the online Master of Public Policy and Leadership at the Pepperdine School of Public Policy is a great fit for you.

Created for compatibility with the schedules of working professionals the online MPPL features all of the benefits reviewed in this post. The 33 credit-hour program is built around an innovative stacked certificate model that takes just two years to complete. It incorporates the latest online tools and technologies to equip current and future leaders who are ready to work for the public good. With three intakes per year, 100% online coursework, and four certificate options, the online MPPL is designed to work for you.

Find out how the online Master of Public Policy and Leadership degree from the Pepperdine School of Public Policy can elevate your career!

Interested in studying on-campus? Learn more about the on-ground Master of Public Policy program we offer at our Malibu campus.