What is Pepperdine Known For? Is Pepperdine a Good School?

Established in 1937, Pepperdine University is a private, Christian institution of higher education. The university’s campus spans 830 acres of scenic Malibu, CA, nestled among the Santa Monica Mountain foothills. 

Pepperdine’s main campus in Malibu is home to Seaver College, their undergraduate school. As of the fall of 2020, Pepperdine has a total undergraduate enrollment of 3,459 students. 

The university is made up of five separate graduate and undergraduate schools, with most graduate programs being offered at additional campuses located throughout the Southern California area.

Located at Pepperdine’s Malibu campus is the highly-esteemed Caruso School of Law and Public Policy. Additionally, two of Pepperdine’s other schools — the Graziadio Business School and the Graduate School of Education and Psychology — host some of their programs on this campus. 

Since the college was founded, Pepperdine has maintained a solid commitment to upholding the values and traditions associated with the New Testament of the Churches of Christ. 

In fact, Pepperdine requires that its students attend no less than 14 religious events each semester and take a minimum of three courses relating to religion before graduating from the school. 

It is likely that you have heard of Pepperdine University, but perhaps you would like to learn more about just why the school has earned its robust and long-standing reputation as a widely-known, distinguished institution of higher education. 

Here, we have compiled some of the most essential information to know regarding Pepperdine’s prestige, such as its most well-known academic programs, its strong sports teams, prominent clubs offered, and much more.

What Majors & Academics Are Pepperdine Known For?

Pepperdine University
Alexander Migl, Malibu Pepperdine University, CC BY-SA 4.0

Across its five constituent graduate and undergraduate schools, Pepperdine University offers 82 degree programs. Students at the school can choose from among 46 undergraduate majors and 47 minors in the areas of business and liberal arts.

At Pepperdine, more students choose to pursue a bachelor of science in business administration major than in any other undergraduate degree program. 

According to the college, an impressive 76% of Pepperdine business graduates are employed full- or part-time. An additional 16% are enrolled in a graduate program, leaving just 8% of this group of students unaccounted for. 

Part of what makes the business program at Pepperdine unique is that the school emphasizes the importance of having a solid background in the liberal arts, in addition to substantive training in business-related skills such as accounting, marketing, management, and finance. 

On top of that, Pepperdine’s business administration majors in the areas of business, international business, and accounting are required to take the Service Leadership Project course. 

Combining community service and academic study, the Project helps students develop leadership and service skills through forming consulting teams. 

These teams are intended to provide support to nonprofit organizations through the application of business theory to collaborative, student-led service projects. 

Pepperdine is also well-known for its International Studies Major program, an interdisciplinary bachelor of arts degree that blends political science, intercultural studies, and language skills. Students in this major can opt to specialize in either Global Politics or Regional Studies.

Is Pepperdine a Good School?

According to the most recent edition of the US News and World Report’s annual college rankings, Pepperdine University is ranked #49 among all colleges in the country. Thus, it is safe to say that Pepperdine is an outstanding school. 

The school has also been ranked #12 in the United States in terms of the best study abroad programs offered by universities. 

This ranking was determined by analyzing the quality and intensity of the academic workload given and the level of interaction between the student and the culture throughout the program.

Another area in which Pepperdine excels is its highly-knowledgeable, capable faculty. In 2022, the college was named the #13 best school in the country in terms of undergraduate teaching.

Further attesting to Pepperdine’s status as a stellar school is its relatively high standards for admission. 

With an acceptance rate of 42%, Pepperdine’s admissions process can be considered moderately selective, inviting only high-achieving students to be a part of their campus community.

For example, the middle 50% of students who were accepted into Pepperdine University’s first-year class of 2021 had a high school GPA between 3.69 and 3.96. 

This means that the average Pepperdine freshman earned nearly all As throughout all high school classes. 

Pepperdine Traditions

Since its founding, Pepperdine University has come to establish a number of traditions that students eagerly anticipate each year. 

One of these is Waves Weekend, a three-day event open to students, family, friends, faculty, staff, and alumni. 

Taking place each fall, Waves Weekend doubles as a homecoming celebration and family weekend, with festivities including carnival games, food trucks, alumni reunion events, a lip-sync competition, and many more. 

The annual celebration culminates with a concert at Alumni Park on Saturday night.

Adding to the excitement of the cherished Waves Weekend is Blue and Orange Madness, named for the school’s spirit colors. 

During Blue and Orange Madness, Pepperdine athletes mark the start of the women’s and men’s basketball season at the school by convening at the Firestone Fieldhouse. 

In addition to allowing players to get to know one another, the event also includes opportunities to compete for prizes. 

The most highly-contentious event during Blue and Orange Madness is, without a doubt, the half-court competition for a year’s worth of free tuition. Each participant in this contest is given 30 seconds to make as many half-court shots as they can, and the person who scores the most points wins the scholarship.

The longest-running student tradition at Pepperdine is Songfest. Dating back to the 1970s, Songfest is a musical variety show students put on each March.

In this event, groups of students are tasked with writing, producing, and performing an original, 12-minute musical to be scored by a panel of industry professionals and community members. The group that receives the highest total score takes home the coveted Songfest Sweepstakes Award.

Prominent Clubs & Extracurricular Activities at Pepperdine

Pepperdine students can choose from the more than 70 student clubs and organizations the school offers. 

One prominent type of student group at Pepperdine is Greek life. The school is home to eight sororities and five fraternities, and approximately a quarter of undergraduate students participate in one of these organizations over the course of their time at Pepperdine.

Due to Pepperdine’s strong Christian affiliation, the school also features several student-led ministry groups. Students in these groups create and develop ministries as a means of nurturing Christian faith and values within the student body. 

Pepperdine’s prominent clubs also include a number of club sports teams, such as women’s lacrosse, men’s rugby, and esports. Students who want to make the most of the college’s sunny, coastal location will be pleased to learn that surfing and beach volleyball are also offered.

What Sports Are Pepperdine Known For?

Pepperdine University is home to 17 varsity sports teams, which are known as the Pepperdine Waves. Most of the school’s athletic teams are members of the West Coast Conference of the NCAA, competing at the Division I level. 

One of Pepperdine’s strongest athletic programs is the women’s tennis team, which College Factual has ranked #5 among the 21 teams in their division. In addition to its fiercely competitive tennis team, Pepperdine is also home to a stellar women’s soccer team. 

The college has been named the #13 best college for Division I women’s soccer in 3 out of the 306 programs included in the rankings. This places the Waves within the top 5% of women’s soccer teams in the country. 

Pepperdine is also known for its men’s basketball team. In this sport, Pepperdine has claimed 12 regular-season conference championship titles and three tournament wins. Over 68 seasons, the Pepperdine Basketball Waves have appeared in a total of 13 NCAA tournaments.

Why Pepperdine?

There are many reasons students choose Pepperdine University, from its phenomenal academic program offerings to its vital athletic programs, its Christian values, its excellent reputation, and more. 

Regarding location, it is hard to find a more breathtaking locale in which to attend college than Malibu, CA. In fact, according to Expedia, Pepperdine’s is among the top 15 most beautiful college campuses out there. 

Poised right on the coastline, the school’s campus overlooks the vast Pacific Ocean, allowing students the opportunity to travel just a few minutes down the Pacific Coast Highway to relax at the beach in between classes. 

Beyond all the perks of attending school by the sea, Pepperdine also offers students small class sizes and ample opportunities to receive one-on-one attention and support from the school’s highly-esteemed instructors. 

To be precise, the student-to-faculty ratio at Pepperdine is 13:1, and there are 20 students or fewer in over 65% of classes.

Thus, for students who prefer to have classes with a more intimate, tight-knit academic environment, Pepperdine is a great choice of college.

Another reason to choose Pepperdine is that the school has proven to be effective in providing students the support they need to graduate on time. 

The four-year graduation rate at the school is 80%, meaning that the vast majority of students can earn a degree within the expected time. 

All of the above considered, Pepperdine is genuinely a fantastic college to choose.