Internationalization Models

Campus Model of Internationalization: Pepperdine University

(A Case Study by Kelly Copeland, Spring 2005)


Pepperdine University is an independent Christian university enrolling over 8,000 students in its five colleges and schools:  Seaver College, the School of Law, the Graduate School of Education and Psychology (GSEP), the Graziadio School of Business and Management (GSBM), and the School of Public Policy (SPP).  Founded in 1937, the school is religiously affiliated with the Churches of Christ.  Pepperdine is located in Malibu, California and at six graduate campuses in Southern California (West Los Angeles, Irvine, Long Beach, Encino, Westlake Village, and Pasadena).  Pepperdine also has six international campuses in Heidelberg, Germany; London, United Kingdom; Buenos Aires, Argentina; Lyon, France; Florence, Italy; and Hong Kong. 


Mission, Goals, and Vision

While internationalization is not mentioned in Pepperdine’s Mission Statement, it still plays a significant role at the University and has come up in two of President Andrew Benton’s key addresses.  First, in his inaugural address in 2000, Benton explained his vision for the University including five challenges, the second of which is strengthening the diversity of the University.  Elements of this challenge, as he explained it, include “reflecting what is good and exciting about Los Angeles, including its diversity,” as well as “providing a broad cultural and international experience for each student.”  Specifically he mentioned increasing participation in study abroad and increasing the numbers of international students.[1]  In his 2004 Founder’s Day address, Benton shared seven dreams he has for the future of Pepperdine, the third of which is increasing the University’s international presence.  He mentioned creating a more expansive international programs, especially in the Pacific Rim, to “prepare students, undergraduate and graduate, to contribute on the world stage, working with governments and multinational corporations to make the world a better place.”[2]

Additionally, internationalization is mentioned in GSBM’s mission statement

The mission of the George L. Graziadio School of Business and Management is to develop values-centered leaders for contemporary business practice through education that is entrepreneurial in spirit, ethical in focus, and global in orientation…[3]

Finally, it is also mentioned in SPP’s Academic Catalog as their Leadership Challenge:

It is the goal of Pepperdine’s School of Public Policy to comprehend, address, and in some instances influence the world’s crucial public policy questions with well-educated practitioners, analysts, and leaders. Through forums, conferences, and international faculty exchanges, the school will engage professionals from other nations to share foreign policy ideas with Malibu-based students and faculty. It also will welcome the challenge of more broadly educating these international practitioners in United States policies.

With its strategic location on the Pacific Rim, Pepperdine is positioned to stage timely and vital seminars on such subjects as foreign trade, economic development, and social and environmental issues for executives from agencies around the world.[4]

Though internationalization efforts are largely based at the individual school-level, they are evident in the faculty and curriculum, through study abroad programs, in the support for international students, and in additional initiatives. 

Faculty, Curriculum, and Student Life

Internationalization efforts at Pepperdine are also evident in the faculty’s international experience; the curriculum, languages, and degree programs offered; and in the student life to varying degrees in each school.

The Faculty

To a large degree, the Pepperdine faculty has international experience.  Of the 377 current Pepperdine full-time teaching faculty members, 60% have international teaching experience![5]  And the University’s faculty has included seven Fulbright scholars.[6]  The University helps promote the internationalization of its faculty with efforts including:

  • Seaver faculty members with tenure are encouraged to participate in Seaver’s International Programs as the Visiting Faculty in academic year programs or as Directors of summer special interest programs.[7]
  • The GSBM faculty is also encouraged to participate in their one-week study tours abroad as either Lead or Support Faculty.  Two faculty members go on each trip.  This promotes networking by allowing them to make contacts at the partner university as well as allowing them to do research in a new culture and environment.  GSBM does not give preference to faculty with international experience when determining who will go on the study tours, thereby promoting the internationalization of their faculty.
  • SPP engages in international faculty exchanges as well as organizes forums and conferences so that international professional can share their foreign policy ideas with SPP students and faculty.[8]

Seaver College Curriculum

Seaver College is a residential college of letters, arts, and sciences with approximately 3,000 undergraduate and graduate students offering bachelor’s degrees in 37 fields of study and master’s degrees in six.[9] 

  • The college offers both majors and minors in Spanish, French, and German; as well as majors in International Studies and International Business and a minor in Italian. 
  • Seaver offers language courses in Spanish, French, German, Italian, Mandarin Chinese, Japanese, Greek, Hebrew, and Russian (in the Russia study abroad program). 
  • The undergraduate General Education (GE) Program requires students to take one upper-division course on a Non-Western Culture (the history, culture, and/or religion of Asia, pre-colonial Africa or Latin America, or Islamic studies) and to reach the equivalent competency of three college semesters in a Foreign Language. 
  • One of the leaders in internationalization efforts at Seaver College is the International Studies and Languages Division (ISL) which is one of Seaver’s eight academic divisions. 

The mission of the International Studies and Languages Division is to introduce students to other cultures, languages, and ways of understanding the world so that they will interact and serve effectively, guided by God's call to justice and mercy.[10] 

ISL is comprised of the International Studies major, Modern Languages, and the Institute for the Study of Asian Cultures

    • The International Studies (INTS) major requires students to take courses in international politics, economics, and communication.  Students may specialize in one of seven functional or regional areas (Economic Studies, Political Studies, International Management Studies, International/ Intercultural Communication Studies, Asian Studies, European Studies, and Latin American Studies).  International Studies majors must also establish competency (the equivalent of two years of university level language courses) in two languages, or complete two upper-division courses in one language.  They are strongly encouraged to study abroad.[11]
    • Modern Languages offers courses in language acquisition, linguistics, rhetoric, literature, and culture.  Students may major or minor in Spanish, French, and German, or minor in Italian.  All majors are required to study abroad or to have a similar intensive language experience. 
    • The Institute for the Study of Asian Cultures (ISAC) offers courses in Asian literature, history, and traditions, as well as language courses in Mandarin Chinese and Japanese.  ISAC houses a library on East Asia, grants scholarships, and overseas the Asian specialization of the INTS major.[12]

Graziadio School of Business and Management Curriculum

The Graziadio School of Business and Management (GSBM) is the nation’s fifth largest graduate business school accredited by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB International) enrolling approximately 2,400 students in its full- and part-time programs for undergraduate and graduate students offering one bachelors degree, three master’s degrees, and three joint degree programs.[13]  In particular, GSBM offers an International Master of Business Administration (IMBA) degree, as well as a Global Business concentration for fully-employed graduates of the Bachelor of Science in Management (BSM) Program. 

  • GSBM offers language courses in French, German, and Spanish.  Students may study Mandarin Chinese through Seaver College.[14]
  • The International Master of Business Administration (IMBA) for full-time students is a two year program in which students spend their first year taking business courses and intensive language training (in French, German, or Spanish); and then spend their second year studying business abroad at one of GSBM’s partner universities and completing an international internship while there.  Many of the partner universities offer the students the option of extending their time abroad through the summer semester to earn a second MBA degree from the partner university.[15]
  • GSBM also offers a Master of Business Administration with a concentration in Global Business for fully-employed graduates of their Bachelor of Science in Management (BSM) Program. 

Graduate School of Education and Psychology Curriculum

The Graduate School of Education and Psychology (GSEP) enrolls approximately 1,850 students and offers ten master’s and doctoral programs in education and psychology as well as teaching and administrative credentials.[16]

School of Law Curriculum

The School of Law enrolls about 670 full-time students and offers seven different degree or joint degree programs, including the LL.M. in dispute resolution administered by its internationally acclaimed Straus Institute for Dispute Resolution.[17]

School of Public Policy Curriculum

The School of Public Policy (SPP) enrolls almost 100 students and offers a Master of Public Policy (MPP) degree as well as three joint degree programs.  The Davenport Institute is the research and special program division of SPP dedicated to addressing current issues through major conferences, seminars, and published research.[18] 

Student Life

Seaver has many international and ethnic student organizations such as the African Alliance, Amnesty International, Armenian Student Organization, Asian Student Association, Black Student Union, Cultural Italian American Organization, Habitat for Humanity, Hawaii Club, International Justice Mission, Latino Student Association, Pepperdine International Club, and the Real Estate International Society; and GSBM holds various student-organized cultural celebrations throughout the year.[19]

Study Abroad

The Institute of International Education ranked Pepperdine 5th in the nation of doctoral/research institutions for undergraduate participation in study abroad with an amazing 53.5% for the 2002-2003 academic year.[20]  Pepperdine began its first study abroad program in Heidelberg, Germany in 1963 through Seaver College.[21]  Since then each of the five schools has taken their own unique approach to study abroad.

Seaver College Study Abroad

Seaver’s International Programs have over twenty different programs, including:

  • Academic Year programs in Heidelberg, Germany; London, United Kingdom; Buenos Aires, Argentina; Lyon, France; Florence, Italy; and Hong Kong.
    • Seaver’s academic year International Programs have an extremely high participation rate (234 of the college’s 2,999 total students are studying abroad in one of these programs this Spring 2005 semester[22]), partly because they are such an integral and well-know part of the College.  The programs are designed mainly for sophomores to complete their GE requirements.  The students take Pepperdine courses from Pepperdine and local instructors. 
      • In the Florence, Heidelberg, and London programs, students both live and go to classes on Pepperdine property. 
      • The Lyon and Buenos Aires programs are both homestay programs, so the students have the opportunity to live with a local family and practice their language skills with them. 
      • In the Buenos Aires, Lyon, and Hong Kong programs, students take Pepperdine courses from both Pepperdine and local faculty at a local university.
    • The Florence, Heidelberg, Buenos Aires, and Lyon programs all require students to complete one semester of the language before departure.
  • Affiliated University programs for a semester or year of study with the University of Queensland (Brisbane, Australia), Sophia University (Tokyo, Japan), and the University of Nebrija (Madrid, Spain). 
    • In these programs, the students take university courses with the local students.  In Tokyo, students may take courses that are taught in Japanese if there are proficient in the language, otherwise there are may course offerings in English as well.  In Madrid, all the courses are in Spanish, so students must be proficient in Spanish to participate in the program.
    • The Tokyo and Madrid students are required to live in homestays, thus giving them even more interaction with the local culture.
    • The Tokyo program is offered through the service provider Council on International Education Exchange (CIEE).
  • Summer Special Interest programs such as language programs (Spanish in Madrid or Buenos Aires and French in Lyon), service learning programs (Thailand, Africa, or Honduras Medical Mission), an internship program (London), business programs (London, Japan, or Hong Kong), art programs (SACI art school in Florence; Music in Heidelberg, London, or Florence; and Theatre in London and Edinburgh), tropical ecology and biology programs (Costa Rica), a biblical sites program (Egypt, Turkey, Greece, Italy, and Israel when permitted), and a program in Russia.[23] 
    • These programs vary in format from travel tours led by a Pepperdine Faculty Director who teaches the courses (such as the Biblical Sites, Tropical Ecology and Biology, and Asian Business programs), to programs in which students enroll at a local university with other local and international students (such as the SACI art program).
  • Seaver students majoring in Spanish, French, German or International Business are required to study abroad (or to have an equivalent intensive experience in their language of study).

Seaver also offers its students a Washington D.C. Internship Program which gives students the opportunity to intern full time at an organization of their choice (several of which are international in focus) as well as to take courses at Catholic University.  A limited number of Catholic University students are in turn allowed to study in Seaver’s International Programs.[24]

GSBM Study Abroad

GSBM offers its students several different Global Programs for study abroad for credit that help give their students the “international perspective necessary for succeeding in the global marketplace,”[25] including:

  • Full-time International MBA (IMBA) students are required to spend their second year abroad studying at one of the prestigious partner universities in France, Germany, Mexico, Argentina, Costa Rica, or Chile taking courses in the local language and completing an internship.[26]
  • Full-Time MBA students are eligible for an optional Fall trimester at one of sixteen partner universities where they are integrated into the university’s graduate business program and student body taking courses in English or the local language.  Programs are in Europe (Belgium, Denmark, the United Kingdom, France, Germany, the Netherlands, Spain, and Switzerland), Brazil, and Asia (Hong Kong, China, Philippines, Thailand, and soon South Korea also).[27] 
  • MBA, IMBA, and BSM students and alumni (whether full-time or fully-employed) may also participate in week-long study tours in Global Enterprise Management for elective credit led by a Pepperdine faculty member in Europe (the United Kingdom, Belgium, France, Germany), Hong Kong, or Latin America (Argentina, Mexico, and soon Chile also).  These study tours are mainly offered during April and December when students have breaks between semesters to facilitate their participation.  Approximately 10% of GSBM students participate in these week-long study tours annually.[28]

To encourage full-time MBA students to participate in their Global Programs, GSBM puts on an annual International Fair during orientation with tables for each of their partner universities staffed by exchange students who disseminate information about their home universities.[29]

School of Law Study Abroad

  • The School of Law offers a fall semester and summer session in London where students may study international and comparative law from two full-time Pepperdine professors as well as local adjunct professors.  The program was approved by the American Bar Association and began in 1981.  In Fall 2003, 51 of the 778 students were enrolled in the London program.[30]

GSEP Study Abroad

  • GSEP’s Ed.D. in Organizational Change program is a series of twelve, eight-day seminar-style sessions to learn to lead strategic change in organizations.  The sessions take place at various different national and international locations including the University of Monterrey in Mexico.  During the third year of this five year program, students participate in an International Experience and a Change Project.[35] 
  • GSEP’s Ed.D. in Organizational Leadership requires an International Policy Experience course in which students visit an international location and examine organizations there and compare the with the those in the US.  Past locations have included Mexico and Costa Rica.[36]

Support for International Students

Pepperdine ranks consistently in the top 30 for their percentage of undergraduate international students.[37]  Pepperdine is home to more than 350 international students from more than 69 countries around the world.  Of the total Pepperdine student population, 4.63% are international students (defined as a student who is not a citizen or permanent resident of the United States).  These students are divided between the five schools as follows: 6.5% at Seaver; 5.08% at GSBM; 2.43% at GSEP; 1.03% at the School of Law; and 5.81% at SPP.[38]  Of the Seaver international students, 52% are from Asia, 26% are from Europe, 9% are from Africa or the Middle East, 6% are from Latin America, 4% are from North America, and 3% are from Australia or the Pacific Islands.[39]

Office of International Student Services

The Office of International Student Services (OISS) is Pepperdine’s central office for international students which began in 1955 when they were certified to issue I-20s for Pepperdine’s international students.  The office provides information and counseling to international students on matters such immigration, visas, work permits, and on-campus employment.  OISS offers annual seminars on immigration, taxes, and other legal issues.  In addition, OISS performs special functions for Seaver College such as:

  • Recruiting internationally for Seaver College
  • Putting on Seaver’s International Student Orientation twice annually
  • Helping Seaver international students with admission, foreign credentials evaluation, course registration, and financial issues. 

OISS also does programming to increase the interaction between international and domestic students and faculty including the international student carnival, the international student soccer tournament KICK, the international convocation meeting, and the Pepperdine International Club.[40]

  • Pepperdine International Club seeks to intertwine the cultures of all students, both domestic and international, and create a sharing environment for those traditions. This is accomplished through fun, food, and friendship.”[41]

Seaver Student Services

Seaver international students also have access to ongoing student services through various campus centers such as Academic Advising, Counseling, Student Health, and the Career Center.  They can also get free tutoring at the Volunteer Center and the Writing Center.

Special Seaver Curriculum

Though Seaver College does not currently have an English as a Second Language (ESL) program, the College does offer special Speech and Writing courses for students who have low placement test scores in English in these areas.

SPLASH Program

The Full-Time MBA Program at GSBM offers a mandatory one week-long SPLASH program before orientation each year to help international students adjust to living and studying in the United States by including information on culture, business writing, social security, driver’s licenses, insurance, and housing.  This is a popular event as an amazing 35% of the students in the Full-Time MBA program are international students (from 32 countries and six continents)![42]

After September 11, 2001, GSBM was concerned that their number of international students in their full-time MBA program would drop due to all the new immigration requirements.  The following year, GSBM did have a significant number of students that could not make it because they could not get their visas in time.  In response, they bumped up their application deadlines, which gave students the extra time needed to get their visas.  Other than the one year drop, GSBM consistently has had around 35% international students.[43] 

Additional International Initiatives

International Alumni Chapter

Efforts are being made to create an alumni chapter in Shanghai, China.[44]

Public Safety

Pepperdine’s Public Safety Office has been involved in ensuring safety, not only on their domestic campuses, but also on Pepperdine’s several international campuses.  As part of their precautions, a web camera has been installed at the London house which transmits images of the house entrance to the Public Safety office in Malibu where they are monitored.  By the end of this year, they plan to have web cameras installed on Pepperdine’s other international properties in Heidelberg, Florence, and Buenos Aires.[45]

Board of Regents

The Board of Regents is Pepperdine’s legal governing body which provides guidance in designing the future of the University.  Several of its 40 members have international experience, including Hari N. Harilela who is from India and lives in Hong Kong; Glen A. Holden who was formerly the United States Ambassador to Jamaica; Thomas P. Kemp who received a Federal grant to encourage entrepreneurship in Russia; and Edward V. Yang and Matthew K. Fong who have experience and connections in Asia.  The Board of Regents meets quarterly, and every three years tries to meet in an international location.  The Spring meeting was held at Pepperdine’s Florence, Italy campus 3 years ago and in Hong Kong last Spring.[46]

Fulbright Scholarships

Pepperdine encourages its students to apply for the prestigious Fulbright Scholarship to study or do research abroad after graduating.  For four consecutive years, and in seven out of the last nine years, Seaver graduates have won a Fulbright Award.[47]


Pepperdine has done an excellent job at incorporating internationalization.  Some of the most impressive areas of successful internationalization are:

  • Internationalization is mentioned in the President’s goals, GSBM’s mission statement, and SPP’s leadership challenge.
  • The faculty’s international experience—60% have international teaching experience.
  • GSBM’s International MBA program—particularly the intensive language study, internship abroad, and option of a second degree from the partner university. 
  • Extremely high participation rates in study abroad—an estimated 53.5% of undergraduates participate in study abroad.
  • GSBM’s study abroad options for both full-time and fully-employed students.
  • The diversity of the international students from over 69 countries.
  • The high participation rate (35%) of international students in GSBM’s Full-Time MBA program.


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[5] Pepperdine University [online], accessed 4 March 2005, available from

[6] Pepperdine University [online], accessed 4 March 2005, available from

[7] William B. Phillips, Dean of International Programs, Pepperdine University, interviewed by the author February 18, 2005.

[8] Pepperdine University [online], accessed 4 March 2005, available from

[9] Pepperdine University [online], accessed 4 March 2005, available from

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[12] Pepperdine University [online], accessed 4 March 2005, available from

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[14] Alisa Sunal Lopez, International Director, Graziadio School of Business and Management, Pepperdine University, interviewed by the author February 18, 2005.

[15] Lopez.

[16] Pepperdine University [online], accessed 4 March 2005, available from

[17] Pepperdine University [online], accessed 4 March 2005, available from

[18] Pepperdine University [online], accessed 4 March 2005, available from

[19] Pepperdine University—Seaver College of Letters, Arts, and Sciences [Admissions brochure]; Malibu, CA:  Pepperdine University, 2004: 17.

[20] Open Doors [online], accessed 2 August 2005, available from

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[23] Pepperdine University—Seaver College of Letters, Arts, and Sciences 28.

[24] Pepperdine University [online], accessed 4 March 2005, available from

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[28] Lopez.

[29] Lopez.

[30] Pepperdine University [online], accessed 4 March 2005, available from

[31] Pepperdine University [online], accessed 4 March 2005, available from

[32] Pepperdine University [online], accessed 4 March 2005, available from

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[34] Pepperdine University [online], accessed 4 March 2005, available from

[35] Pepperdine University [online], accessed 4 March 2005, available from

[36] Pepperdine University [online], accessed 4 March 2005, available from

[37] Richard Dawson, Director of International Student Services, Pepperdine University, interviewed by the author February 18, 2005.

[38] Pepperdine University [online], accessed 4 March 2005, available from

[39] Pepperdine University—Seaver College of Letters, Arts, and Sciences 33.

[40] Dawson.

[41] Pepperdine University [online], accessed 4 March 2005, available from

[42] Pepperdine University—Graziadio School of Business and Management—Master of Business Administration for Full-Time Students:  Master of Business Administration, International MBA [Admissions brochure]; Malibu, CA:  Pepperdine University, 2004: 11.

[43] Lopez.

[44] Pepperdine University [online], accessed 4 March 2005, available from

[45] Phillips.

[46] Phillips.

[47] Pepperdine University [online], accessed 4 March 2005, available from