Pepperdine people seem genuinely satisfied with their instructors and their courses. Class sizes matter more than an incoming student might expect, and Pepperdine offers some of the smallest, most intimate classes in California. Students unanimously praise the one-on-one interaction that Pepperdine teachers tend to promote, just as they lament the two or three lecture-oriented general education courses they may have endured over their four years in Malibu. Whether one appreciates the religious tilt of many Pepperdine courses will most likely depend on one's own beliefs. However, most consider the Christian emphasis to be, at its worst, only mildly tedious or distracting.
Pepperdine emphasizes the importance of teaching over research, so professors are invariably available, approachable, smart, and happy to help their students with just about anything. A result of this warm and fuzzy student-professor relationship is that a lot of classes seem, well, not particularly demanding; one wonders whether more expectations and harder assignments might provoke, in turn, more learning. Most students don't complain too much about all of that, though. Also, the administration aims its funding predominantly toward its business and natural science programs, at times leaving its other departments out in the cold-despite Pepperdine's self-description as a liberal arts school. Incoming students should definitely consider the four-semester Great Books program, which not only introduces students to the history of Western thought, it also satisfies a lot of GE requirements (even math!). Also, the excellent international programs are an opportunity not to be missed. Those who can manage the expense of spending a semester, or a year, in Florence or Buenos Aires or any of the other popular Pepperdine destinations, should do just that.