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Pepperdine | Graduate School of Education and Psychology

History of GSEP

From the University's beginning, the discipline of education has played a prominent role in the academic program of the institution. With the growing emphasis on improving educational techniques in public- and private-school systems statewide, Pepperdine University met increasing demands for leadership and transformed the existing Department of Education into a professional School of Education that was formally established on January 1, 1971.

In 1951, a master's degree in psychology was offered for the first time at Pepperdine, becoming the genesis of what eventually evolved into the Division of Psychology in the School of Professional Studies. In January 1981, after the decision to phase out the School of Professional Studies was made, the Division of Psychology became part of the Graduate School of Education, which officially changed its name to the Graduate School of Education and Psychology the following year.


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1951 - The master's program in psychology is established.


1960 - The master's program in education is established

1964 - Pepperdine is authorized by the state to recommend the standard credential in both elementary and certain secondary fields

1969 - African Americans constituted nearly 17 percent of the Vermont Avenue campus student body. That percentage was among the highest in the nation for schools similar to Pepperdine and neighboring Los Angeles colleges



  • Olaf Tegner, PhD, named dean of the School of Education
  • The Education Department becomes the School of Education at the original Pepperdine campus on Vermont Street in South Central Los Angeles

1972 - Foster Grandparent Program is founded


  • Educational doctoral programs are introduced
  • Pepperdine's first doctoral degree, EdD in Institutional Management, was approved and implemented


1981 - School of Psychology is founded

1982 - School of Education and Psychology Division unite to form the Graduate School of Education and Psychology (GSEP)

1983 - GSEP moves to West Los Angeles

1984 - William B. Adrian, PhD, named dean of GSEP


  • Nick Stinnet PhD, named dean of GSEP
  • GSEP announces its doctoral degree in psychology and admits its first class of twenty-five students selected from eighty applicants

1987 - GSEP moves to Corporate Pointe offices in Culver City

1988 - Nancy Magnusson, PhD, named dean of GSEP

1989 - West Los Angeles Counseling Clinic opens


1994 - Irvine Counseling Clinic is opened and due to a fire, is soon thereafter rebuilt

1996 - Center for the Family is established


  • Master's in educational technology program is launched


  • First cadre of online master's in educational technology (OMET) program graduate
  • Affiliated counseling education (ACE) program is launched
  • First National Call to Leadership conference convened


2000 - Conrad N. Hilton Foundation grant establishes mental health clinic at the Union Rescue Mission


  • Margaret Weber, PhD, named dean of GSEP
  • PRYDE program (Pepperdine Resource, Youth Diversion, and Education) launches

2003 - Drescher Graduate Campus is opened

2004 - GSEP headquarters moves back to West Los Angeles

2005 - Dedication of the M. Norvel and Helen Young Center for the Graduate School of Education and Psychology

2008 - Urban Initiative is established


2010 - Dean Weber establishes the Dean's Distinguished Lecture Series


  • Helen Easterling Williams, EdD, named dean of GSEP
  • Lifelong Learning Women's Forum is launched


2020 - Urban Initiative 2.0 is established

2021 - GSEP celebrates 50th anniversary