Top California Colleges and Universities

About this article
California lies along the Pacific Coast of the United States and is widely recognized for its cultural and racial diversity. The state is home to some of the world's most renowned institutions for higher learning, five of which are described below.
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Top Five Schools in California

Stanford University

Stanford University is a private university that was founded in 1891 in Stanford, California. The campus sits 37 miles southeast of San Francisco and is home to 6,422 undergraduate students. Stanford University is one of the most distinguished institutions in the world and has received numerous accolades for its academic progress. Currently, Stanford is ranked fourth on U.S. News and World Report's Best Colleges list. Another aspect of Stanford that is often recognized is the opportunities students have to study abroad and in Washington, D.C.

California Institute of Technology

Currently ranked sixth on U.S. News and World Report's guide to America's Best Colleges, California Institute of Technology has long been recognized as a world leader in education and research. The university was founded in 1891 and has grown to enroll only 864 undergraduate students. Though it continues to maintain its small size, Cal Tech is an institution with a big impact. Cal Tech currently operates and maintains NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory and is actively engaged in many other research endeavors related to the natural sciences and engineering.

University of California-Berkeley

The University of California-Berkeley was founded in 1868, making it the oldest of the ten institutions within the University of California System. Commonly referred to as simply Berkeley, the institution offers its 23,863 undergraduate students more than 300 different academic programs taught by revered professors, many of whom are Nobel Laureates or have received other distinguished designations. Berkeley has many top-rated academic programs and is currently ranked #21 by U.S. News and World Report. The academic rigor of the university results in an intensely selective admissions process for incoming freshmen and freshwomen.

University of California-Los Angeles

The University of California-Los Angeles is currently the largest university in the state of California, with an undergraduate enrollment of 24,432 students. The university was established as part of the University of California System in 1919 after a brief tenure as a normal school. UCLA's reputation as a leader in education and research is well established, and the institution was named one of the 25 New Ivies by Kaplan. Among its many distinguished academic programs are the life sciences and medical departments, which are world leaders in stem cell and other medical research. UCLA is currently ranked #25 by U.S. News and World Report.

University of Southern California

Founded in 1880, the University of Southern California is the state's oldest private research institution. Its campus sits in the University Park Neighborhood in Los Angeles, and the college's diversity closely mirrors that of the surrounding urban community. USC enrolls 16,729 undergraduate students and is ranked 27th in U.S. News and World Report's Guide to America's Best Undergraduate Colleges. One of the aspects that makes USC unique is its film school, which lies in the heart of the entertainment industry and is widely considered the top-rated film school in the nation.

Popular Schools

  • Online Programs Available
    1. Golden Gate University - Aspire

    Program Options

    Bachelor's
      • Bachelor's Degree - Business
      • Bachelor's Degree - Psychology
      • Bachelor's Degree - Accounting
      • Bachelor's Degree - Management
      • Bachelor's Degree - Organizational Leadership & Human Skills Development
  • Campus and Online Programs
    2. Pacific Oaks College

    Program Options

    Master's
      • M.A. Marriage and Family Therapy
      • M.A. Marriage and Family Therapy - African American Family Studies
      • M.A. Marriage and Family Therapy - Latina/Latino Family Studies
      • M.A. Marriage and Family Therapy - Trauma Studies
      • M.A. Education with Prelimary Education Specialist Instruction Credential
      • M.A. Early Childhood Education
    Bachelor's
      • B.A. Community Psychology
      • B.A. Early Childhood Education
      • B.A. Human Development
      • B.A. in Advocacy and Social Justice
    Certificate
      • Early Childhood Education Certificate in STEAM
      • Preliminary Multiple Subject Teaching Credential
      • Preliminary Education Specialist Instruction Credential
  • Online Programs Available
    3. Grand Canyon University

    Program Options

    Doctorate
      • DBA with an Emphasis in Marketing
      • Doctor of Education in Teaching and Learning with an Emphasis in Adult Learning
      • Doctor of Nursing Practice with an Emphasis in Educational Leadership
      • Doctor of Philosophy in Counselor Education and Supervision
    Master's
      • MA in Curriculum and Instruction
      • M.A. in Reading with an Emphasis in Secondary Education
      • M.Ed. in Early Childhood
      • M.Ed. in Secondary Education
      • MS in Criminal Justice: Law Enforcement
      • MS in Nursing: Public Health
    Bachelor's
      • Bachelor of Science in Business for Secondary Education
      • BS in Early Childhood
      • B.S. in Computer Programming
      • Bachelor of Arts in History for Secondary Education (ITL)
      • Bachelor of Science in Business Information Systems
      • Bachelor of Arts in English for Secondary Education
  • Campus and Online Programs
    4. Full Sail University

    Program Options

    Master's
      • Master of Science - Film Production
      • MS - Entertainment Business (Campus)
      • MS - Game Design (Campus)
      • M.S. - Entertainment Business
      • M.S. - New Media Journalism
      • Master of Fine Arts - Creative Writing
    Bachelor's
      • BS - Sportscasting (Campus)
      • Bachelor of Science - Software Development
      • BS - Cloud Technologies (Campus)
      • BS - Creative Writing for Entertainment (Campus)
      • BS - Film (Campus)
      • BS - Media Communications (Campus)
  • Online Programs Available
    5. Biola University

    Program Options

    Bachelor's
      • Online BS in Applied Psychology
      • Online BS in Business Management
      • Online BS in Bibilical Ministries
  • Online Programs Available
    6. Trident University

    Program Options

    Doctorate
      • Business Administration (Ph.D.)
      • Health Sciences (Ph.D.)
      • Doctor of Business Administration
      • Educational Leadership (Ed. D.)
      • Educational Leadership (Ph.D.)
    Master's
      • Master of Arts in Education
    Bachelor's
      • Computer Sciences (BSCS)
      • Business Administration (BSBA)
      • Human Resources Management (BSHRM)
      • Homeland Security (BSHLS)
      • Information Technology Management (BSITM)
      • Leadership (BSL)
    Associate's
      • Professional Studies (ASPS)
    Certificate
      • CMCB - Certificate in Medical Coding and Billing
  • Online Programs Available
    7. Florida Tech

    Program Options

    Bachelor's
      • BA in Applied Psychology
      • BA in Business Administration/Management
      • BA in Criminal Justice
      • BA in Accounting
      • BA in Applied Psychology/Child Advocacy
      • BA in Applied Psychology/Clinical Psychology
    Associate's
      • AA in Applied Psychology
      • AA in Criminal Justice
      • AA in Accounting
      • AA in Business Administration
      • AA in Healthcare Management
      • AA in Management
  • Campus Locations:
    8. Carrington College

    Program Options

    Associate's
      • Criminal Justice
      • Dental Assisting
      • Medical Assisting
      • Pharmacy Technology
      • Medical Administrative Assistant
      • Medical Billing and Coding
    Certificate
      • Criminal Justice: Corrections
  • Online Programs Available
    9. Tulane University

    Program Options

    Master's
      • Master of Professional Studies in Cybersecurity Management
  • Online Programs Available
    10. Purdue University Global

    Program Options

    Doctorate
      • Master of Science - DNP Executive Leader
      • Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP)
      • Master of Science - DNP Path (Doctor of Nursing Practice)
    Master's
      • MS in Psychology - Forensic Psychology
      • Master: Legal Studies
      • MS in Psychology
      • Master of Public Health
      • Master - Accounting
      • Master of Health Informatics
    Bachelor's
      • Bachelor: Liberal Studies
      • Bachelor of Business Admin
      • BSBA - Investment
      • BS in Liberal Studies Leadership
      • Bachelor: Nutrition Science
      • Accelerated MS in Finance Option
    Associate's
      • AAS in Legal Support and Services
      • Associate: Criminal Justice
      • AAS in Information Technology - Multiplatform Software Development
      • Associate of Science in Fire Science
      • AAS in Criminal Justice and Criminology
      • AASIT: Network Admin
    Certificate
      • Medical Assisting Certificate
      • Medical Office Administration Certificate
      • Human Services Certificates in Child and Family Services
      • Graduate Certificate in Addictions
      • Graduate Certificate in Industrial/Organizational Psychology
      • Adult Gerontology Acute Care Nurse Practitioner Certificate

Featured Schools

Golden Gate University - Aspire

  • Bachelor's Degree - Business
  • Bachelor's Degree - Psychology
  • Bachelor's Degree - Accounting

What is your highest level of education completed?

Pacific Oaks College

  • M.A. Marriage and Family Therapy
  • B.A. Community Psychology
  • Early Childhood Education Certificate in STEAM

What is your highest level of education completed?

Grand Canyon University

  • DBA with an Emphasis in Marketing
  • MA in Curriculum and Instruction
  • Bachelor of Science in Business for Secondary Education

What is your highest level of education?

Full Sail University

  • Master of Science - Film Production
  • MS - Entertainment Business (Campus)
  • BS - Sportscasting (Campus)
  • Bachelor of Science - Software Development

What is your highest level of education?

Biola University

  • Online BS in Applied Psychology
  • Online BS in Business Management
  • Online BS in Bibilical Ministries

What is your highest level of education completed?

Trident University

  • Business Administration (Ph.D.)
  • Master of Arts in Education
  • Computer Sciences (BSCS)
  • Professional Studies (ASPS)
  • CMCB - Certificate in Medical Coding and Billing

What is your highest level of education completed?

Florida Tech

  • BA in Applied Psychology
  • BA in Business Administration/Management
  • AA in Applied Psychology
  • AA in Criminal Justice

What is your highest level of education completed?

Carrington College

  • Criminal Justice
  • Dental Assisting
  • Criminal Justice: Corrections

What is your highest level of education completed?