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

  • Campus and Online Programs
    1. Full Sail University

    Program Options

    Master's
      • Master of Science - Film Production
      • MS - Game Design (Campus)
      • M.S. - Entertainment Business
      • M.S. - New Media Journalism
      • Master of Fine Arts - Creative Writing
      • M.S. - Public Relations
    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)
    Associate's
      • AS - Cloud Technologies
    Certificate
      • Cert - Instructional Design and Technology
  • Online Programs Available
    2. Saint Leo University

    Program Options

    Doctorate
      • Doctor of Criminal Justice: Education
      • DBA: Business Administration
      • Education Specialist in Educational Leadership
      • Doctor of Criminal Justice: Homeland Security
      • Doctor of Education: School Leadership
    Master's
      • MS: Criminal Justice
      • MS: Criminal Justice - Critical Incident Management
      • MS: Criminal Justice - Legal Studies
      • MS: Psychology
      • MA: Creative Writing - Fiction
    Bachelor's
      • BA: Criminal Justice
      • BA: Criminal Justice - Criminalistics
      • BA: Liberal Studies
      • BA: Psychology
      • BA: Psychology - General
      • BS: Computer Science
    Associate's
      • AA: Criminal Justice
      • AA: Liberal Arts
      • AA: Business Administration
      • AA: Information Technology
      • AA: Cybersecurity
  • Online Programs Available
    3. Colorado Christian University

    Program Options

    Master's
      • Criminal Justice, M.S.
      • Business Administration, MBA - Emphasis in Advanced Accounting
      • Business Administration, MBA - Emphasis in Health Care Administration
      • Business Administration, MBA - Emphasis in Leadership
      • Business Administration, MBA - Emphasis in Project Management
      • Curriculum and Instruction, M.A. - Emphasis in Culturally and Linguistically Diverse
    Bachelor's
      • Communication Studies, B.A.
      • Criminal Justice, B.S.
      • Psychology, B.S.
      • Psychology, B.S. - Emphasis in Biblical Studies
    Associate's
      • Criminal Justice, A.S.
      • Psychology, A.S.
      • Communication Studies, A.A.
      • General Studies, A.A.
      • Business Administration, A.S.
      • Health Care Administration, A.S.
  • Online Programs Available
    4. Post University

    Program Options

    Bachelor's
      • B.S. in Business Administration
      • B.A. in Psychology
      • B.S. in Legal Studies
      • B.S. in Business Administration / Accounting
      • B.S. in Finance
      • B.S. in Management / Entrepreneurship
    Associate's
      • A.S. in Criminal Justice
      • A.S. in Legal Studies
      • A.S. in Management
      • A.S. in Accounting
      • A.S. in Marketing
  • Online Programs Available
    5. Northcentral University

    Program Options

    Doctorate
      • Doctor of Business Admin - Applied Computer Science
      • PhD in Business Admin - Applied Computer Science
      • Doctor of Business Admin - General Business
      • PhD-TIM - Computer Science
      • Doctor of Business Admin - Management
      • Ed.D. - Sports Management
  • Online Programs Available
    6. 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
  • Online Programs Available
    7. American University

    Program Options

    Master's
      • Master of Arts in Strategic Communication
      • Master of Arts in Strategic Communication - Advocacy and Social Impact Concentration
      • Master of Arts in Economics
      • Master of Public Administration and Policy
      • Master of Science in Agile Project Management
      • Master of Science in Healthcare Management
  • Campus Locations:
    8. Institute of Technology

    Program Options

    Associate's
      • Criminology and Emergency Response Management, AAS
    Certificate
      • Culinary Arts Diploma, Certificate
      • Baking & Pastry Specialist, Certificate
      • Pharmacy Technician, Certificate
      • Heating, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning, Certificate
  • Online Programs Available
    9. Liberty University

    Program Options

    Doctorate
      • DBA: Healthcare Management
      • DBA: Marketing
      • DBA: Project Management
      • DBA: Human Resources
      • PHD: Higher Education Administration: Education Leadership
      • EDD: Educational Leadership
    Master's
      • MA: Communication
      • MS: Criminal Justice
      • MBA: International Business
      • MS: Accounting
      • Master of Arts in Public Policy - Public Administration
      • MA: Applied Psychology: Developmental Psychology
  • Online Programs Available
    10. Herzing University

    Program Options

    Master's
      • MBA
      • MBA Dual Concentration: HR & Project Mgmt.
      • MBA Dual Concentration: BS Mgmt. & HR
      • MBA Dual Concentration: Business Mgmt & Project Mgmt.
      • MBA: Technology Management
      • MBA Dual Concentration: Accounting and Project Management
    Bachelor's
      • B.S. - Business Management With No Concentration
      • B.S. - Business Management: Entrepreneurial Studies Concentration
      • B.S. - Information Technology: Security Technology Concentration
      • Bachelor: Health Care Management
      • Bachelor: Accounting
      • B.S. - Information Technology: Network Management Concentration
    Associate's
      • Associate of Science - Business Management
      • Associate of Science - Business Studies
      • Associate: Health Information Management
      • Associate: Healthcare Management
      • Associate of Science - Information Technology Admin and Management
      • Associate of Science - Accounting
    Certificate
      • Diploma: Medical Office Admin
      • Diploma: Medical Assisting
      • Diploma: Bookkeeping and Payroll Accounting
      • Networking Systems Certificate

Featured Schools

Full Sail University

  • Master of Science - Film Production
  • BS - Sportscasting (Campus)
  • AS - Cloud Technologies
  • Cert - Instructional Design and Technology

What is your highest level of education?

Saint Leo University

  • Doctor of Criminal Justice: Education
  • MS: Criminal Justice
  • BA: Criminal Justice
  • AA: Criminal Justice

What is your highest level of education completed?

Colorado Christian University

  • Criminal Justice, M.S.
  • Communication Studies, B.A.
  • Criminal Justice, A.S.

What is your highest level of education completed?

Post University

  • B.S. in Business Administration
  • B.A. in Psychology
  • A.S. in Criminal Justice
  • A.S. in Legal Studies

Education Level:

Northcentral University

  • Doctor of Business Admin - Applied Computer Science
  • PhD in Business Admin - Applied Computer Science
  • Doctor of Business Admin - General Business

What is your highest level of education?

Golden Gate University - Aspire

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

What is your highest level of education completed?

American University

  • Master of Arts in Strategic Communication
  • Master of Arts in Strategic Communication - Advocacy and Social Impact Concentration
  • Master of Arts in Economics

What is your highest level of education?

Institute of Technology

  • Criminology and Emergency Response Management, AAS
  • Culinary Arts Diploma, Certificate
  • Baking & Pastry Specialist, Certificate

What is your highest level of education completed?