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 Locations:
    1. Institute of Technology

    Program Options

    Associate's
      • Criminology and Emergency Response Management, AAS
      • Criminology and Emergency Response Management, AAS
    Certificate
      • Culinary Arts Diploma, Certificate
      • Baking & Pastry Specialist, Certificate
      • Pharmacy Technician, Certificate
      • Vocational Nursing
      • Heating, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning, Certificate
  • Campus and Online Programs
    2. The Chicago School

    Program Options

    Doctorate
      • Psy.D. Applied Clinical Psychology
      • Ph.D. Organizational Leadership
      • Psy.D. Clinical Forensic Psychology
      • Psy.D. Clinical Psychology
      • Psy.D. Marital and Family Therapy
      • Ed.D. Educational Psychology and Technology
    Master's
      • M.A. Clinical Psychology, Marital and Family Therapy Specialization
      • M.A. Industrial and Organizational Psychology
      • 2 Year M.A. Clinical Psychology, MFT Specialization
      • M.A. Psychology
      • Dual Enrollment: Master of Health Service Administration and Master of Public Health
      • M.A. Behavioral Economics
  • Online Programs Available
    3. Colorado State University Global

    Program Options

    Master's
      • MS - Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning
      • Master of Project Management
      • Master of Finance
      • Master of Professional Accounting
      • Master - Information Technology Management
      • Master - Human Resource Management
    Bachelor's
      • BS - Computer Science
      • BS - Human Services
      • BS - Accounting
      • BS - Project Management
      • BS - Marketing
      • BS - Finance
    Certificate
      • Graduate Certificate - Human Resource Management
      • Undergraduate Certificate - Project Management
      • Graduate Specialization - Accounting
      • Graduate Certificate - Project Management
      • Undergraduate Certificate - Computer Programming
      • Undergraduate Certificate - Web Application Development
  • 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 Finance
      • B.S. in Marketing
      • B.S. in Accounting
    Associate's
      • A.S. in Criminal Justice
      • A.S. in Legal Studies
      • A.S. in Management
      • A.S. in Accounting
      • A.S. in Marketing
  • Campus and Online Programs
    5. 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 - Information Technology Bachelors (Campus)
      • BS - Creative Writing Bachelors (Campus)
      • BS - Film (Campus)
      • BS - Media Communications (Campus)
  • Online Programs Available
    6. 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: Health Information Management
      • Associate: Healthcare Management
      • Associate of Science - Medical Assisting Services
  • Online Programs Available
    7. Liberty University

    Program Options

    Doctorate
      • Doctor of Education in Curriculum & Instruction Elementary Education (Online)
      • Doctor of Education in Curriculum & Instruction Middle Grades Education (Online)
      • Doctor of Education in Curriculum & Instruction Secondary Education (Online)
      • Doctor Of Education - Leadership
      • Doctor of Education - Curriculum and Instruction
      • Doctor of Business Administration: International Business
    Master's
      • MA: Communication
      • MED: Curriculum and Instruction: Urban Education
      • MA: Professional Counseling
      • Master of Arts in Public Policy - Public Administration
      • MA: Applied Psychology: Developmental Psychology
      • MA: Applied Psychology: Industrial Organizational Psychology
    Bachelor's
      • BS: Psychology
      • BS: Psychology - Christian Counseling
      • BS: Interdisciplinary Studies
      • BS: Business Administration
      • BS: Business Administration: Communications
      • BS: Early Childhood Education in Interdisciplinary Studies
    Associate's
      • AA: Military History
  • Online Programs Available
    8. Penn Foster High School

    Program Options

    High School Diploma
      • HS Diploma
  • Online Programs Available
    9. Grand Canyon University

    Program Options

    Doctorate
      • DBA - Management
      • Ph.D. in General Psychology - Performance Psychology
      • DBA with an Emphasis in Marketing
      • Doctor of Education in Teaching and Learning with an Emphasis in Adult Learning
      • Education Specialist in Teaching and Learning
      • Doctor of Nursing Practice with an Emphasis in Educational Leadership
    Master's
      • M.S. Psychology with an Emphasis in Gerontology
      • M.S. in Psychology with an Emphasis in Human Factors
      • MA in Curriculum and Instruction
      • M.Ed. in Secondary Education with an Emphasis in Humanities (ITL)
      • M.Ed. in Secondary Education with an Emphasis in Humanities (NITL)
      • M.Ed. in Secondary Education with an Emphasis in STEM (ITL)
    Bachelor's
      • Bachelor of Science in Business for Secondary Education
      • BS in Psychology
      • B.S. in Psychology with an Emphasis in Performance and Sports Psychology
      • Bachelor: Business Admin
      • Bachelor: Accounting
      • Bachelor of Science in Elementary Education
  • Campus and Online Programs
    10. 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. in Advocacy and Social Justice
      • B.A. Community Psychology
      • B.A. Early Childhood Education
      • B.A. Human Development
    Certificate
      • Early Childhood Education Certificate in STEAM
      • Preliminary Multiple Subject Teaching Credential
      • Preliminary Education Specialist Instruction Credential

Featured Schools

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?

The Chicago School

  • Psy.D. Applied Clinical Psychology
  • Ph.D. Organizational Leadership
  • M.A. Clinical Psychology, Marital and Family Therapy Specialization
  • M.A. Industrial and Organizational Psychology

What is your highest level of education completed?

Colorado State University Global

  • MS - Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning
  • BS - Computer Science
  • Graduate Certificate - Human Resource Management

What is your highest level of education?

Post University

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

Education Level:

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?

Herzing University

  • MBA
  • B.S. - Business Management With No Concentration
  • Associate of Science - Business Management

What is your highest level of education?

Liberty University

  • Doctor of Education in Curriculum & Instruction Elementary Education (Online)
  • MA: Communication
  • BS: Psychology
  • AA: Military History

What is your highest level of education?

Penn Foster High School

  • HS Diploma

What is your age?