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. Grand Canyon University

    Program Options

    Doctorate
      • Ed.D in Teaching and Learning with an Emphasis in Adult Learning - Qualitative Research
      • Ed.D in Teaching and Learning with an Emphasis in Adult Learning - Quantitative Research
      • Doctor of Philosophy in General Psychology: Performance Psychology (Qualitative Research)
      • Doctor of Philosophy in General Psychology: Performance Psychology (Quantitative Research)
      • Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP)
      • Education Specialist in Teaching and Learning
    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
      • MS in Psychology: General Psychology
      • M.A. in Communication with an Emphasis in Education
      • M.Ed. in Secondary Education with an Emphasis in Humanities (ITL)
    Bachelor's
      • BS in Psychology
      • B.S. in Psychology with an Emphasis in Performance and Sports Psychology
      • Bachelor of Arts in Communications with an Emphasis in Interpersonal Communication and Human Relationships
      • Bachelor: Business Admin
      • BA in Digital Film - Screenwriting
  • Online Programs Available
    2. Purdue Global

    Program Options

    Doctorate
      • Master of Science - DNP Executive Leader
      • MSN-DNP Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner
      • Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP)
      • Master of Science - DNP Path (Doctor of Nursing Practice)
      • Master of Science -DNP Path Adult-Gerontology Acute Care Nurse Practitioner
    Master's
      • M.S. in Health Education
      • MSPY - Forensic Psychology
      • MS in Psychology
      • Master : Business Admin
      • Master: Psychology/General Psychology
      • Master of Public Health
    Bachelor's
      • BS in Communication
      • BS in Criminal Justice - Socially Responsible Leadership
      • Bachelor of Science in Psychology
      • BSOM - Decision Management
      • Bachelor of Business Admin
    Associate's
      • AASBA in Business
      • Associate of Applied Science in Criminal Justice
      • Associate: Business Admin.
      • Associate of Applied Science in Early Childhood Development
      • Associate of Applied Science in Human Services
      • Associate of Applied Science in Health ScienceNo Concentration
    Certificate
      • Professional Focus + Google Project Management Certificate
      • Certificate in Industrial/Organizational Psychology Graduate
      • Professional Focus + Google UX Design Certificate
  • Campus and Online Programs
    3. Pacific Oaks College

    Program Options

    Certificate
      • Preliminary Multiple Subject Teaching Credential
      • Preliminary Education Specialist Instruction Credential
  • Online Programs Available
    4. Liberty University

    Program Options

    Doctorate
      • DME: Doctor of Music Education
      • LLM: International Legal Studies
      • EDD: Curriculum and Instruction
      • EDD: Curriculum and Instruction/Elementary Education
      • EDD: Curriculum and Instruction/Middle Grades Education
      • EDD: Curriculum and Instruction/Secondary Education
    Bachelor's
      • Bachelor of Science in Philosophy, Politics, and Economics
    Certificate
      • CTG: Communication
      • CTG: Criminal Justice
      • CTG: Curriculum and Instruction
      • CTG: Higher Education Administration
      • CTG: Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner
      • CTG: Psychology
  • Online Programs Available
    5. Fordham University

    Program Options

    Master's
      • Master of Studies in Law in Corporate Compliance
  • Online Programs Available
    6. Pepperdine University Graduate School of Education and Psychology

    Program Options

    Master's
      • Masters in Psychology
      • Masters in Dispute Resolution
      • Masters in Legal Studies
      • Masters in Applied Behavior Analysis
      • Masters in Clinical Psychology (Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist)
  • Campus Locations:
    7. Universal Technical Institute

    Program Options

    Associate's
      • Aviation Maintenance AAS
    Certificate
      • Collision Repair and Refinish Technology
      • Motorcycle Technician Specialist
      • Automotive Technology
      • Wind Power Technician
      • Marine Technician Specialist
      • Diesel Technology
  • Campus and Online Programs
    8. Full Sail University

    Program Options

    Master's
      • Game Design Masters - Campus
      • Entertainment Business Masters - Campus
      • Computer Science Masters - Online
      • M.S. - Entertainment Business
      • M.S. - New Media Journalism
      • M.S. - Public Relations
    Bachelor's
      • Sportscasting Bachelors - Campus
      • Bachelor of Science - Software Development
      • Communications Bachelors with Creative Writing Concentration - Campus
      • Film Production Masters - Campus
      • Communications Bachelors with Media Communications Concentration - Campus
      • Visual Arts Bachelors with Game Art Concentration - Campus
    Certificate
      • Computer Science Bachelors with AI Concentration - Online
      • User Experience Bachelors - Online
  • Online Programs Available
    9. Bryant & Stratton College

    Program Options

    Bachelor's
      • BA - General Management
      • BBA Human Resources Management
      • BBA Medical Services Management
      • BS Human & Social Services
      • General Management (GM) - BBA
      • Health Services Administration - BS
    Associate's
      • Criminal Justice Studies - AAS
      • AS - Business
      • AS - Criminal Justice
      • AS - Accounting
      • AS - Human Resources Specialist
      • AS - IT Networking
    Certificate
      • Business Assistant Diploma
      • Criminal Justice and Security Services Diploma
      • Business - AAS
      • Business Assistant - Diploma
      • Criminal Justice and Security Svcs. - Diploma
      • Accounting Assistant Diploma
  • Campus Locations:
    10. San Joaquin Valley College

    Program Options

    Certificate
      • Clinical and Administrative Medical Assisting
      • Electrical Technology

Featured Schools

Grand Canyon University

  • Ed.D in Teaching and Learning with an Emphasis in Adult Learning - Qualitative Research
  • M.S. Psychology with an Emphasis in Gerontology
  • BS in Psychology

What is your highest level of education?

Purdue Global

  • Master of Science - DNP Executive Leader
  • M.S. in Health Education
  • BS in Communication
  • AASBA in Business
  • Professional Focus + Google Project Management Certificate

Which subject are you interested in?

Pacific Oaks College

  • Preliminary Multiple Subject Teaching Credential
  • Preliminary Education Specialist Instruction Credential

What is your highest level of education completed?

Liberty University

  • DME: Doctor of Music Education
  • Bachelor of Science in Philosophy, Politics, and Economics
  • CTG: Communication

What is your highest level of education?

Fordham University

  • Master of Studies in Law in Corporate Compliance

What is your highest level of education completed?

Pepperdine University Graduate School of Education and Psychology

  • Masters in Psychology
  • Masters in Dispute Resolution
  • Masters in Legal Studies

What is your highest level of education completed?

Universal Technical Institute

  • Aviation Maintenance AAS
  • Collision Repair and Refinish Technology
  • Motorcycle Technician Specialist

What is your highest level of education completed?

Full Sail University

  • Game Design Masters - Campus
  • Sportscasting Bachelors - Campus
  • Computer Science Bachelors with AI Concentration - Online

What is your highest level of education?