List of Online College Programs in California

POPULATION (2021): 39 million

CAPITAL: Sacramento

LARGEST PUBLIC UNIVERSITY IN CALIFORNIA: the University of California at Los Angeles


California is a vast state with a vast array of landscapes, climates, cultures, beliefs, and people. With that in mind, it’s nearly impossible to paint a college landscape for the whole state. However, California has a very heralded public college system in addition to some of the most sought-after private colleges in the United States. 

With nearly 40 million people and a reputation for being one of the most educated states, the college options in California are so robust that there truly is something for everyone. There is a list below that describes the college landscape for some of the larger cities. 

Universities in California – 4-Year Colleges and Online

UC-Berkley has been at the forefront of progressive movements for the better part of a decade, Stanford has had multiple presidents walk across its stage at graduation, and that’s barely scratching the surface of all of the educational opportunities in The Golden State. Here’s a look at some of the rest!

Public Universities in California

All of the public universities in California belong to one of the two-state college systems. 

California State University has 23 campuses across the state, 18 of which have more than 10,000 students enrolled. The 3 largest Cal State campuses are Fullerton, Northridge, and Long Beach, each with more than 35,000 students enrolled. 

The University of California system has the 4 largest schools among the two major state college systems, but fewer campuses with 9. The three largest UC schools are UCLA, UC Berkeley, and UC San Diego, all with more than 42,000 students. 

Private Universities in California

While it’s pretty easy for aspiring students to go through the lists of the UC and Cal State schools to determine which public option would suit them best, the list of private colleges and universities in California is seemingly endless compared to many other states.
California is home to several art universities, with some of the more prominent being the California College for the Arts in Oakland, the California Institute for the Arts in Valencia, the Design Institute of San Diego, the Los Angeles College of Music, the Otis College of Art and Design, and the Southern California Insitute of Architecture.
The section below will showcase a few prominent private universities in each of California’s major metropolitan areas.

Community Colleges in California

There are more than 1.8 million students currently attending one of the several California Community College campuses. The CCC system is not the only source for a community college education in the state, but their find a college tool is a great place to start your search if you’re looking for an affordable alternative to one of the private or public 4-year universities in California. 

Prominent Online Colleges in California

Several of the universities and colleges in California offer online programs, and as the state is a pacemaker in the tech industry, it’s no surprise that they were one of the first states to adopt online education. 

The Cal State system is reviewed very positively for its online and hybrid programs, many of which transfer from school to school. The University of California system has comparable programs for those looking for public universities in California with online options. 

The California Community College system also offers its California Virtual Campus many affordable, online options for college students in California. 

Universities in Anaheim, CA

Located just south of Los Angeles, here is a list of universities and colleges in Anaheim, CA:

  • Bethesda University
  • California University of Management and Sciences
  • North Orange County CC (4-year programs)
  • Platt College-Anaheim
  • Southern California Institute of Technology
  • West Coast University – Orange County

Universities in Bakersfield, CA

Inland of Los Angeles, with a desert climate, here is a list of universities and colleges in Bakersfield, CA:

  • Bakersfield College
  • California Aeronautical University
  • Cal State Bakersfield
  • Santa Barbara Business College – Bakersfield

Universities in Berkeley, CA

A historic college town, with much of the city’s history revolving around Cal Berkeley, here is a list of other universities and college in Berkeley, CA:

  • California Jazz Conservatory
  • Zaytuna College

Universities in Costa Mesa, CA

Costa Mesa was incorporated as a city in 1953, but not unlike other Orange County towns, it has grown very rapidly since. Here is a list of universities and colleges in Costa Mesa:

  • Pacific College
  • Vanguard University of Southern California

Universities in Fresno, CA

Fresno is located in the center of the state and is known for its rich mix of many different cultures. Here is a list of universities and colleges in Fresno, CA:

  • California Christian College
  • Cal State Fresno
  • Fresno Pacific University

Universities in Irvine, CA

Irvine is a large industrial city located near Los Angeles, and here is a list of universities and college in Irvine:

  • Brandman University
  • California Intercontinental University
  • Concordia University – Irvine
  • Stanbridge University
  • University of California – Irvine
  • Westcliff University

Universities in Los Angeles, CA

A city that needs no introduction, here is a list of universities and colleges in L.A.:

  • America Evangelical University
  • American Jewish University
  • Angeles College
  • Cal State – Los Angeles
  • Charles R. Drew University
  • Fashion Institute of Design – LA
  • L.A. Community Colleges (4-year programs)
  • Loyola Marymount
  • Mount Saint Mary’s University
  • Occidental College
  • Otis College of Art and Design
  • Pacific States University
  • Southern California Institute of Architecture
  • UCLA
  • USC
  • World Mission University

Universities in Modesto, CA

A growing city in Central California, here is a list of universities and colleges in Modesto, CA:

  • Modesto Junior College
  • Yosemite Community College

Universities in Oakland, CA

One of the largest cities in California’s Tech-heavy “Bay Area,” here is a list of universities and colleges in Oakland, CA:

  • Holy Names University
  • Lincoln University
  • Mills College
  • Samuel Merritt University

Universities in Ontario, CA

Another growing suburb of Los Angeles, here is a list of universities and colleges in Ontario, CA:

  • DeVry University – California
  • Platt College – Ontario
  • University of Phoenix – California
  • West Coast University

Universities in Pasadena, CA

An affluent city located near Los Angeles, here is a list of universities and colleges in Pasadena, CA:

  • Art Center College of Design
  • California Institute of Technology
  • Los Angeles College of Music
  • Pacific Oaks College
  • Providence Christian College
  • University of the People

Universities in Riverside, CA

An industrial community located inland of Los Angeles in Southern California, here is a list of universities and college in Riverside, CA:

  • California Baptist University
  • La Sierra University
  • Platt Colelge – Riverside
  • University of California – Riverside

Universities in Sacaramento, CA

The capital of the Golden State, here is a pair of universities and colleges in Sacramento, CA:

  • Cal State – Sacramento
  • Epic Bible College

Universities in San Diego, CA

The second-largest city in California, and closest to the Mexican border, here is a list of universities and colleges in San Diego, CA:

  • Alliant International University
  • Ashford University
  • California College San Diego
  • California International Business Institute
  • California Miramar University
  • Design Institute of San Diego
  • Newschool of Architecture and Design
  • Platt College – San Diego
  • Point Loma Nazarene University
  • San Diego Global Knowledge University
  • San Diego Mesa College
  • San Diego State University
  • Southern States University
  • University of San Diego

Universities in San Francisco, CA

Though densely populated, San Francisco has a very small land area, but there are still plenty of colleges and universities:

  • Academy of Art University
  • California College of the Arts
  • California Institute of Integral Studies
  • Golden Gate University
  • San Francisco Film School
  • San Francisco State University
  • University of San Francisco 

Universities in San Jose, CA

Another large city near the San Francisco Bay, here is a pair of universities and colleges in San Jose, CA:

  • Cogswell College
  • San Jose State University

Get to Know California

California has the largest economy in the United States, and also the largest sub-economy of any nation in the world. In addition to countless revenue streams that include tourism, tech, military contracts, aeronautics, and a lot of education as proven by this article, California also has a lot to do for college students. The cities are bustling, the beaches are beautiful, and the mountains and other various landscapes are easily accessible!

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