California Colleges and Universities

Along with having one of the largest populations of any state in the nation, California also offers the largest selection of colleges and universities. Including public 4-year universities and universities, private colleges, 2-year community colleges and vocational schools, California is home to over 750 higher education institutions.

Before attending any college or university in California, you'll want to make sure the institution is accredited. While national accreditation is acceptable, regional accreditation is preferred. The main accreditation bodies in California include the Western Association of Schools and Colleges/Accrediting Commission for Senior Colleges and Universities (WASC-Sr.) and Western Association of Schools and Colleges/Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior College (WASC-Jr.) California also has several national accreditors.

Public Universities
California is home to three public university systems. One of the most popular of these is the University of California System (UCS). The other two being the California State University (CSU) system and the California Community College system. The University of California (UC) System is comprise of 10 individual universities and it the largest of California's higher education systems. Each UCS school is governed by a chancellor appointed by the state. While all California higher education systems employ on top faculty and professionals, the UC system is regarded as one top public university systems in the United States.

The University of California system has campuses throughout the state. Campus locations include San Diego, Los Angeles, Berkeley, Santa Cruz, Davis, Santa Barbara, Irvine, Merced, San Francisco and Riverside. Of UCS's ten campuses, University of California-San Francisco is the only one that offers only graduate degrees (in the health sciences). The UC Hasting College of Law, in San Francisco, while part of the UCS is not governed by the same body that as other UCS schools. With an acceptance rate just over 12%, the University of California System is among the most selective public university systems in the United States. UCS offers a comprehensive selection of undergraduate and graduate programs and supports a high level of research.

The California State University (CSU) system is the third largest public university system in the United States. Unlike the UC system which is highly selective, the CSU system has an admittance rate of nearly 33%. Institutions withing the CSU system provide primarily undergraduate education, but several universities offers graduate degrees. While not at the same level as UCS, CSU also supports a fair amount of academic research. CSU schools including Long Beach State, California Polytechnic University, Fresno State University, California State University-Fullerton, San Francisco State University, San Jose State University, and San Diego State University has all become much more research oriented over the last decade.

The public higher education system in California is California Community Colleges (CCC) system. Curriculum at offered at CCC schools is oriented toward general education that is transferable to schools within the University of California (UC) and California State University (CSU) systems. Most of California's community colleges also provide vocational training programs, continuing education, and remedial education. California 112 community colleges award associate degrees and certificates. Through partnerships with public universities, a few CCC institutions also offer bachelor degrees.

4-year Public Colleges and Universities

2-Year Public Community Colleges

Private Universities
While public universities dominate California's higher education landscape, California offers an impressive selection of private colleges and universities. In fact, some of the nation's top institutions, such as Stanford University, University of Souther California, University of San Francisco, Santa Clara University, and the California Institute of Technology (Caltech), are located in California.

California is also home to the Claremont Colleges, a private consortium of five undergraduate and two graduate-level higher education institutions located in Claremont, California. Unlike other consortia, the Claremont Colleges actually have adjoining campuses within walking distance of one another. Once accepted to an one Claremont college, students are able to take courses at any other consortium member. The Claremont Colleges include Pomona College, Claremont McKenna College, Scripps College, Harvey Mudd College, Pitzer College, Claremont Graduate University and Keck Graduate Institute of Applied Life Sciences.

There are hundreds of private colleges and universities in California, including many religious and special-purpose schools. For example, California is home to many private art colleges which focus almost exclusively on art, design and film. Other schools, such as Biola University, American Baptist Seminary and Averett University, are based on Christian principles and precepts.

Private Colleges and Universities

Career Colleges, Trade Schools and Technical Schools
The the soaring cost of higher education, and the need to quickly enter the workforce to earn a living, more and more students are turning to career colleges and technical schools as an alternative to earning a traditional college degree. From beauty colleges to aviation technician schools, California offers a comprehensive selection of career colleges, trade schools and technical schools where student can earning a certificate or professional credential in just 1 to 3 years.

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