There are over 200 schools in California that offer master's degree programs in various fields of study. Let's look at how they compare to each other in terms of location, cost, graduation rates and student population. All of the data comes from the Department of Education's National Center for Education Statistics (NCES).
California Schools Near Large Cities
Whether you want to live in northern, central or southern California, there are schools near all major cities, including Los Angeles, San Diego, San Francisco, and San Jose. All of these institutions provide undergraduate and graduate level programs. If being in or near a highly populated area is something you are looking for, consider the following schools:
- Ashford University (located in San Diego)
- University of Southern California (located in Los Angeles)
- University of California - Berkeley (located in Berkeley)
- California State University - Long Beach (located in Long Beach)
- San Jose State University (located in San Jose)
Largest Schools in California
Over 30 schools in California have total student populations (undergrad and graduate) exceeding 10,000 students. The largest institution, Ashford University, had 51,237 students enrolled for the 2014-2015 year. The next five schools with the most students enrolled that year are all public universities.
- University of Southern California in Los Angeles (42,453)
- University of California - Los Angeles (41,845)
- California State University - Northridge (40,131)
- California State University - Fullerton (38,128)
- University of California - Berkeley (37,565)
Lowest Average Graduate Tuition
Offering the lowest average graduate tuition rate, California Polytechnic campuses in San Luis Obsipo and Ponoma, all campuses of California State University, Humboldt State, San Diego State, San Francisco State, San Jose State, and Sonoma State all reported a $6,738 average to NCES for the 2015-2016 school year. After those public universities, the schools with the next lowest average graduate tuition rates are all private, nonprofit schools. The following all offer a wide variety of traditional academic programs:
- Concordia University in Irvine ($7,998)
- William Jessup University in Rocklin ($9,600)
- San Diego Christian College in Santee ($9,885)
- Vanguard University of Southern California in Costa Mesa ($9,900)
- Mount Saint Mary's University in Los Angeles ($9,948)
Highest Graduation Rate
Two institutions in the state featured a 100% graduation rate for the 2014-2015 school year, one of which was a specialty school. The following list was calculated using the full-time undergraduates who completed their programs in 150% of the normal time for that school year. Though the information is for undergraduate programs, the graduate success at that level can indicate a quality education at all levels.
- Argosy University - Los Angeles (100% graduation rate)
- Stanford University in Stanford (94% graduation rate)
- University of California - Berkeley (92% graduation rate)
- Claremont McKenna College in Claremont (92% graduation rate)
- University of Southern California in Los Angeles (92% graduation rate)
College-bound students looking for an education in California can consider many criteria, including tution, location and size, when choosing a school that meets their needs.