Universities in Northern California with Contact Information

Northern California is home to more than 200 colleges and universities. Compare four of the schools in Northern California to determine which one might be right for you.

School Ranking Overview

While Northern California is home to a multitude of postsecondary institutions, this article looks only at four traditional schools that offer a variety of program options. These include one city college, two public universities and one private nonprofit school. The top three of these schools are ranked in each of the following categories:

  • Program Variety
  • Net Price
  • Graduation Rate
  • Student-to-Faculty Ratio

Most Program Variety

Students comparing colleges might prefer a school that offers many learning options. The following schools have the highest number of overall program offerings out of the four schools profiled.

1. University of California - Davis

This Davis university offers a total of 250 educational paths from which to choose. Students can pursue bachelor's through doctoral degrees, and undergraduate and graduate certificate programs are also available. Some popular areas of study include research and experimental psychology, political science, international relations, English, history, mechanical engineering and civil engineering.

2. University of California - Berkeley

Students at this Berkeley institution have around 150 program options. Some of the largest programs by enrollment include policy and management, molecular and cell biology, environmental science and economics. Additionally, U.S. News & World Report ranked the graduate departments of English, history, psychology and sociology among the top in the country, with the graduate programs in engineering, law and business among the nation's top ten in their fields in 2013.

3. City College of San Francisco

This San Francisco college, with 11 campuses spread throughout the city, offers 126 undergraduate programs, including associate degrees and certificates. CCSF's wide range of programs are available through seven academic schools, which cover applied sciences and technology, behavioral and social sciences, health and physical education, science and mathematics, business, international education and liberal arts. All noncredit classes are offered free of charge and are available in such topics as business, child development, English as a second language (ESL), fashion, construction and consumer education.

Lowest Net Price

The National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) estimates the average out-of-pocket expenses full-time undergraduate students will pay at a particular institution. The following figures are based on the difference between the average resident tuition rates and the average financial aid awarded plus cost of textbooks and housing expenses. The rankings below account for students enrolling for the first time in the 2012-2013 academic year.

1. City College of San Francisco

This city college boasted the most affordable tuition among the four schools discussed in this article. On average, undergrads paid $4,563.

2. University of California - Davis

The net price of attendance at this institution was $15,641. Slightly more than three-quarters of full-time undergrads starting here in 2012-2013 were able to receive some form of financial assistance.

3. University of California - Berkeley

Not far behind was UC - Berkeley's net price of $16,614. Sixty-nine percent of first-time undergraduates attending full time were eligible for financial aid.

Highest Graduation Rate

Another factor students might consider when comparing colleges and universities is the graduation rate. The data below accounts for first-time bachelor's degree students enrolled full-time who began studying in 2007 and earned their degree within six years' time, as reported by the NCES.

1. Stanford University

It is not surprising that this renowned university in Stanford, CA, had the highest graduation rate among all four schools. Specifically, 96% of undergraduates had a timely completion rate. In addition, the school had a near-perfect retention rate of 99% among the same classification of undergraduates in the 2012-2013 year.

2. University of California - Berkeley

In close second, UC - Berkeley had a noteworthy 91% undergraduate graduation rate. Even more impressive was the school's 96% retention rate in 2012 and 2013.

3. University of California - Davis

Eighty-one percent of full-time undergraduate students at this university graduated in six years or less. The school's retention rate was 93%.

Lowest Student-to-Faculty Ratio

The NCES also collects data regarding the average number of students per faculty member. Lower student-to-faculty ratios can indicate smaller classes sizes and more one-on-one attention from professors. The following rankings include figures from each school's fall 2013 semester.

1. Stanford University

Stanford University makes it into first place again with an 11:1 student-to-faculty ratio. In 2013, the school had around 18,350 students with a total instructional faculty of nearly 3,260.

2. University of California - Berkeley

On average, there were 17 students for every faculty member at this university. This was out of a total of nearly 36,200 undergraduate and graduate students and slightly more than 4,100 full- and part-time instructional and research faculty.

3. University of California - Davis

While this school tied in ratio (17:1) with UC - Berkeley, it falls into third place because of its smaller student population of roughly 33,300. There were nearly 2,500 instructional personnel out of a total of 4,285 total faculty.

Northern California Schools: At a Glance

School NameLocationSchool Type Programs OfferedArea Ranking
City College of San FranciscoSan Francisco, CA2-year, publicUndergraduate Certificates, Associate's Degrees#3 Program Variety,
#1 Net Price
Stanford UniversityStanford, CA4-year, private nonprofitBachelor's, Master's and Doctoral Degrees; Post-Master's Certificates#1 Graduation Rate,
#1 Student-to-Faculty Ratio
University of California - BerkeleyBerkeley, CA4-year, publicBachelor's, Master's and Doctoral Degrees; Post-Bachelor's Certificates#2 Program Variety,
#3 Net Price,
#2 Graduation Rate,
#2 Student-to-Faculty Ratio
University of California - DavisDavis, CA4-year, publicBachelor's, Master's and Doctoral Degrees; Post-Bachelor's and Post-Master's Certificates#1 Program Variety,
#2 Net Price,
#3 Graduation Rate,
#3 Student-to-Faculty Ratio

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