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Top Ranked School for International Business and Trade - San Diego, CA

San Diego has six schools with programs in international business. Find the best program for you by reading about schools' rankings, program offerings and tuition info.

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School and Ranking Information

With increasing globalization, understanding how to conduct business internationally is becoming essential. Students interested in pursuing studies in international business and trade have about six options to choose from in San Diego, which is located near the international border with Mexico. Among schools offering relevant programs, three stand out for their rankings, graduation rates and program offerings.

  • Winner: Although San Diego State University (SDSU) has a lower overall U.S. News & World Report ranking than the first runner-up, SDSU's undergraduate international business program and business school are both highly ranked.
  • Runner-Up #1: University of San Diego (USD) is a private Catholic school with nationally ranked business programs at the undergraduate and graduate levels.
  • Runner-Up #2: Point Loma Nazarene University, also a private institution, is a well-ranked regional university that offers an undergraduate international business program with a focus on global economic development.

School Comparison Chart

Category San Diego State University University of San Diego Point Loma Nazarene University
2013 Rankings 12th among undergraduate international business programs,
87th among undergraduate business programs,
86th among graduate business schools*
117th among undergraduate business programs,
99th among graduate business schools*
17th among regional universities (West)*
Location San Diego, CA San Diego, CA San Diego, CA
School Type 4-year, public 4-year, private not-for-profit 4-year, private not-for-profit
Tuition & Fees (2012-2013) $6,578 (undergraduate, in-state),
$18,236 (undergraduate, out-of-state),
$7,844 (graduate, in-state),
$17,390 (graduate, out-of-state)**
$39,970 (undergraduate),
$23,310 (graduate)**
$29,510 (undergraduate),
$10,000 (graduate)**
International Business and Trade Award Levels Offered Bachelor's and master's*** Bachelor's and master's*** Bachelor's***
International Business and Trade Degrees Awarded (All Levels) in (2012) 148** 51** N/A
Undergraduate Graduation Rate (in 150% of normal degree time) for 2005 Entering Class 66%** 75%** 72%**
Noteworthy Offers numerous transnational multiple-degree programs*** International internships and other student opportunities available through the Ahlers Center for International Business*** Center for International Development provides international business students with study abroad, internship and job opportunities***

Sources: *U.S. News & World Report, **NCES College Navigator, ***Schools' websites.

Winner: San Diego State University (SDSU)

  • Offered through the federally funded Center for International Business Education and Research (CIBER), the undergraduate international business program at SDSU is one of the largest in the nation, according to the school's website
  • Through exchange programs, international business students can study at schools in countries in Europe, South America and Asia
  • The U.S. Department of Education's Fund for the Improvement of Post Secondary Education (FIPSE) awarded the international business program two $400,000 grants in one year
  • FIPSE designated SDSU as a leading school for providing training for doing business in Brazil
  • Accredited by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB International)

At SDSU, students can pursue a Bachelor of Arts in International Business through the Center for International Business Education and Research (CIBER) in the College of Business Administration. International business is considered an interdisciplinary major that involves mixing cultural/regional and foreign language studies with courses in business administration. Requirements for the bachelor's degree include coursework in a foreign language (Chinese, Arabic, German or Spanish, for example), spending a semester abroad in the region where this language is spoken and undertaking an internship while there.

The MBA program at SDSU doesn't require students to choose an area of specialization; however, for those interested in international business, a concentration is available. To complete it, students take 12-18 units in international business core courses and electives. Core coursework may include international finance, international marketing and global supply chain management. Electives are available in several complementary areas of study, like Latin American Studies, law and economics. This program culminates with either a thesis or business analysis course.

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Runner-Up #1: University of San Diego (USD)

  • During 2010-2011, USD was ranked 1st by the Institute for International Education in students' participation in study-abroad programs, with 86.8% going overseas
  • Businessweek ranked USD 22nd (out of 123 surveyed schools) among undergraduate international business schools in 2013
  • Notable alumni include Lowell McAdam, president and CEO of Verizon Wireless

USD's School of Business Administration is AACSB-accredited and offers an undergraduate major in international business. To fulfill the requirements of this bachelor's degree program, students take 22-23 units of lower-division preparatory courses in financial accounting, calculus, economics, statistics and information systems. At least four semesters of a foreign language and completion of coursework at an international university are also required.

After completing 60 lower-division units, students can begin taking the 18 units of international business courses required for the major. These courses may include international marketing, international economics and comparative management. Students also complete nine units of electives in business and/or area studies. A minor in international business is available, as well.

The 2-year international MBA program at USD requires students to gain experience on two different continents, studying, consulting or interning in each location. Students have done consulting projects in several countries, including South Africa, China and Brazil. Students in this MBA program can choose from seven concentrations, including international business. The full-time and evening MBA programs offer the same international business concentration. In each case, an international practicum is required, as well as courses in international financial management and international comparative management.

Runner-Up #2: Point Loma Nazarene University (PLNU)

  • Accredited by the Association of Collegiate Business Schools and Programs (ACBSP)
  • NCES reports that during the 2011-2012 school year, 95% of incoming students received some type of financial aid
  • Internship opportunities are available in nonprofit organizations in developing countries
  • Numerous study-abroad options
  • Professional development events are available to students through the Fermanian Business & Economic Institute

PLNU's Fermanian School of Business offers an undergraduate degree in business administration with four concentrations: management, marketing, finance and international business. The international business concentration includes a required course in economic development and requires a semester abroad in a developing country. An internship is also required. Additional courses in this concentration may include globalization, sustainability and nonprofit management.

The Center for International Development at PLNU provides international business students opportunities to apply their skills toward combating global poverty. Students can engage in internships in organizations such as Hope International, Plant with Purpose or World Relief. The Fermanian Business and Economic Institute offers undergraduate and graduate students resources to find internships and permanent employment. The Institute also holds various networking events throughout the year to allow students to interact with entrepreneurs and business professionals.

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