Those interested in the liberal arts school experience who also want to have their spiritual lives enriched through on-campus worship and learning have some great options in the state of California. Similarities and differences in tuition, majors, and location are explored below.
California Liberal Arts Colleges Comparison
These five California schools offer liberal arts degree programs of varying denominations, locations, and cost, while all focusing on the growth of their students' spiritual lives.
|School Name||Institution Type||Denomination||Location||Undergraduate Tuition (2017-2018)*|
|Thomas Aquinas College||4-year, private not-for-profit||Roman Catholic||Santa Paula, CA||$24,500|
|Pacific Union College||4-year, private not-for-profit||Seventh Day Adventist||Angwin, CA||$29,469|
|Providence Christian College||4-year, private not-for-profit||Undenominational||Pasadena, CA||$29,372|
|Westmont College||4-year, private not-for-profit||Undenominational||Santa Barbara, CA||$44,044|
|Point Loma Nazarene University||4-year, private not-for-profit||Church of the Nazarene||San Diego, CA||$34,600|
Source: NCES College Navigator
Find schools that offer these popular programs
- General Studies
- Liberal Arts and Sciences
Description of Christian Liberal Arts Colleges in California
These Christian schools offer liberal arts degrees at the bachelor's degree level, with some also offering pre-med and graduate programs. The colleges listed celebrate the integration of California culture and offer numerous school activities, including athletics and clubs, as well as Christian meeting groups and chapel services.
Thomas Aquinas College
Thomas Aquinas College, located in Santa Paula, is a liberal arts college with a student population of 369 undergraduates, according to the NCES. This college is unique in that there are no majors, textbooks, or traditional lectures. The original texts of the great thinkers of the world are read and discussed as part of a comprehensive 4-year path of study, with the hopes of turning students into insightful, curious, and thoughtful young adults. Christian writers are studied, such as St. Augustine and St. Thomas Aquinas, as well as the work of the greatest philosophers, scientists, mathematicians, and poets. Mass is offered four times daily on-campus, along with opportunities for retreats, vocations talks, and holy hours.
Pacific Union College
According to the school website, Pacific Union is the only Adventist college or university recognized as a National Liberal Arts College by the U.S. News & World Report. Numerous degree options are offered on the associate and bachelor's levels, including aviation, communications, music, and pre-med programs. In addition to the cultural exposure that is plentiful in the Bay Area, Pacific Union offers plenty of internship and study abroad opportunities. Students' spiritual life is celebrated and expanded through weekly student worship, cell groups, and guest speakers. Home cooked lunches are offered to students every third Sabbath of the month.
Providence Christian College
Providence Christian College believes that learning should be guided by faith, even in the liberal arts. Students are encouraged to attend chapel on Wednesdays and Fridays, as well as engage with other campus activities, such as intramural sports, film society, and drama association. Providence offers a liberal studies degree in ten different concentrations, including psychology, education, and English. Students may become part of the Avodah Program, where they may take part in field trips and cross-culture events in order to broaden their experiences and become active members of the global community.
Santa Barbara's Westmont College offers many options at the bachelor of arts and bachelor of science levels, including art history, religious studies, sociology, and theater arts. Pre-professional programs are available in dentistry, law, nursing, and medicine, among others. Adventure Club, Writer's Guild, and NSTEP Dance Team are just some of the over 40 clubs and organizations to choose from. Westmont is a nondenominational Christian school that offers students three on-campus chapel services a week, worship teams, and service trips to Mexico. As of 2018, Westmont has 1,300 undergraduate students with 10 to 1 student-to-faculty ratio, according to the NCES.
Point Loma Nazarene University
According to the NCES, San Diego's Point Loma Nazarene University has 4,417 students and a student-to-faculty ratio of 14 to 1, as of the 2017-2018 school year. Point Loma offers bachelor degree programs in numerous areas of study, including English, art, ministry, Spanish, and pre-law. Those looking to obtain advanced degrees can find master's programs in areas such as business, biology, and education, as well as a doctorate program in nursing. The campus boasts an NCAA Division II athletics program and a wide range of student clubs and organizations, such as debate, film society, microfinance club, and musical theater. PLNU focuses on spiritual growth through chapel services, peer-led groups, homeless ministries, and LoveWorks, a mission program that has sent students to almost 70 different areas of the world.