Lutheran Colleges in California

Apr 12, 2019

A couple colleges in California provide the opportunity for students to pursue a range of degree programs in an environment that embraces the traditions of the Lutheran faith. The main characteristics of these institutions are discussed here.

California offers prospective college students wishing to pursue an undergraduate or graduate program in a Lutheran environment a choice of two university options. Theses schools are located in the southern part of the state near Los Angeles, although one incorporates a theological seminary which is located farther north near San Francisco. The basic information associated with these two institutions, including cost and location, is summarized below.

School Comparison

The following schools in California offer a university education in a Lutheran environment.

School Name Institution Type Location Tuition and Fees (2018-2019)*
California Lutheran University 4-year, private not-for-profit liberal arts university Thousand Oaks $42,692
Concordia University Irvine 4-year, private not-for-profit university Irvine $35,400

*Source: National Center for Education Statistics (NCES)

Description of Schools

Lutheran schools in California offer a wide range of degree programs across numerous subject areas to students. Aspiring scientists, historians, teachers, artists, nurses etc, are presented with many choices, and further details associated with these institutions are outlined below.

California Lutheran University

California Lutheran University (CLU) is a relatively young institution (founded in 1959) and is accredited by the Accrediting Commission for Senior Colleges and Universities of the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC). The student population numbers 4,383 (in 2019), consisting of 3,059 undergraduates and 1,324 graduates. While the school is of the Lutheran denomination, the student body represents a diversity of faiths from 42 states and 49 countries. The average overall class size is 15. CLU has a large faculty comprising 195 full-time faculty and 263 part-time educators, with 84% of full-time faculty in possession of a doctorate or terminal degree. The retention rate at CLU for first-time students starting bachelor's degrees in the fall of 2016 was 85%, and the overall graduation rate for students starting their degree programs in the fall of 2011 was 71%.

This school offers 37 majors and 39 minors for undergraduates, and graduates can select from departments like the Graduate School of Psychology, Graduate School of Education, and Pacific Lutheran Theological Seminary (PLTS). The seminary was founded in 1910 and moved to Berkeley, California in 1952. PLTS became affiliated with CLU in 2014. The student enrollment in 2019 is 1,100, and the faculty numbers over 150. PLTS offers certificates and master's and doctoral programs in a range of theological programs.

Concordia University Irvine

Concordia University Irvine (CUI) was established in 1976 and is a member of the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod and one of the ten universities that make up the Concordia University System. The 70-acre campus is located in the city of Irvine, about 50 miles south of Los Angeles and 70 miles north of San Diego. The university is fully accredited by the WASC Senior College and University Commission. The student population as of 2019 is 4,266, of which 1,504 are undergraduates. There are 88 full-time faculty in the same year, and 61.4% have a doctorate or a terminal degree. The student-to-faculty ratio is 20:1. CUI's retention rate for first time full-time students beginning their bachelor's degree programs in the fall of 2016 was 75%, and the overall graduation rate for students starting their studies in the fall of 2011 was 65%.

The school offers a plethora of undergraduate majors including mass communication, accounting, marketing, political science, mathematics, and acting and theater. Minors include history, biblical studies, behavioral sciences, anthropology, youth ministry, and more. Master's degree programs are available in education, business, theology, counseling, coaching, among others. The university also offers degree programs which can be taken online.

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