Protestant Colleges in California

Colleges and universities affiliated with, or related to, Protestant churches are predominant across the US, and this trend is especially prominent in California. Here, a summary of Protestant higher education institutes is provided.

Protestantism is the second largest form of Christianity and consists of a number of denominations and branches. A number of colleges and universities in the state of California were either established by followers of Protestant movements and have maintained a close link to a related church or have later formed an affiliation or relationship with a Protestant branch or movement. Key information about some of the most well-known California Protestant colleges and universities is outlined in the rest of this article.

School comparison

A summary of the locations, fee information, and institution types of some well-known Protestant colleges/universities in California is provided by the following table.

School Name Denomination Institution Type Location In-State Tuition (2018-2019)*
Biola University Nondenominational (Evangelical Christian) 4-year, private not-for-profit La Mirada $40,488 per year
California Baptist University Baptist 4-year, private not-for-profit Riverside $33,478 per year
California Christian College Baptist 4-year, private not-for-profit Fresno $9,570 per year
Californian Lutheran University Lutheran 4-year, private not-for-profit Thousand Oaks $42,692 per year
Concordia University Irvine Lutheran 4-year, private not-for-profit Irvine $35,400 per year
Life Pacific College Pentecostal 4-year, private not-for-profit San Dimas $15,654 per year

Source: *National Center for Education Statistics

Description of Schools

The Protestant-inspired colleges/universities featured in the table above, as a whole, offer prospective students a very wide range of programs in many different subject areas. Students do not necessarily have to practice the Protestant faith to attend these institutions, and numerous faiths are represented amongst the student bodies, but the environment provided by the schools is tailored towards their designated denomination affiliation. In this next section, further important information is provided regarding each institution.

Biola University

Biola University was established in 1908 to educate men and women and to provide an environment where they could be inspired by the gospel. The 95-acre campus is located in La Mirada in the Greater Los Angeles Area and consists of more than 40 major buildings. The university offers more than 150 undergraduate, graduate and online programs across the arts, humanities and sciences, and institutional accreditation is provided by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC) Senior College and University Commission.

Currently, Biola has a student body of 6,172 (4,048 undergraduates) and the student-to-faculty ratio is 14 to 1. The student body is provided with a learning environment that is unmistakably Christ-centered, although numerous faiths are represented on campus.

Californian Baptist University

California Baptist University (CBU) was opened in 1950 by the California Southern Baptist Convention and provides its current student body of more than 10,000 with a Christ-centered environment rooted in the traditions of the Southern Baptist movement as reflected by its 100% Christian faculty and staff. The university is accredited by WASC and its specific programs are approved by a number of organizations such as the California Commission on Teacher Credentialing and State of California Board of Registered Nursing. CBU offers 76 bachelor's degree programs, 31 master's degree programs and 3 doctoral programs across a wide range of subject areas.

California Christian College

The creation of California Christian College (CCC) in 1955 was inspired by the vision of 48 Free Will Baptist Churches across the western US. Today CCC has a tiny student body of 16 undergraduates who are working towards their awards in Christian and Bible studies. These programs are accredited by the Transnational Association of Christian Colleges and Schools. For CCC students starting their programs in Fall 2011, 100% graduated.

Californian Lutheran University

Founded in 1959, California Lutheran University (CLU) is relatively small institution which is affiliated with Evangelical Lutheran Church in America and is set on a 225-acre campus a short distance from the Southern California coast. CLU's student body currently numbers 4,383 (3,059 undergraduates) representing 42 states and 49 countries across a range of faiths and cultures. The student body is complemented by a faculty of over 450 members who teach a varied selection of programs (37 majors and 39 minors) across the arts, humanities, sciences and technology. CLU also incorporates the Pacific Lutheran Theological Seminary which offers theological programs for ministry preparation and is accredited by the Commission on Accrediting of the Association of Theological Schools.

Concordia University Irvine

Established in 1976 and formerly known as Christ College Irvine, Concordia University Irvine (CUI), like all other colleges of the Concordia University System, is affiliated with the Lutheran Church - Missouri Synod and, as such, provides a higher education environment guided by Lutheran beliefs. At present, the CUI student body numbers 4,266, of which 1,504 are undergraduates, and there are 88 full-time faculty with a student-to-faculty ratio of 20 to 1. These students and faculty operate across 26 undergraduate majors, 50 specializations, 9 graduate programs, 4 nursing programs and 6 online bachelor's degree programs. These programs are delivered within five schools specializing in subjects across the arts, humanities, business, education and professional studies.

Life Pacific College

Life Pacific College (LPC) was first opened to students in 1923 and maintains an affiliation with the Foursquare Church and ensures a Pentecostal academic environment for its 581 students to learn in. These students are enrolled in one of either two associate programs, eight bachelor's degree programs (two of which are delivered online) and two online graduate programs. The majority of these programs are religion-based but business administration, communication, management, psychology and leadership are all taught at LPC. These programs are accredited by the WASC Senior College and University Commission and the Association for Biblical Education.


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