List of California Universities with PhD Programs

California is home to 55 public and private universities that offer PhD programs. Find out which schools meet your needs by previewing some statistics from a variety of institutions.

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With numerous different universities to choose from, there are many things to consider when choosing a California school to attend while completing your PhD. Learn about graduation rates, tuition prices, closeness to cities, and student population at various institutions within the state provided by the National Center for Education Statistics.

California Schools Near Large Cities

California is one of the largest states in the country with many big cities within its borders. Appropriately, a number of universities are located in and around those cities. Many students consider it helpful to be able to travel to and from the downtown area within metropolitan areas like this from their college campus, and there are several examples of such in the state. A few schools that fit this description include:

  • Golden Gate University - San Francisco (San Francisco)
  • Bristol University (Anaheim)
  • La Sierra University (Riverside)
  • Bryan University (Los Angeles)
  • University of the Pacific (Stockton)

Largest Schools in California

Large student population are often preferred by many for the increased feeling of community among those attending together. For those enrolled in graduate programs, it is often essential to make friends early on due to the increased workload of their degrees and less free time to socialize and meet new people. The five largest California schools by total student population in fall of 2014 that offer PhD programs were:

  • University of Southern California (42,453)
  • University of California - Los Angeles (41,845)
  • California State University - Northridge (40,131)
  • University of California - Berkeley (37,565)
  • University of California - Long Beach (36,809)

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Lowest Tuition

In general, graduate programs cost more than those offered at the undergraduate level. This is an important consideration for aspiring PhD students who have strict budgets. Of those compared, the following schools have the most reasonable in-state graduate tuition charges, according to 2014-2015 figures from the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES).

  • California Miramar University ($5,840)
  • California State University - Fresno ($7,577)
  • California State University - Los Angeles ($7,621)
  • San Francisco State University ($7,742)
  • California State University - East Bay ($7,830)

Highest Graduation Rate

For students looking for some insight into a school's education quality, it's worth taking a look at graduation rates. The NCES figures in this category are based on full-time undergrads who began their studies in fall 2009 and earned their first degree or certificate within 150% of normal program completion time. Based on this data, these institutions have the highest undergraduate graduation rates of PhD-granting institutions in California.

  • Stanford University (94%)
  • University of Southern California (92%)
  • University of California - Berkeley (92%)
  • University of California - Los Angeles (91%)
  • California Institute of Technology (91%)

It is important to consider many factors when choosing a college to attend, such as its closeness to major cities, the student population, graduate tuition, and the graduation rate.

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