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Doctoral Programs in California: Overview of Degree Programs

California is home to over 200 public and private colleges and universities that offer graduate degree programs, including doctorates. Compare some of these using factors such as location and tuition to determine which schools might be right for you.

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Those with an academic or professional background in a particular field may want to earn a doctorate to advance their expertise and perhaps their careers. Learn here which schools are located in urban areas, which have the highest graduation rates and more, according to data from the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES).

California Schools with Doctoral Programs Near Large Cities

There are many schools that offer doctoral degree programs in or near cities in California. For example, Santa Clara University is located in a mid-sized city near San Jose, in the bay area of California. Below are other options for studying in an urban area.

  • California State University- Los Angeles (Los Angeles)
  • San Francisco State University (San Francisco)
  • San Jose State University (San Jose)
  • University of California- San Diego (San Diego)
  • Lincoln University (Oakland)

Largest Schools with Doctoral Programs in California

The largest school in California offering doctoral degree programs is the University of Southern California, a private university in Los Angeles. The total student population at the University of Southern California is 42,453, of which 23,714 are graduate students. The five next biggest schools with doctoral degree programs are listed below.

  • University of California- Los Angeles (41,845)
  • California State University- Northridge (40,131)
  • California State University- Fullerton (38,128)
  • University of California- Berkeley (37,565)
  • California State University- Long Beach (36,809)

Lowest Average Graduate Tuition

The lowest average graduate tuition in California can be found within the state university system. California State University- Fresno, for example, has an average graduate tuition of $6,738, as of the 2015-2016 academic year. Below are five public universities with the same low graduate school tuition cost. The figures, per the NCES, represent tuition for in-state students and do not include fees.

  • San Diego State University ($6,738)
  • California State Polytechnic University- Pomona ($6,738)
  • San Francisco State University ($6,738)
  • San Jose State University ($6,738)
  • California State University- Los Angeles ($6,738)

Highest Graduation Rate

It's a good idea to check out graduation rates when comparing school options because the stats may offer insight into a school's level of academic quality. The NCES calculates graduation rates by determining the percentage of full-time undergraduate students to have completed their programs within 150% of 'normal time.' These figures are for students who began their studies in fall 2009, and unfortunately do not represent graduate students.

  • Argosy University- Los Angeles (100%)
  • Stanford University (94%)
  • University of California- Berkeley (92%)
  • University of Southern California (92%)
  • University of California- Los Angeles (91%)

There are many factors to consider when looking for a doctoral degree program, such as proximity to cities like Los Angeles or Fresno, or student population, among others.

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