Best Online Colleges & Schools in California

We've created a list of the best online schools in California to help students find the top online college for their needs.

Study.com has crunched the numbers to create this list of amazing online schools in California. By using data from the Department of Education and other reputable sources, Study.com was able to determine each school's ranking down to a science. The schools were also ranked based on the types of online degree programs they provide, the variety of subject matters covered as well as how much academic support their distance learning students receive.

Study.com's school rankings always aim to present schools that are affordable, accessible, and provide a high-quality education which we consider to be the most important attributes in our school rankings. Based on the impressive features of the schools listed below, anyone looking to enroll in an online program in California should be able to find one that fits their needs.

1. National University

Starting off this list of amazing schools is this military-friendly institution that's based in San Diego. National University offers over 90 programs online that are condensed into four-week classes that reduce the time it takes to complete a degree. Members of the military enjoy a reduced tuition at this school and 75 of the school's online programs are designed specifically with them in mind. Its impressive inventory of online programs range from associate's to doctoral degrees that focus on areas such as business, engineering, law, and education among others. At this school, persons with an interest in the elements of marketing can earn a Bachelor of Arts in Integrated Marketing Communications online, while those interested in technical strategies that are used to manage the infrastructure of information systems can pursue the fantastic Master of Science in Cybersecurity and Information Assurance.

2. Foothill College

Foothill College, located in Los Altos Hills, takes pride in providing an outstanding education that is accessible to everyone. When it comes to online learning, students access their programs through the an online learning platform where they can also interact with their peers and instructors. This school offers a wide variety of online associate's degree programs and professional certificates in areas like film, history, and languages, as well as economics. Foothill College also has associate transfer degrees which are great for those who wish to take on a particular pathway to a bachelor's degree in areas related to anthropology, communication studies as well as film, television and electronic media. In addition to the wealth of program offerings, online students at this school will have the benefit of online counseling and online tutoring available to them throughout their studies.

3. Skyline College

Located in San Bruno, one of the many reasons this community college makes it on the list is because it aims to provide comprehensive and innovative programs to its students. Distance learning students at this school uses a robust online learning platform and can use the school's helpful orientation tutorial to familiarize themselves with using an online platform. While most of its online programs are associate's degrees or certificates, there are over 100 of them and they tackle multiple elements of subjects in accounting, art history, automotive technology, business administration, and interdisciplinary studies among others. When enrolled here, online students have access to online counseling. They also have the opportunity to speak with a librarian via online chat, email, or text if they need help with any research tips throughout their studies.

4. California State University - East Bay

The East Bay campus of California State University, found in Hayward, has a mission to provide its online students with high-quality, effective programs with an innovative support structure. The school offers eleven online degree programs in education, healthcare, business, and hospitality, including a single subject teaching credential. One of the interesting online programs offered by California State University - East Bay is a multidisciplinary Bachelor of Arts that has unique concentrations in comparative ethnic studies as well as genders and sexualities in communities of color. The school's online Master of Science in Education has a concentration in online teaching and learning that is meant to teach educators how to impart training materials through a virtual classroom. One of the great things about this program is that it utilizes eight-week classes, which means students can complete it in just three semesters. In addition to providing these wonderfully quick programs, the school also supports its online students through its online tutoring and online assistance with writing assignments.

5. California State University - Dominguez Hills

This Carson-based school, accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC), aims to prepare its online students for global leadership positions through its nine degree programs and numerous certificates. The online programs offered by California State University - Dominguez Hills span undergraduate and graduate levels in subjects such as nursing, engineering, logistics, and sports management. The school has numerous less common program offerings, including a specialist certificate in assistive technology that is meant for people who need their organizations to satisfy the federal requirements for accessibility. There is also a fantastic Bachelor of Science in Quality Assurance that is a great way for prospective quality professionals to learn about the relevant technologies and quality tools. At the graduate level, students can enroll in the unique and highly specialized 36-semester hour Master of Arts in Negotiation, Conflict Resolution and Peace Building.

6. California State University - Northridge

California State University in Northridge offers online programs that are meant to be flexible while advancing its students' skills to prepare them well for future careers. This school offers 18 diverse online programs, including 2 bachelor's degrees and a number of high quality master's degrees. One interesting program this school offers online is a 60-unit multidisciplinary Bachelor of Arts in Public Sector Management that emphasizes the interaction between students and instructors. Distance learning students can also pursue a unique Master of Knowledge Management degree that teaches students how to transfer knowledge, improve organizational performance, and manage intellectual properties. Students in any of the distance learning programs at this school can get tremendous support from the online writing lab where they can receive tutoring via Zoom as well as feedback on their writing.

7. San Diego State University

The undergraduate online programs at San Diego State University are meant for degree completion, but there are also six great master's degree programs that are available fully online 24/7 via a user-friendly online learning platform. A few of the areas these master's degrees cover include education, hospitality, and public health. This school's 18-month Master of Science in Meeting and Event Management focuses on the strategic leadership and organizational skills necessary to become senior managers. San Diego State University also has an excellent WSCA accredited Master of Science in Regulatory Science that helps people pursue a career in the highly sought-after field of regulatory affairs. If any student in these online programs is struggling emotionally or mentally, they can easily access the online mental health resources provided by the school.

8. California State University - Chico

Located in Chico, this campus of California State University has online bachelor's completion degrees, master's, and certificate programs in nursing as well as social sciences. Registered nurses can advance their skills by taking this school's specialized Master of Science in Nursing program that has options for nurse educators or nursing leadership. This great program only has 30 units and in as little as five semesters, students can have their master's degree in hand. The school also offers a certificate in career and life planning that is in line with the code of ethics from the National Career Development Association (NCDA). This 3-course program is ideal for persons who are seeking certification as a career development facilitator. When enrolled in this school's online programs, students also get some well-needed support from the writing center at this school as it helps them understand their assignments and improve their ability to edit their own writing.

9. California State University - Fullerton

California State University in Fullerton, accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges Senior College and University Commission (WSCUC), offers two great online master's degree programs in engineering through its TITANium learning platform. The Master of Science in Software Engineering can be completed in just 22 months and is designed to teach prospective software engineers all the essential skills in topics like software maintenance, software measurement, as well as modern software management. The other program is an engaging 30-semester unit Master of Science in Environmental Engineering that thoroughly prepares students for the Professional Engineering exam. As an added plus, online students at this school are able to access online writing tutors as well as communicate with online learning support via email.

10. California State University - San Bernardino

At California State University - San Bernardino, online students have access to several of the same innovative and flexible graduate programs as the students on campus. This school's online programs focus on areas related to education, law, and business. Its MBA, accredited by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB), is a great way for professionals with at least two years of experience to upgrade their skills without needing to take the GRE or GMAT for admission. There is also a Master of Social Work which is accredited by the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE) that has courses available online, with a fieldwork aspect that can easily be done within the distance-learning students' communities. It's important to note that distance learning students at this school will be able to get online writing consultations through video chats to help them succeed in their studies.

11. The Master's University and Seminary

One of the many reasons this Santa Clarita school makes the list is because all of its Christ-centered online programs are in an accelerated format. This means students can complete a bachelor's degree in just two years while graduate students can earn their master's degree in as little as a year, saving students substantial time and money. One of the five bachelor's degree programs offered by The Master's University and Seminary is a 54-credit Bachelor of Science in Business Management, which teaches students about vital topics like accounting, business law, and information system applications. The school also has three master's programs which include a 33-unit Master of Education in Teaching that gives educators the practical skills they need to be effective in a modern classroom. All the online programs at this school are given through an online learning platform that allows students the ability to easily interact with their peers and instructors.

12. Humboldt State University

Humboldt University, located in Arcata, is committed to giving all of its students the skills they need to make a difference in the world. The school's online programs include master's degrees and certificates in areas related to education, law, and design. Some of their master's degree programs have a short on-campus requirement like the Master of Arts in Applied Anthropology, which has a summer institute and the Master of Social Work that has a four-day on-campus session. On the other hand, the graduate certificates tend to be completely online, like the school's accelerated geospatial certificate. All distance learning students at this school learn through a robust online learning platform and get phenomenal support through helpful learning tools such as tutoring through videoconferencing.

13. California State University - Stanislaus

Situated in Turlock, this campus of California State University offers two fully online programs - one at the undergraduate level and the other, at the graduate level. Students who study online here will access their lectures through an easy to use online learning platform and can take advantage of the excellent support the school provides by using communication tools to facilitate online meetings between students and instructors. Program wise, there is a 30-unit Bachelor of Arts in Gender Studies program has interesting concentrations in history, society, and inequality; culture, ideology, and representation; as well as ethnicity, nationality, and sexuality. The graduate program is a 30-unit Master of Business Administration, which has concentrations in accounting, finance, and business analytics. As if learning online wasn't convenient enough, distance learners here have the added advantage of being able to source and order their textbooks through the school's online bookstore.

14. San Jose State University

This school offers six online programs all at the graduate level, and focus on areas related to nursing, business, and law, among others. San Jose State University ensures its online students have an interactive learning experience by using accessible books, apps, and video conferencing technologies. One of the great programs offered here is a Post-Master's Certificate in Library and Information Science, which focuses on the trends of the information aspect of this field as well as the application of technology. And among the unique master's degree programs is a 30-credit Master of Science in Criminology with a concentration in Global Criminology that is great for those who are interested in learning about the justice system from a local as well as global perspective.

15. California State University - San Marcos

California State University in San Marcos offers 13 online degrees and certificates at both the undergraduate and graduate levels that focus on areas such as nursing, education, and technology. One great program is an accelerated Bachelor of Arts in Sociology that students can enroll in during either of two starts a year and complete within only 16 months. This program works well for those who want to build their skills in analyzing social experiences and issues. California State University - San Marcos also offers a Master of Arts in Educational Administration that has small, focused classes, and allows students to earn their degree as well as clear administrative credential in just a year. When studying online at this school, students who need academic assistance can easily contact tutors through the portal provided by the writing center.

16. Touro University Worldwide

Touro University Worldwide has its main campus in Los Alamitos and as its name suggests, this school is committed to giving online students a high-quality education without the need for in-person classrooms. All of its 21 programs are in an online format and they span from associate's to doctoral degrees that focus on subjects like psychology, health sciences, and business, as well as public administration. This is one of the few schools on this list with fully online doctoral programs, giving students the opportunity to choose from a Doctor of Business Administration, Doctor of Management, Doctorate Physician Assistant or a Doctor of Psychology in Human and Organizational Psychology. This school's orientation is fully online and when enrolled, students will have access to online academic advisors. Impressively, students with disabilities who are studying online can apply for special assistance such as sign language services.

17. California State University - Channel Islands

Located in Camarillo, California State University - Channel Islands offers an undergraduate and certificate program online. This school's unique Business Administration Certificate can be completed in a quick seven to nine months and satisfies the prerequisite courses for a Master of Business Administration. The Bachelor of Science in Business is a degree completion program that students can complete in just 16 months. Some of the topics that are covered in this program are information systems, marketing and accounting. Regardless of their level of study, distance learning students at this school have opportunities for specialized online tutoring through both the learning resource and writing centers.

18. California State University - Fresno

This Fresno-based school makes the list not only because of its online programs but also the level of academic support that it provides. California State University - Fresno uses a robust online learning platform for all online degree completion, full degree, and certificate programs. At this WASC-accredited school, students can earn advanced study certificates in geographic information systems as well as community and regional planning. The school also offers a unique Master of Science in Water Resource Management that builds on geographic information systems to teach students about the essential aspects of water management. If online students need help with their studies, they can benefit from online tutoring resources for specific programs, as well as live consultations from the supplemental instruction department.

19. California State University - Sacramento

Based in Sacramento, this campus of California State University ensures its online students have a high-quality education experience by implementing a quality assurance program that includes continuous review and peer mentoring. While most of the online offerings at this school are bachelor degree completion programs, students can also earn a Master of Science in Accountancy. This program meets the credit-hour requirements of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA) and fully covers all the information students need to know for the Certified Public Accountant (CPA) exam. When learning online, California State University - Sacramento students can engage with their fellow students and instructors through the online learning platform.

20. California State University - Long Beach

California State University in Long Beach has an impressive support system for its online students, this includes the online workshops that are available as well as convenient online tutoring. One of the programs available at this school is an exciting Master of Business Administration that can cover topics like financial management, managerial accounting, as well as marketing concepts, and can be completed in just 21 months. One of the great things about this program is that it culminates in an international trip to places like Lisbon, Madrid, or Berlin, giving online online students the opportunity to see what they've learned being put into practice.

21. University of California - Riverside

University of California - Riverside prides itself on providing the same level of interaction with its online students as with those who are enrolled at the Riverside campus. The University of California - Riverside's wide variety of online professional programs focus on the areas of health care, business, law, and education. For example, students can earn certificates in interesting topics like accounting for governmental and nonprofit organizations, educational therapy and fiduciary management. There are also some 13-month, specialized online engineering master's degrees that are great for engineers who are interested in bioengineering, data science, electrical engineering, environmental engineering systems, materials at the nanoscale, and mechanical engineering. Whichever program online students choose, they can benefit from excellent online academic support through the academic resource center.

22. University of California - Berkeley

UC Berkeley offers students the opportunity to advance their careers through online professional certificates and master's degrees. Among these programs, the school offers a 14-unit professional certificate in project management for beginners as well as an advanced program that allows project managers to stand out from the pack. Another great program at this school is an accelerated Master of Information and Data Science where students can complete their 27 units of interdisciplinary courses in a year. In this program, students benefit from small, collaborative classes with face-to-face interactions between students and their instructors. The great thing about enrolling in an online program at this school is that some courses have continuous enrollment, which means students can start learning at any time in the year.

23. California State University - Bakersfield

This California State University offers online programs at both the undergraduate and graduate levels. For students who are unsure about distance learning, they can check their readiness using the school's online quiz before taking a completely online orientation. The online programs here include business, communications, administration and education. Of particular note is the AACSB-accredited Master of Business Administration that has 36 credits and three unique specializations in accounting, insurance industry as well as nonprofit/healthcare/public administration. Another great program is the Master of Arts in Education that has a concentration in Curriculum and Instruction. It's accredited by both the WASC and the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE) and educators who earn this degree can also get their Commission on Teacher Credentialing (CTC) approved Reading and Literacy Added Authorization.

24. California Baptist University

One of the great things about this Riverside-based school is the flexibility it gives to its online students when it comes to the available programs and academic support. Distance-learning students at California Baptist University will benefit from a personal enrollment counselor and if they have any academic challenges, online tutoring is always available. For those who are interested in earning a degree at a faster pace, California Baptist University offers a wide range of bachelor's, master's and doctorate programs at an accelerated format. For example, while students can earn a Doctor of Public Administration online in as little as three years, it's also possible to complete degrees like a Bachelor of Arts in Human Services or a Master of Science in Education in half that time. Regardless of the field of study, this school helps prepare its students for life after graduation through an online career services support center that provides guidance in writing resumes, searching for jobs, and being interviewed.

25. Azusa Pacific University

This Christian school is located in Azusa and boasts online programs that are of the same commendable quality as its on-campus ones. The programs at this school that are strictly online include bachelor degree completion programs, master's degrees, as well as certificates. What's interesting about Azusa Pacific University is that it translates a few master's programs that are usually in-person into a largely online format with a small residency element. With this option, students are able to earn their graduate degrees through online courses and only a few weeks on-campus during the summer. Two of the programs that have this option are the Master of Arts in Art Education and the Master of Arts in Music Entrepreneurship.

To get a more in-depth look at our school ranking methodology, please visit Study.com's ranking methodology page.

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