California Online Colleges & Universities – Top Online Schools for 2014

California has more than 750 post-secondary schools that serve an estimated 4 million students each year, ranking the state first nationwide in student volume. In addition to boasting the largest community college system in the nation, as well as some of the world's most prestigious universities, college-bound men and women flock to the state for its stand-out diversity and career opportunity. Los Angeles, San Francisco, San Jose and other urban centers give students a great chance to live, learn and grow after graduation.

Most Popular Cities in California for College Students

From beach cities to desert towns, from wine country to mountain views, the choices are endless in California. Students can select a small-town college or major university—whatever their desire. Below is a list of some of the most popular areas to attend college in the state.

Highest College Student Populations (Total)

  • Los Angeles (183,000)
  • San Diego (160,000)
  • Sacramento (153,000)
  • San Francisco (108,000)
  • Long Beach (67,700)

Locations with Most Colleges (Total)

  • Los Angeles (65)
  • San Diego (37)
  • Sacramento (23)
  • San Francisco (22)
  • Oakland (16)

City Spotlight: Colleges in Los Angeles

The U.S. Census Bureau reports that 30 percent of residents aged 25 and older have completed a bachelor’s degree or higher, which exceeds the national average. The region hosts three campuses of the University of California system, more than 20 private colleges and universities, and seven campuses of the California State University system. Several well-known research universities call Southern California home, including Pepperdine University, California Institute of Technology (Cal Tech), the Claremont Colleges and Loyola Marymount University. The University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) was ranked 23rd in U.S. News & World Report’s 2014 edition of Best Colleges, National Universities. Twenty Nobel Prize winners have come out of Los Angeles-based institutions of higher education since 1923.

The greater Los Angeles metropolitan region is also home to the nine campuses of the Los Angeles Community College District (LACCD), the largest junior college system in the nation, serving an area of over 880 square miles. Angelenos looking for specialized education in the city and its environs could choose the oldest college within LACCD, Los Angeles Trade Technical College, or a number of independent schools that reflect the area's economic and cultural foundations. These training options include the Fashion Institute of Design & Merchandising, Otis College of Art and Design, or Global Cinematography Institute (GCI), which merges the California traditions of movie-making and high-tech. Another option, the nonprofit American Film Institute Conservatory, has been rated as one of the strongest film schools in the country.

Distance Learning in Los Angeles: Online Schools and Courses

For distance learners, there are 331 online degree programs in California, with many available in Los Angeles. The online graduate computer information technology program at the University of Southern California (USC) was named the 2014 top online program by U.S. News & World Report, and the non-profit University of La Verne ranked among the top online bachelor’s degree programs. U.S. News also named UCLA second in the nation for its online graduate engineering program. A USC Dornsife/Los Angeles Times poll revealed that nearly 60 percent of students agree that online learning makes higher education more affordable and more accessible. All LACCD colleges offer online courses, and West Los Angeles College has an extensive online learning system, including its hybrid degree program options.

Los Angeles is a magnet for individuals seeking a relaxed life style in a city rich in cultural diversity and entertainment -- only 59.4 percent of residents were born there. Educational opportunities, including flexible options for online learning, contribute to the many attractions of the City of the Angels.

City Spotlight: San Diego Colleges and Universities

Laid-back San Diego, home to 1,356,000 residents, is the ninth fastest-growing city in the nation and has surpassed San Jose as the second-largest city in California. San Diego’s educational and research institutions attract scholars from Europe, the Americas and Asia. Moreover, San Diego’s abundance of state colleges and universities, private schools, community colleges and online degree programs attract students who relish the idea of living in what has been called “America’s Finest City.” CNN Money has rated San Diego one of the country’s smartest cities. The U.S. Census Bureau found that more than 40 percent of San Diego residents aged 25 or over have completed a bachelor’s degree, which is a much higher rate than the national average.

Six public universities and community colleges serve San Diego, along with more than 20 private colleges and the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine. Students can choose among programs across the curriculum at undergraduate and graduate levels. For example, the Catholic private college, University of San Diego, is home to a Tier 1-ranked school of law. U.S. News & World Report named the UC San Diego graduate school 14th in the nation for Best Engineering Schools for 2014, with UCSD ranking 39th among national universities. The Scripps Research Institute (TSRI), a well-known biomedical research laboratory, is located in nearby La Jolla. TSRI's graduate school, the Kellogg School of Science and Technology, is famed for the interdisciplinary doctoral program in chemical and biological sciences, ranked third in the nation for biological sciences by U.S. News.

Online Learning at San Diego Colleges

Many San Diego schools and colleges offer certificates and degree programs that are wholly web-based or hybrid, blending on-campus and online instruction. San Diego State University, for example, serves up more than 20 certificates and five master’s degree programs entirely online. The University of San Diego offers its Master of Education (MEd) degree program in an e-learning format. “Pause, rewind, replay” is the catchphrase at UC San Diego Extension, which presents more than 30 fully online professional certificate programs. Certificate specialty areas include biofuels, business, computer programming, emergency department nursing, project management and wireless engineering.

San Diegans also have access to private colleges and online schools dedicated solely to delivering degree programs over the Internet. Privately owned Columbia College offers 800 classes and 27 degrees entirely online to some 24,000 students a year. When San Diego students aren’t face-down in the books, they may be hang-gliding off the cliffs at Torrey Pines, careening along mountain bike trails, or driving down to beaches where the waves are steady and strong.

Online Colleges in California

Private, for-profit institutions started the online college boon years ago, but more traditional colleges and universities have joined in recently. In California, many schools are now offering distance learning programs as part of their already diverse curriculum. Students have flexible alternatives to traditional post-secondary studies, allowing them to continue their education remotely even with other, pressing responsibilities. The University of Southern California's USC Online, for example, has more than 80 fully online programs in areas such as business and accounting, communication, computer science and education. USC Online focuses exclusively on graduate programs with a majority of offerings at the master's level. This allows working professionals maximum flexibility to participate in lessons and submit coursework. USC's online wing also places significant emphasis on digital innovation.

Tuition, Fees and Cost of Living

Tuition is typically one of the first things potential college students think about when they begin their journey to higher education. And with good reason, since tuition usually boasts the highest cost. Though tuition varies by the type of college, location and state residency, California residents paid an average of $12,550 per year for tuition in 2012. This places the state at 20th in the country for in-state tuition.

Beyond tuition, additional costs often accompany a college degree. At most schools, students must pay for parking and recreation facilities, as well as special class and lab fees. And there are nearly always fees to apply to and enroll in the school. Additional fees, when added to tuition for California college students, brought the total in-state tuition and fees to $12,750 per year in 2012.

Though tuition has the biggest financial impact, individuals must also consider living expenses when making a college-related decision. The cost of living in California is about 32 percent higher than the national average. Below is the cost of living (COL) for some of California’s largest cities, compared to the national mean (100%):

Urban Area Composite Index Housing Groceries Utilities Transportation Health Care Misc.
Fort Smith 3.4% -1.6% 7.6% 4.3% 11.3% 7.2% 3.1%
Riverside City 12.5% 36.3% 4.9% -0.1% 13.4% 4.4% -0.9%
Sacramento 16.2% 35.7% 14.7% 9.6% 14.4% 10.8% 2.8%
Fresno 17.3% 31.2% 15.8% 23.6% 14.5% 6.8% 5.9%
Palm Springs 21.8% 54.2% 11.5% 12.7% 10.2% 0.8% 6.1%
San Diego 32.3% 94.4% 5.5% 1.9% 13.1% 11.5% 5.8%
Long Beach 36.4% 107.1% 6.0% 1.7% 13.6% 9.1% 7.0%
Oakland 39.1% 98.8% 16.8% -5.3% 13.6% 19.9% 19.0%
Orange County 46.4% 142.8% 4.5% 3.2% 14.6% 11.6% 5.2%
Truckee-Nevada County 46.9% 108.3% 32.2% 14.3% 21.5% 12.0% 20.5%
San Jose 56.1% 160.3% 15.3% 37.2% 14.0% 19.0% 3.6%
San Francisco 64.0% 181.0% 11.9% -5.5% 13.0% 17.0% 24.3%

With a little research, you can take the guesswork out of finding top schools in California that deliver a solid return on your educational investment. The following schools represent the very best in the state for ROI (average lifetime earnings for graduates minus total cost of attendance):

  • Harvey Mudd College
  • California Institute of Technology
  • Stanford University
  • Claremont McKenna College
  • Santa Clara University

Financial Assistance and Scholarships

Financial assistance and scholarships offer a way to attend college without breaking the bank. California students have a huge variety of national, state and school-based options when looking for aid. Students start with filling out mandatory FAFSA forms, and need-based funds are determined first. In 2012, an estimated 63 percent of California college students received federal aid of some kind. It is fairly typical for students in the state to request aid to complete that college degree.

Many students also look to scholarships for financial assistance. Students do not have to repay scholarship funds, making them a coup for many. Individual learning institutions, non-profit organizations, private companies and the government may offer scholarships to undergraduates in California. Below are some of the entities from which students can obtain a scholarship:

  • 4-H
  • Association of California Water Agencies
  • Boys & Girls Club of Ventura
  • California Mathematics Council
  • California Wine Grape Growers Foundation
  • Central California Asian Pacific Women
  • Disneyland
  • eQuality
  • Jewish Family and Children’s Services
  • McDonald’s
  • Sacramento Press Club
  • San Diego BBB
  • SFSB Fleischmann
  • South Coast Water
  • TELACU

Accreditation Standards in California

It’s important to research a college's accreditation, especially if a student plans to receive federal assistance. Most funding sources require that a student's school meets minimum quality standards verified by an independent accrediting agency. California colleges should hold accreditation from organizations such as the Western Association of Schools and Colleges, the region's primary accrediting body. In addition, many California universities seek accreditation from specialized agencies, mostly to illustrate quality of schools and programs in a certain field. For instance, Stanford's School of Medicine holds accreditation from the Liaison Committee on Medical Education, a national accrediting body for educational programs that lead to an M.D.

Conclusion

There are many factors current and prospective California students should think about when researching their college of choice. Which college to attend, the type of program, and how to pay for higher education are all important aspects of the decision-making process. The information contained on this page can provide a useful starting place. Below are more details on California schools, as well as specific online programs and course listings.

Read More

To get a better sense of the true landscape of online learning in California, we asked each of the colleges on our list to answer a few questions about what makes their programs unique. We heard back from a few of the state's best institutions. See what they said below:

Online Departments in California
  • Brandman University +

    How would you describe your institution's approach to online learning?

    Brandman's approach to online education is to provide high quality, flexible, accessible, and cost efficient degree programs to adult learners. In a spectrum where for-profit universities dominate, we provide a non-profit institution that uses its revenue to better the student experience and not the stockholders.

    What makes your online programs so valuable to students?

    We provide high demand degrees such as a BSN or DNP in nursing and teacher credentialing. We also provide personal coaching, an advisor for each student, and student services provided by one-stop experts so that students won't need to navigate the phone system to receive the attention they need.

    Where do you see your online programs in the next five years? Beyond?

    We plan to be an innovative provider of competency based education programs by the start of 2015. Students can enroll in a program that measures "what you have learned" rather than credit hours or classroom seat time. This allows a student a self-paced program that could turn their work experience into a degree once they pass a set of competencies. The cost for a competency-based degree would be significantly less and so would the time it takes to complete the degree.

  • California State University-San Bernardino +

    How would you describe your institution's approach to online learning?

    We take a measured, intentional approach to online learning, utilizing best practices in instructional design to develop and deliver highly interactive online courses and programs. We provide these courses and programs to enable those who could not physically attend classes to gain the same quality education as our on-site students. Our mission to serve our region and beyond drives our commitment to online learning.

    What makes your online programs so valuable to students?

    The ability to gain a high quality Cal State education despite challenges of location, job commitments and family commitments makes our programs highly valuable for students. Beyond our regional accreditation, many of our programs are members of an elite group of nationally accredited programs. All of our courses are taught by experienced and world-class faculty.

    Where do you see your online programs in the next five years? Beyond?

    We expect to continue to expand our offerings beyond our current graduate programs in Education, Criminal Justice, Public Administration, Business, Nursing and Social Work. We anticipate adding undergraduate degree completion programs in social work, liberal studies and other disciplines in the social sciences. We anticipate significant growth in student enrollments in both graduate and undergraduate programs.

  • Palo Alto University +

    How would you describe your institution's approach to online learning?

    We actually have a hybrid undergraduate program, which combines two online courses per quarter with one course taught one evening per week on campus. We believe in the flexibility and convenience of online learning but also feel it's critical for students to connect with their professors and one another. This creates and solidifies their learning community. Palo Alto University's two-year-long, bachelor degree completion programs are taught using a cohort model, and so students take some 22 course together over a two year period, further enhancing their sense of community and their support for one another. 85% of our students graduate with their bachelor degree in two years. Our masters programs are offered in a hybrid format or all online.

    What makes your online programs so valuable to students?

    We teach our undergraduate courses online, but all of our students are local. They can meet with their professors or TAs, visit the PAU library, work with tutors, and participate in any campus activities they wish. In our graduate masters programs we have students from across the United States and often all seven continents.

    Where do you see your online programs in the next five years? Beyond?

    Palo Alto University's bachelor degree completion programs are taught in partnerships with local community colleges. We recruit students who have already completed their freshman and sophomore years at the community college, and they complete their junior and senior coursework with PAU. Currently, PAU has partnerships with De Anza College, Foothill College and the College of San Mateo. Over the next 5 years, PAU plans to develop other partnerships with bay area community colleges. In our masters programs we offer the counseling programs worldwide using the global advancement of counseling excellence initiative: education globally online, train locally on the ground. In PAU's science masters programs, courses are didactic in nature and are offered online to a global student body, however, students have the option to come to Palo Alto University for summer intensives or summits. A big piece of Palo Alto University’s future includes a masters program in partnership with Stanford University at a reasonable cost.

The most populous state in the nation, California furthers its reach with an abundance of online learning opportunities. These four-year online colleges are accredited and offer both degree and certification programs for distance-learning students. California prides itself in esteemed higher education, and this pride can be seen in the choices offered through their online curriculum. Ordered from lowest tuition to highest, you’ll find that online schools in California offer prospective students a great combination of affordability and flexibility.

Click here to see our methodology.
1
California State University-Monterey Bay
Tuition and fees: $5,963 Enrollment: 5,170 Accredited: YES Website: California State University-Monterey Bay

California State University at Monterey Bay specializes in graduate-level education through its online MBA program offering. This Executive Track program was designed for experienced business executives interested in learning more about corporate leadership, entrepreneurship, global business and sharp-edged technology. The program is accredited through the Western Association of Schools and Colleges.

2
California State University-Dominguez Hills
Tuition and fees: $6,095 Enrollment: 12,658 Accredited: YES Website: California State University-Dominguez Hills

California State University at Dominguez Hills provides online college learning options through its "DominguezOnline" program. The school is accredited by the Accrediting Commission for Senior Colleges and Universities of the Western Association of Schools and Colleges. Students will find online bachelor's and master's degrees and several undergraduate certificates available.

3
California State University-Fullerton
Tuition and fees: $6,120 Enrollment: 33,056 Accredited: YES Website: California State University-Fullerton

California State University-Fullerton offers students two online college programs, one leading to a BA in Sociology and the other to a BA in Business Administration. The advantages of an online education include 24/7 access to course materials, participation from anywhere at any time when most convenient to your schedule, and cost savings and environmental impact in regards to commuting.

4
California State University-Long Beach
Tuition and fees: $6,240 Enrollment: 31,053 Accredited: YES Website: California State University-Long Beach

California State University at Long Beach offers a number of e-learning opportunities to online college students wanting to advance their education. These include individual and professional certificate distance-learning programs. The school also offers a Master's of Science degree in Emergency Service Administration fully online. All advising, curriculum and student research presentations for this degree are expressly designed for the distance-learning format.

5
California State University-Fresno
Tuition and fees: $6,263 Enrollment: 20,324 Accredited: YES Website: California State University-Fresno

California State University at Fresno offers several master's degree options and teacher education courses through its distance-learning program. Online college graduate degrees include an MBA, Master's of Arts in Reading and Master's of Science in Water Resource Management. The e-learning teacher education courses run the gamut, but include several that focus on early childhood education.

6
California State University-Channel Islands
Tuition and fees: $6,316 Enrollment: 4,433 Accredited: YES Website: California State University-Channel Islands

California State University at the Channel Islands will offer a master's degree in computer science online through its extended university and international programs department. The online college program, intended to become available in 2015, will use up-to-date technology for various industrial and applied computer science fields, and be offered in a fully online, accelerated format.

7
California State University-East Bay
Tuition and fees: $6,414 Enrollment: 13,141 Accredited: YES Website: California State University-East Bay

California State University at East Bay provides undergraduate and graduate level learning available online. At the certificate level, online college programs are offered for academic credit or continuing education and students can also find degree programs in business, education and health care. More than a half-dozen options are available through distance learning for teachers seeking continuing education courses

8
California State University-San Bernardino
Tuition and fees: $6,454 Enrollment: 17,324 Accredited: YES Website: California State University-San Bernardino

California State University at San Bernardino offers both blended and online college degree programs to students interested in distance learning. Bachelor's and master's degrees are among its programs offered 100 percent online. Students can find e-learning in subjects such as education, liberal studies and nursing, and can also take individual classes online.

9
California State University-Northridge
Tuition and fees: $6,488 Enrollment: 34,140 Accredited: YES Website: California State University-Northridge

Each online college program has a dedicated program manager/administrator who works one-on-one with participants, from application through graduation, providing assistance – and encouragement – along the way.

10
California State University-Sacramento
Tuition and fees: $6,573 Enrollment: 26,912 Accredited: YES Website: California State University-Sacramento

California State University-Sacramento offers online college learning through its College of Continuing Education. Some classes are conducted in real-time. Others are accessed at your convenience or require a combination of synchronous and asynchronous classes. Students use the latest distance learning and meeting technology, WebCT 6 and Macromedia Breeze 5, to benefit from online courses and communicate with instructors and fellow students.

11
San Diego State University
Tuition and fees: $6,578 Enrollment: 27,233 Accredited: YES Website: San Diego State University

San Diego State University offers a number of online college options to students including certificate programs and master's degrees. Classes are either taught by SDSU faculty or industry experts and include online certificates in construction, green industry, project management, and web and mobile applications development. Master's degrees available online may include hospitality and tourism management, public administration and regulatory affairs.

12
California State University-Stanislaus
Tuition and fees: $6,582 Enrollment: 8,198 Accredited: YES Website: California State University-Stanislaus

California State University at Stanislaus provides online learning through an MBA program available to students. Its "OMBA" allows online college students to complete work at any time from any location. The program is 24 months long and requires completion of 33 units. This business school program is accredited by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business.

13
California State University-Bakersfield
Tuition and fees: $6,682 Enrollment: 8,014 Accredited: YES Website: California State University-Bakersfield

California State University at Bakersfield provides distance-learning options through its "CSUB Extended University." Students use the Blackboard course management system for instruction and can find fully online college degrees in education, environmental resource management, and administration. Instructional television is also part of the school's distance learning programming.

14
San Jose State University
Tuition and fees: $6,828 Enrollment: 26,281 Accredited: YES Website: San Jose State University

San Jose State University offers online college learning opportunities through its "Spartans Online" program. The program is still growing, but offers master's degrees online in business analytics, library and information science, occupational therapy, and public health. Students can also find any number of individual courses online through the school's distance-learning program.

15
California State University-Chico
Tuition and fees: $6,890 Enrollment: 15,779 Accredited: YES Website: California State University-Chico

California State University at Chico provides distance-learning opportunities at the bachelor's and master's degree levels. Learning is Web-based, but some of the online college courses do offer live video streaming. Additionally, the school provides a wide range of courses that can be taken online as part of any campus-based or blended learning program.

16
Humboldt State University
Tuition and fees: $7,062 Enrollment: 7,976 Accredited: YES Website: Humboldt State University

Humboldt State University offers online college courses and programs through its office of extended studies. Moodle is used for course management for many of its distance-learning options, and students can find professional development coursework, individual undergraduate level classes and several degrees available online. The university is accredited by the Western Association of School and Colleges.

17
King’s University
Tuition and fees: $8,145 Enrollment: 311 Accredited: YES Website: King’s University

King University offers an extensive number of degree options to students interested in online college learning. Distance-learning programs are available at the associate, bachelor's and master's degree levels and include an RN-to-BSN nursing program, bachelor's degrees in many different fields, and an MBA program online. The university is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

18
Bethesda University of California
Tuition and fees: $8,320 Enrollment: 240 Accredited: YES Website: Bethesda University of California

Bethesda University of California, a Christian-based institution, provides professional skills that can be used in building world peace and global churches. It offers a variety of individual classes to online college students including Christian ethics, church history, and other spiritual disciplines. The university is accredited by the Transnational Association of Christian Colleges and Schools.

19
Brandman University
Tuition and fees: $9,858 Enrollment: 5,878 Accredited: YES Website: Brandman University

Brandman University offers an extensive number of degree options to students seeking online college, distance-learning education. Undergraduate certificates, associate, bachelor's and master's degrees are among offered options, and subject areas include the arts and sciences, business and education. The school is accredited by Western Association of Schools and Colleges.

20
National University
Tuition and fees: $11,376 Enrollment: 14,156 Accredited: YES Website: National University

National University offers a wide variety of e-learning opportunities to students interested in distance education. Online associate, bachelor's, and master's degrees and certificates make use of a multimedia rich and interactive learning environment. In all, more than 70 degree programs at National University are available entirely online, and allow for online college learning 24 hours a day, every day of the week.

21
Life Pacific College
Tuition and fees: $12,500 Enrollment: 651 Accredited: YES Website: Life Pacific College

For students seeking a Bachelor of Arts in Ministry and Leadership, Life Pacific College provides an online program you can attend from anywhere in the world. Students who have online college credits may complete their degrees in as little as eighteen months and without the need to relocate or interrupt their work, family or present ministry.

22
University of California-Riverside
Tuition and fees: $12,924 Enrollment: 19,795 Accredited: YES Website: University of California-Riverside

University of California-Riverside offers a Master in Science online for professional engineers to update or further develop their current knowledge base. The online college program is offered through the Bourns College of Engineering. For their convenience students who are working professionals can access assignments, lectures, notes and announcements online without sacrificing the quality of an on-campus education.

23
Southern California Seminary
Tuition and fees: $13,068 Enrollment: 123 Accredited: YES Website: Southern California Seminary

Southern California Seminary offers a number of online college biblical studies degrees through its "SCS Online" program for students interested in distance learning. The school is accredited through the Transnational Association of Christian Colleges and Schools. Its distance-learning options include associate, bachelor's, and master's degrees in biblical studies and a master's degree in Christian Ministry.

24
Patten University
Tuition and fees: $13,440 Enrollment: 1,484 Accredited: YES Website: Patten University

Patten University provides online college degree choices to students at the associate, bachelor's, and master's degree levels. The school is accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges, and offers distance-learning degrees in subjects such as general studies, leadership, and management. An MBA program with concentrations in finance, management or healthcare is an additional distance-learning option.

25
John F Kennedy University
Tuition and fees: $14,634 Enrollment: 421 Accredited: YES Website: John F Kennedy University

John F. Kennedy University is a non-profit, fully-accredited private university offering programs leading to bachelor’s, masters and doctorate degrees online. Choose from online college degree programs in liberal arts, business, health sciences, psychology, law and law enforcement, and more. Using a collaborative learning approach, the University seeks to prepare students to make a positive contribution to their community and profession.

26
Pacific Oaks College
Tuition and fees: $17,556 Enrollment: 355 Accredited: YES Website: Pacific Oaks College

Pacific Oaks College offers a variety of bachelor's and master's degrees to students interested in online college learning. These are focused in early childhood education, curriculum and design, and human development. Several teacher education credentialing programs are additionally available online. The school uses Pearson eCollege for its distance-learning coursework, which allows for self-paced and flexible learning.

27
Palo Alto University
Tuition and fees: $17,900 Enrollment: 171 Accredited: YES Website: Palo Alto University

Palo Alto University, focused on education and research in psychology and clinical training, provides students with online college learning options at the bachelors and masters levels. Students will find master's degrees in the fields of counseling and psychology that are offered online, but that also require a one-week residential stay at the university. The school is accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges.

28
Pacific States University
Tuition and fees: $19,340 Enrollment: 24 Accredited: YES Website: Pacific States University

Pacific States University offers an accelerated online college degree program for students from around the world to earn a degree without attending classes on campus. Accredited by the Accrediting Council for Independent Colleges and Schools and approved by the Bureau for Private Postsecondary and Vocational Education to award certificates, bachelor’s and master’s degrees.

29
Simpson University
Tuition and fees: $21,600 Enrollment: 1,162 Accredited: YES Website: Simpson University

The ASPIRE program at Simpson University provides continuing education degrees in Organizational Leadership, Psychology and Healthcare Management. Taught in five-week sessions, each course runs seven days a week. Online college classes are conducted through Moodle, the University’s online class management system, and students advance through the course together with the same classmates from start to finish.

30
Thomas Aquinas College
Tuition and fees: $22,850 Enrollment: Accredited: YES Website: Thomas Aquinas College

St. Thomas Aquinas College offers a fully online MBA program to students who want to advance their education through distance learning. Students access their online college coursework through a learning management system, participating in online lectures, discussion groups and group projects. The school's business programs are accredited through the International Assembly for Collegiate Business Education.

31
California Institute of Integral Studies
Tuition and fees: $23,310 Enrollment: 121 Accredited: YES Website: California Institute of Integral Studies

Students at the California Institute of Integral Studies can pursue distance-learning opportunities through individual online college courses and graduate degree options. Upper-level degrees available through online programs include the Master of Arts in Transformative Leadership and a PhD in Transformative Studies. Students enrolling in an enroll program will be contacted by an online coordinator following registration.

32
San Diego Christian College
Tuition and fees: $23,814 Enrollment: 794 Accredited: YES Website: San Diego Christian College

Students interested in business management, Christian ministries, and human development will find online college degree options available through San Diego Christian College. Its distance-learning programs provide syllabus and instructional materials online and require students to post comments at least three times each week. The school is accredited by the Senior Commission of the Western Association of Schools and Colleges.

33
Hope International University
Tuition and fees: $24,064 Enrollment: 1,230 Accredited: YES Website: Hope International University

Hope International University, a Christian-based school, provides undergraduate and graduate degrees available completely online. These include associate, bachelor's, and master's degrees, and graduate-level certificates in areas such as the arts, education, ministry and biblical studies, and psychology. The school's online college includes video lectures, real-time chats, discussion forums and assignment drop boxes.

34
Fresno Pacific University
Tuition and fees: $24,790 Enrollment: 3,314 Accredited: YES Website: Fresno Pacific University

Fresno Pacific University offers online college to students interested in continuing education and advanced degree obtainment. Credentials and professional continuing education courses are geared toward K-12 education while master's degrees are available entirely online in subjects such as curriculum and teaching, educational technology, kinesiology, and library and information technology.

35
California Baptist University
Tuition and fees: $25,808 Enrollment: 5,076 Accredited: YES Website: California Baptist University

California Baptist University provides extensive degree opportunities to students interested in distance learning with online college. The school utilizes Blackboard 9.1, Telepresence, and Webex for its e-learning environment. Bachelor's and master's degrees are available in subjects such as communications, education, political science, psychology, and sociology, and others fields. Certificate programs and professional development courses are also offered online.

36
La Sierra University
Tuition and fees: $27,231 Enrollment: 2,216 Accredited: YES Website: La Sierra University

La Sierra University, a Christian-based institution, provides several graduate degree options available online, including a master's of arts in teaching and a master's of arts in curriculum and instruction. The online college programs require no campus-based components. The university's school of education has provided graduate level distance-learning options for more than 10 years.

37
Concordia University-Irvine
Tuition and fees: $27,300 Enrollment: 1,843 Accredited: YES Website: Concordia University-Irvine

Concordia University at Irvine provides students with face-to-face, hybrid and online college learning options to extend their education. These eight-week courses include a hybrid Master's in Educational Technology and an online Master's in Curriculum and Instruction, among several face-to-face options. The online master's degree provides one-year and two-year completion options, and the school has accreditation through the Western Association of Schools and Colleges.

38
Loma Linda University
Tuition and fees: $29,096 Enrollment: 1,580 Accredited: YES Website: Loma Linda University

Loma Linda University offers distance-learning options at the graduate level through its School of Public Health. These online learning formats are available at the master's and doctoral levels in areas such as lifestyle interventions, health education and population medicine. The online college uses asynchronous learning and the Blackboard course management program for its distance learning.

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Notre Dame de Namur University
Tuition and fees: $29,890 Enrollment: 1,321 Accredited: YES Website: Notre Dame de Namur University

Notre Dame de Namur University, a Catholic institution, provides graduate-level online education to those preferring distance learning. Its Master's of Science in Computer Information and Science and Master's of Public Administration, which offers three concentrations, promote collaboration and teamwork. The university and its online college are accredited through the Western Association of Schools and Colleges.

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Biola University
Tuition and fees: $29,908 Enrollment: 4,628 Accredited: YES Website: Biola University

Biola University, offering a biblically-centered education, provides both individual courses and full online college degree programs to students interested in distance learning. Online certificates are also available. Many of the individual course offerings are undergraduate based, and degrees are available at the master's level in areas such as the arts and sciences, education and intercultural studies.

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Azusa Pacific University
Tuition and fees: $29,940 Enrollment: 6,394 Accredited: YES Website: Azusa Pacific University

Azusa Pacific University provides students with online learning options available through a Christian university. The university is accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges and provides associate, bachelor's and master's degrees through its distance learning programming. Several teacher education certificates and an MBA are also available completely through the online college.

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California Lutheran University
Tuition and fees: $32,860 Enrollment: 3,026 Accredited: YES Website: California Lutheran University

California Lutheran University provides online business and education degrees to students who are interested in its distance-learning programs. Online learning options include a bachelor's in organizational leadership, an MBA that provides concentrations in areas such as entrepreneurship, finance, marketing and other focuses, and doctoral programs in K-12 and higher education leadership.

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University of San Francisco
Tuition and fees: $37,424 Enrollment: 6,870 Accredited: YES Website: University of San Francisco

The University of San Francisco offers several master's degree available to students through distance learning. These are in subject areas such as health informatics, nursing, public administration, and teaching. The university and its online college are accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges and offers online degree enrollment during its spring, summer and fall semesters.

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University of San Diego
Tuition and fees: $38,582 Enrollment: 5,853 Accredited: YES Website: University of San Diego

The University of San Diego provides distance-learning opportunities through its college of extended studies. This includes personal and professional development enrichment courses, certificate programs in fields such as contract management and marketing and media, and several master's degree programs. Its classes are either taught by SDSU faculty member or experts in the field.

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Pepperdine University
Tuition and fees: $40,752 Enrollment: 3,622 Accredited: YES Website: Pepperdine University

Pepperdine University offers standards-based learning through its online graduate degree programs. Its Graduate School of Education and Psychology provides a master's degree and several doctoral degrees to students through a distance-learning format. Although based online, the programs do require extensive field and project-based work, and are designed for working professionals.

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University of Southern California
Tuition and fees: $42,818 Enrollment: 19,094 Accredited: YES Website: University of Southern California

Distance-learning options available through the University of Southern California's "USC Now" program provide online master's degrees in a variety of subjects and help students prepare for professional advancement. Through the online platform at USC, students can interact with students and professors in real-time learning and potentially pursue online degrees in business, communication, education, and other subjects.

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Bethel Seminary San Diego
Tuition and fees: N/A Enrollment: N/A Accredited: YES Website: Bethel Seminary San Diego

The hybrid online program of Bethel Seminary San Diego, InMinistry, allows students to pursue seminary graduate degrees while remaining rooted in their home ministries. Students begin and continue through graduation with their cohort, meeting twice a year on campus for a one-week intensive. A Master of Divinity may be completed in five years or a Master of Arts in three.

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Fielding Graduate University
Tuition and fees: N/A Enrollment: N/A Accredited: YES Website: Fielding Graduate University

For over 30 years Fielding Graduate University has offered students with family, career and community responsibilities the opportunity to continue their studies in psychology through distance learning. Today’s online degree programs include the MA and PhD in Media Psychology, PhD in Clinical Psychology, post-doctoral certifications, as well as American Psychological Association-approved continuing education and training programs.

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Naval Postgraduate School
Tuition and fees: N/A Enrollment: N/A Accredited: YES Website: Naval Postgraduate School

The Naval Postgraduate School provides students with distance-learning opportunities at the certificate, master's and doctoral degree levels. The school uses a mix of delivery methods to provide online learning beyond the scope of the traditional classroom. Programs are heavily based in business, engineering and technology, and include many master's degrees that can be completed in two to three years.

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Pacific Lutheran Theological Seminary
Tuition and fees: N/A Enrollment: N/A Accredited: YES Website: Pacific Lutheran Theological Seminary

The Flexible Life M.Div online program of the Pacific Lutheran Theological Seminary gives Divinity students the opportunity to complete the first year of coursework online. First-year distance studies allow students additional time to make arrangements work and family responsibilities. Second- and third-year seminary studies require residency. The fourth year consists of an internship and opportunities for intentional reflection.

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Saybrook University
Tuition and fees: N/A Enrollment: N/A Accredited: YES Website: Saybrook University

Saybrook University offers a hybrid online degree program that combines an online format with residency study giving students the opportunity to enjoy in-person instruction. All degree-seeking students are required to begin their program with the residential experience to develop relationships with student and faculty. However, programs are structured so working students do not have to relocate.

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Southwestern Law School
Tuition and fees: N/A Enrollment: N/A Accredited: YES Website: Southwestern Law School

Pursue a Master of Laws in Entertainment and Media Law through Southwestern Law School. This accredited degree program draws upon resources from the Biederman Institute and is the first of its kind available throughout the world in a fully active online format. SLS offers the program through its Global Education Division in conjunction with Kaplan Legal Education.

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The Chicago School of Professional Psychology at Westwood
Tuition and fees: N/A Enrollment: N/A Accredited: YES Website: The Chicago School of Professional Psychology at Westwood

The Chicago School of Professional Psychology at Westwood offers a variety of graduate level degrees that can be found online. These include a Master's of Arts in Forensic Psychology and a Master's of Arts in Industrial and Organizational Psychology as well as many other distance-learning options. The school is accredited by the Accrediting Commission for Senior Colleges and Universities of the Western Association of Schools and Colleges.

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The Chicago School of Professional Psychology at Irvine
Tuition and fees: N/A Enrollment: N/A Accredited: YES Website: The Chicago School of Professional Psychology at Irvine

The Chicago School of Professional Psychology at Irvine offers a variety of distance-learning options at the graduate level degree. The school is accredited by the Accrediting Commission for Senior Colleges and Universities of the Western Association of Schools and Colleges. Students can find online college degrees available in forensic psychology, industrial and organizational psychology and public health.

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The Chicago School of Professional Psychology at Los Angeles
Tuition and fees: N/A Enrollment: N/A Accredited: YES Website: The Chicago School of Professional Psychology at Los Angeles

The Chicago School of Professional Psychology at Los Angeles offers online degree options to students interested in child and adolescent psychology, international psychology, organizational leadership, and sports and exercise psychology. Support is provided to online college students from enrollment to graduation. The school is accredited by the Accrediting Commission for Senior Colleges and Universities of the Western Association of Schools and Colleges.

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Thomas Jefferson School of Law
Tuition and fees: N/A Enrollment: N/A Accredited: YES Website: Thomas Jefferson School of Law

The esteemed Doctor of the Science of Law (J.S.D) degree offers legal academics the opportunity for independent study and writing, considered preparatory for a serious career in academia. The Thomas Jefferson School of Law offers online college study for the J.S.D in an online format suitable for students who want to pursue their degree in a global community of fellow scholars.

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University of California-San Francisco
Tuition and fees: N/A Enrollment: N/A Accredited: YES Website: University of California-San Francisco

The University of California at San Francisco offers online graduate level degrees to students interested in the fields of education, health and public administration. New online college students can start these distance-learning programs in the spring, summer or fall semesters, and should discover added flexibility over the school's ground-based counterparts.