The Best Online Colleges in California

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This list includes 30 of the best online colleges in California that boast robust distance learning programs. The public and private universities on this list offer many useful online services, which help to make the student experience easy and productive.

Four Reasons to Find an Online College in Your State

  1. Guaranteed in–state tuition saves you money
  2. Be a part of a university or college you know and love
  3. Get a degree from a school that employers know and trust
  4. Be close enough to easily visit when desired

Ranking Guidelines for the Best Online Colleges in California

Best Online Colleges in California
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We selected the online colleges and universities here based on the quality of their programs, types of courses and degrees offered, and faculty strengths, as well as school awards, rankings, and reputation, including a strong reputation for online degree programs. Many of the schools on this list of the best online colleges in California were also listed in our overall ranking of the best online colleges in the United States.

Note: In ranking the best online colleges in California, giving attention to the variety of degree programs available at the institutions is of utmost importance. For this reason, a more prestigious school in California may offer one, or a few online degrees, but that may not be enough for that school to rank highly among the best online colleges in the state. In this ranking, we are dedicated to showing who’s leading the way in delivering quality online degree programs in California.

The Best Online Colleges in California

1
California Baptist University - CBU Online
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4

National University 

La Jolla, CA

About this school

National University is one of the largest non–profit universities in California with over 12,000 students enrolled. Founded in 1971, the university has more than 25 campuses both inside and outside of the United States, as well as a thriving online campus. The university offers over 130 degree programs, many of which are also available online.

National University offers an extensive array of online bachelor’s, master’s and certificate programs. Some of the online bachelor’s degrees available include finance, education, engineering and law. Master’s degree options include journalism and psychology, while certification options include hospitality, marketing and criminal justice.

The university’s library offers many services to its online students, including librarian live chat, an eBook collection, streaming video, a scholarly article database and a dissertation database. The university also offers writing center services as well as an online job board.

5

Golden Gate University 

San Francisco, CA

About this school

Golden Gate University established in 1901, is a private non–profit university with approximately 5,000 students. The university’s four colleges specialize in: law, business, accounting and taxation. Golden Gate University is one of the oldest online schools in California, as it began offering distance educations in 1993 in the form of correspondence.

Golden Gate University has several online bachelor’s, master’s and certificate programs. Bachelor’s degree options include business, information technology and marketing. Master’s degree offerings include financial planning and taxation. Available certificates include global supply chain management and public relations.

There are also many resources available to online students, including legal databases, access to multiple law libraries from around the state, and an online job board.

6

University of Southern California 

Los Angeles, CA

About this school

The University of Southern California (USC), a private, non–profit university founded in 1880, opened its doors with only 10 teachers and 53 students. The university has grown exponentially, and is now home to 44,000 students and 4,000 faculty members. With multiple campuses, programs, and centers, and degrees in everything from pharmacy to art to medicine, the University of Southern California serves a wide range of students.

Through their online platform, USC Online, the University of California provides distance education for professional and graduate students. With online programs covering a variety of disciplines, USC Online provides flexible education to students worldwide. USC Online offers information for students on specific tracks: Career Changers, Career Advancers, and Military Students. Their programs are designed to help students advance in their careers, reinvent themselves through education, and lead by building on previous military service and other leadership experiences.

As one of the leading online schools in California when it comes to digital innovation, the University of Southern California offers extensive support to their distance learners. Online students can access resources and support from the school’s Career Center and library.

7

Biola University 

La Mirada, CA

About this school

Founded in 1980, Biola University is a private, non–profit, non–denominational Christian university located in La Mirada, CA. The university enrolls more than 6,000 students and serves its students with a variety of on–campus and online programs. With eight schools offering 150+ bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral degree programs, students at Biola University pursue a wide range of academic interests.

With programs in everything from Biblical Ministries to Education to Business Management, Biola serves a diverse population of students with its online offerings. Biola University incorporates its Christian worldview into these online degree programs, with an emphasis on spiritual development in addition to academic growth.

Online students at Biola University are well supported with several resources and learning tools, including library resources, disability services via the Learning Center, and support from the Online and Graduate Student Success department.

8

Hope International University 

Fullerton, CA

About this school

Hope International University (HIU)—a private, Christian university active since 1928—offers bachelor’s and master’s degrees, as well as certificate and credential programs, to around 2,000 students. HIU is affiliated with the Churches of Christ and was founded as Pacific Bible Seminary. While the main Hope International University campus is in Fullerton, CA, the school has other campuses in Anaheim, CA, Washington state, and Nebraska.

Hope International University’s online branch, HIU Online, offers a variety of online programs and courses, some 100% online degree programs, and other blended degree programs. The university offers online bachelor’s, master’s, and certificate programs in fields including counseling psychology, education, and business administration.

Instructors at HIU are just as committed to their online students as their traditional students. Students in the online programs at Hope International University get one–on–one support from teachers, 24/7 classroom access, and other student support resources. HIU uses modern distance learning software that lets students download course materials, access library resources, submit assignments, interact with students and professors, and contribute to ongoing class discussions.

9

California State University - East Bay 

Hayward, CA

About this school

California State University – East Bay, a public school, offers over 190 degree programs. Three of the university’s academic departments, the business, education and music departments, have earned national respect and recognition. The university has won several awards for its advances in solar energy research.

California State University – East Bay provides online bachelor’s degrees in areas such as hospitality and tourism, and business administration. Online master’s degrees include education and health care administration. Available certificates include mathematics and cartography.

Online students at the university have access to plenty of resources, including an online library and academic article database, academic advising, career education, online tutoring, and an online writing lab.

10

California State University - Fullerton 

Fullerton, CA

About this school

California State University–Fullerton (CSUF), also known as Cal State Fullerton, is a public, non–profit university located in Fullerton, California. CSUF, founded in 1957, offers several associate, bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral degrees, as well as professional certifications, to a diverse student body. With eight degree–offering colleges—The Arts, Business and Economics, Communications, Education, Engineering and Computer Science, Health and Human Development, Humanities and Social Sciences, and Natural Science and Mathematics—as well as a department for University Extended Education, CSUF provides higher education to over 40,000 students.

California State University–Fullerton offers a variety of online courses and programs, including programs in business administration, sociology, and education. In addition to degree programs, CSUF offers several online certificate programs, such as data science, digital marketing, geographic information systems, professional fiduciary management, and user experience and customer–centered design. These flexible, affordable options are beneficial career boosters for many students.

Online programs at California State University–Fullerton offer the same degrees and certificates that students earn on–campus, with the flexibility and convenience of online learning. Students in online degree programs receive a variety of support and resources to assist their distance learning.

11

Fresno Pacific University 

Fresno, CA

About this school

Fresno Pacific University (FPU) is a private, Christian university founded in 1944 by the Pacific District Conference of Mennonite Brethren Churches. With five locations in California’s Central Valley, the school serves around 4,000 students. Fresno Pacific University offers 100+ areas of study and has five schools: the School of Business, the School of Natural Sciences, the School of Humanities, Religion and Social Sciences, the School of Education, and Fresno Pacific Biblical Seminary.

Fresno Pacific University offers several completely online bachelor’s, master’s, and certificate programs. With degrees in everything from athletic training to healthcare administration, FPU serves a wide variety of online students. In online classes at the university, students are encouraged to connect with their professors, classmates, and advisor for an enriched online learning experience.

As one of the online schools in California leading the charge in adult online education, FSU knows how to address the challenges that arise for many distance learns. As a result, the university offers a variety of support to its online students, including spiritual leadership and programming, career services, and IT services.

12

Touro University Worldwide 

Los Alamitos, CA

About this school

Touro University Worldwide is a private, non–profit university, founded in 2008. The Touro College and University System in New York City, founded in 1970 to strengthen the Jewish heritage and serve the American and global community through education, is the parent organization to Touro University Worldwide. Though not officially religiously affiliated, Touro University Worldwide prides itself on its Judaic foundation and focuses on social justice, intellectual pursuit, and giving back to society. Touro University Worldwide serves a little over 1,000 students, with online associate, bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral programs in a variety of fields, including psychology, social work, and health sciences.

With all online programs, Touro University Worldwide is focused on accessible, effective distance learning. The school has associate, bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral programs that students can complete 100% online. Focused on professional and academic growth, online degree programs at Touro University Worldwide work to prepare students for successful careers in today’s professional world.

Since Touro University Worldwide offers only online degree programs, the school is focused and well–equipped to deliver high quality online learning. Online students at Touro University Worldwide receive support from the university’s faculty and staff, as well as library access and financial aid.

13

California State University - Chico 

Chico, CA

About this school

Founded in 1887, California State University–Chico, commonly called Chico State, is the second oldest California State University school in the state. Chico State serves over 17,000 students with a variety of bachelor’s and master’s programs. The most popular majors at the school are Business Administration, Psychology, and Pre–Nursing. The university has seven colleges—College of Agriculture, College of Natural Sciences, College of Behavioral and Social Sciences, College of Business, College of Communication and Education, College of Engineering, Computer Science, and Construction Management, and College of Humanities and Fine Arts—as well as five schools and 29 institutes and centers.

California State University–Chico offers several online bachelor’s degrees, an online Master of Science in Nursing, and an online certificate. The online courses are fully web–based, but many offer live, synchronous video streaming of course lectures so that students get to experience the class in real–time.

Online students at California State University–Chico receive a variety of resources and support from the university. Students in the school’s distance learning programs have access to the university bookstore, library, and advisors. California State University–Chico has also compiled an online database of workshops for online students that cover topics including time management, test preparation, and study skills.

14

University of La Verne 

La Verne, CA

About this school

University of La Verne is a private, non–profit school, founded in 1891 by members of the Church of the Brethren, a “peace church” similar to the Quakers or Mennonites. University of La Verne houses four colleges—the College of Arts and Sciences, the College of Business and Public Management, the LaFetra College of Education, and the College of Law—as well as eight regional campuses around Southern California and a wide variety of online programs. With more than 8,000 students, 55 undergraduate programs, 19 master’s degrees, four doctoral programs, and eight credential programs, University of La Verne serves a variety of students in diverse fields of study.

La Verne Online, the online branch of University of La Verne, offers several online associate, bachelor’s, and master’s degrees. With a focus on flexibility and convenience, online students receive individualized support in small distance learning classrooms. Online programs include degrees in business administration, education, and information technology.

With a dedicated team of La Verne Online staff members, the online learning department at University of La Verne offers students expertly designed online courses, advising, and technical support. La Verne Online students are also supported by their professors and instructors, and have access to school resources including the library and financial aid department.

15

Pacific Oaks College 

Pasadena, CA

About this school

Established in 1958, Pacific Oaks College was created to train early childhood educators using a model of inclusion and self–discovery. The college was founded in conjunction with an early childhood school, Pacific Oaks Children’s School, which itself was founded when World War II ended in 1945, based on religious Quaker principles of community, equality, and peace. Today, Pacific Oaks College offers undergraduate and graduate degree programs in Marriage and Family Therapy, Education, Human Development, and Organizational Leadership. Pacific Oaks College serves around 1,200 students.

Pacific Oaks College offers several online programs, in addition to their on–campus degree programs. Designed for students with a wide range of scheduling needs and learning styles, Pacific Oaks College’s online offerings include bachelor’s and master’s degree programs, as well as teacher credentials programs in Education, Human Development, and Organizational Leadership.

Pacific Oaks College offers several student services designed to help students navigate the educational experience in and out of the classroom. Distance learning students access these same services, including library access and support from the Center for Achievement, Resources, and Enrichment.

16

Concordia University - Irvine 

Irvine, CA

About this school

Concordia University–Irvine (CUI) is a private, non–profit, Lutheran university founded in 1976. The school began with one building, 36 students, and five faculty members. Today Concordia University–Irvine serves over 4,000 students with an array of undergraduate and graduate degrees. CUI is committed to a Christian, Lutheran worldview, and educates its students from this perspective. With online and regional cohort options, CUI works to prepare its graduates for vocational success.

With a variety of online bachelor’s and master’s degrees, Concordia University–Irvine offers its online students convenience, flexibility, and affordability. Online classes at CUI are community–based, offering real–time, synchronous learning experiences and face–to–face interaction with instructors via online meetings. With programs in everything from Executive Coaching and Consultation to Nonprofit Leadership to Coaching and Athletics Administration, CUI gives online students a variety of opportunities to further their academic and professional careers.

Online students at Concordia University–Irvine have access to the same services and resources as traditional, on–campus students. Support for online students includes academic advisors, career services, and academic and community services. Focused on encouraging both professional and personal growth, CUI staff helps students with everything from writing a research paper to connecting with a spiritual community.

17

California State University - Northridge 

Northridge, CA

About this school

Founded as San Fernando Valley College in 1958, California State University–Northridge (CSUN) is now a large institution, with nearly 40,000 students and several bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral degree programs. The school’s nine colleges—Mike Curb College of Arts, Media & Communication, David Nazarian College of Business and Economics, Michael D. Eisner College of Education, College of Engineering & Computer Science, College of Health & Human Development, College of Humanities, College of Science & Mathematics, College of Social & Behavioral Sciences, and The Tseng College—offer a diverse array of degree programs.

With a variety of online degree programs designed to serve the working adult, California State University–Northridge provides online students with programs designed to help them advance as skilled practitioners in their chosen fields. CSUN offers a variety of online bachelor’s degrees, master’s degrees, and certificates. Programs include Social Work, Public Administration, and Humanities.

California State University–Northridge’s programs are carefully designed with the following goals in mind: equipping graduates with a solid knowledge of the field, advanced conceptual skills, and refined professional abilities. CSUN educators work to provide online students with strong learning communities, and each online program is served by a faculty academic lead and a program support coordinator. Online students also have access to library services, academic advising, and more.

18

Loma Linda University 

Loma Linda, CA

About this school

Loma Linda University (LLU) is a Seventh–Day Adventist, private, non–profit college that serves 4,500 students. Founded in 1905, the university was created with a goal of providing healthcare education inspired by LLU’s religious worldview. Today the university is still focused on healthcare education, with eight schools for students to choose from: Allied Health Professions, Dentistry, Medicine, Nursing, Pharmacy, Public Health, Religion, and Behavioral Health. Loma Linda also has six hospitals, where students can gain real–world experience as they develop into healthcare professionals.

In addition to its on–campus offerings, Loma Linda University has a growing number of online courses. Recently, the provost of LLU created a digital education taskforce that will work to assess Loma Linda’s distance education programs and work to further develop them. LLU currently offers a variety of online bachelor’s, master’s, doctoral, and certificate programs, housed within the Schools of Allied Health Professions, Dentistry, Nursing, Public Health, and Religion.

With a focus on training their instructors to teach effective online courses, Loma Linda University ensures that online students get a comprehensive, valuable classroom experience. Online students benefit from several services and supports from the university, including library access.

19

California State University - Dominguez Hills 

Carson, CA

About this school

California State University–Dominguez Hills (CSUDH) was founded in 1960, and now serves over 14,000 students. With bachelor’s and master’s degree programs in a variety of subjects, CSUDH seeks to provide accessible and transformative education to a diverse student body. CSUDH is proud to welcome a multicultural mix of students, and is one of the nation’s most ethnically diverse college campuses. In addition to traditional, on–campus programs, CSUDH also offers several online programs.

Most of the online programs offered at California State University–Dominguez Hills are master’s degrees, except for a couple of bachelor’s degree programs. CSUDH has a fully online MBA program with specialties in Finance, General Business, Human Resource Management, Information Technology Management, International Business, Logistics Management, Management, and Marketing. Other programs include Nursing and Nonprofit Management.

California State University–Dominguez Hills offers a variety of student services to both its online and on–campus students. Services include academic support and advising, mental health services, and a career center.

20

San Diego Christian College 

Santee, CA

About this school

San Diego Christian College (SDC) is a private, non–profit, non–denominational Christian college, founded in 1970 at Christian Heritage College. Today the school serves around 700 students and offers a variety of associate, bachelor’s, and master’s degrees. SDC seeks to provide education for students according to its Christian mission and worldview.

San Diego Christian College changed to its current name and moved to the Santee campus in 2005. Additionally, that same year, SDC launched a variety of online degree programs. With several associate and bachelor’s degrees available completely online, SDC is becoming a top online Christian college. Online programs include Business Management, Communication, and Psychology.

Online students at San Diego Christian College receive a variety of resources and support from the school. Advisors and other professionals are available to help online students in career development, financial aid, and more.

21

California State University - San Bernardino 

San Bernardino, CA

About this school

California State University–San Bernardino (CSUSB) was founded in 1965. The university serves over 20,000 students with a variety of undergraduate and graduate degree programs. Continually, growing, CSUSB added its first doctoral program and several MFA programs in recent years. In addition to its 70+ on–campus programs, CSUSB also offers a variety of online degree programs.

California State University–San Bernardino offers both 100% online degree programs and several hybrid degree programs. Offering both bachelor’s and master’s degrees, CSUSB online programs include Business Administration, Teacher Leadership, and Criminal Justice. Online distance learning at CSUSB makes it possible for students to access several the school’s degree programs in a mode that fits their lives and schedules as adult, professional, and non–traditional students.

Students enrolled in online degree programs at California State University–San Bernardino can access several resources and services to aid their learning. Online students have access to the university library, advising, academic services and more.

22

The Master's University and Seminary 

Santa Clarita, CA

About this school

The Master’s University and Seminary first opened in 1927 with 24 students and no permanent campus. Then called Los Angeles Baptist Theological Seminary, The Master’s University and Seminary has grown considerably and now serves just under 2,000 students. The school offers a variety of undergraduate and graduate programs, as well as a teaching credential and graduate and post–graduate seminary degrees.

The Master’s University and Seminary offers several online degrees that serve a diverse student population. High school juniors and seniors can enroll in the school’s dual enrollment program. The university also offers online bachelor’s and master’s programs in fields that include biblical counseling, business management, and education.

Distance learning students at The Master’s University and Seminary are given several forms of student support. Resources include the Student Finance Center and the IT Helpdesk.

23

Pepperdine University 

Malibu, CA

About this school

Founded in 1937 by its namesake, George Pepperdine, Pepperdine University was created with the mission to be equally committed to academic excellence and Christian values. Today, Pepperdine University, a private, non–profit, Christian university affiliated with the Churches of Christ, serves over 7,000 students. With undergraduate and graduate programs in a variety of fields, Pepperdine University offers degree programs with courses taught according to its Christian values and worldview.

With a variety of online degree programs to choose from, students can earn Pepperdine University degrees from anywhere in the world. Pepperdine University has online undergraduate and graduate degree programs in Business, Education, and more.

Students in Pepperdine University’s online programs can access school support and resources. Resources include several departments devoted to spiritual life, financial aid, and academic advising.

24

Mount Saint Mary's University 

Los Angeles, CA

About this school

Founded in 1925, Mount Saint Mary’s University (MSMU) is a private, non–profit, Catholic, women’s college. With two campuses and an array of online programs, Mount Saint Mary’s University serves 3,500 students. Popular programs include Nursing, Business, and Liberal Arts. Mount Saint Mary’s offers associate, bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral programs in traditional, accelerated, weekend, and online formats to meet the needs of its diverse body of students.

MSMU Online offers flexible programs designed for busy, motivated students. The online segment of Mount Saint Mary’s offers associates degrees in business administration, pre–health science, computer science, and liberal arts, as well as bachelor’s degrees in business administration, criminology, and gerontology. Engaged faculty members work closely with online students to help them develop the necessary skills for college and career success.

Each distance learning student at Mount Saint Mary’s University is connected with a personal Success Coach. In addition, online students have access to other university resources, including library resources and academic support services.

25

Simpson University 

Redding, CA

About this school

Founded in 1921 as Simpson Bible Institute, Simpson University is a private, non–profit, Christian university. Originally, located in Seattle, WA, Simpson University moved to San Francisco, CA in 1955 and then to its current location in Redding, CA in 1989. Today the school serves just over 1,000 students with several associate, bachelor’s, and master’s degrees. With a focus on global service and Christian mission, Simpson University’s degree programs educate and equip students from a Christian worldview, though students are not required to identify as Christians to attend the university.

With several online bachelor’s and master’s degrees, Simpson University offers its students the opportunity to pursue higher education with convenience and flexibility. Simpson University professors and instructors emphasize communication, and students in online courses at the university have many opportunities to interact with their teachers and peers in an online setting. Online programs at Simpson University include Psychology and Organizational Leadership.

Simpson University is committed to rich learning opportunities for its online students. Students in distance learning programs at Simpson University have access to the library and other academic resources.

26

Humboldt State University 

Arcata, CA

About this school

Founded in 1913, Humboldt State University is a public, non–profit college that is a member of the 23–campus California State University system. Located near redwood forests, mountains, and beaches, Humboldt State University prides itself in offering degree programs where professors know their students’ names, learning goes outside the classroom with real–world projects, and the university community is committed to social and environmental responsibility. Founded as a teacher’s college, Humboldt State University now has three colleges, 60+ degree programs, and serves over 8,000 students with on–campus and online programs.

Through their Extended Education department, Humboldt State University offers several online degree and certificate programs. With affordable, flexible programs, students in Humboldt State University’s online programs have the freedom to work on a degree or certificate in a way that works for them. Online programs at Humboldt State include Applied Anthropology, Leadership Studies, and Social Work.

Humboldt State University is committed to helping their online students find success. The school offers a variety of resources for distance learners, including library access, technology tools, and an eLearning 101 course.

27

San Diego State University 

San Diego, CA

About this school

Founded in 1897, San Diego State University is the oldest higher education institution in the city of San Diego. Originally, a training facility for elementary school teachers, San Diego State University is now a leading public research university, serving nearly 35,000 students. With seven colleges—the College of Arts and Letters, the College of Education, the College of Engineering, the College of Health and Human Services, the College of Professional Studies and Fine Arts, the College of Sciences, and the Fowler College of Business—San Diego State University provides its students with a diverse array of learning opportunities.

San Diego State University offers a variety of online degree and certificate programs. With online programs in fields including Education and Business, San Diego State University offers students the opportunity to learn in a convenient, flexible distance learning format.

Online students at San Diego State University are eligible for an array of support and services. Students in distance learning programs can access library resources, academic advising, and more.

28

San Jose State University 

San Jose, CA

About this school

Founded as Minns’ Evening Normal School to train teachers for California’s frontier in 1857, San Jose State University is the oldest public university in the state of California. Today the school offers 145+ programs and serves over 32,000 students. San Jose State University has eight colleges: the College of Applied Sciences and Arts, the College of Humanities and the Arts, the College of Science, the College of Social Sciences, the Connie L. Lurie College of Education, the Charles W. Davidson College of Engineering, and the College of International and Extended Studies.

San Jose State University offers several online programs through its Extended Studies department. With online degrees in Business & Management, Engineering & Technology, Library & Info Science, and Biotech & Healthcare, distance learning students at San Jose State University have a wide variety of educational pathways to choose from. Students can choose to pay yearly tuition or by credit hour, making online education at San Jose State University affordable and accessible.

Students enrolled in online degree programs at San Jose State University can take advantage of many of the same resources as traditional, on–campus students. Online student supports include library access, academic advising, and financial aid.

29

William Jessup University 

Rocklin, CA

About this school

William Jessup University (WJU) is a private, non–profit, evangelical Christian university. Founded in 1939 as San Jose Bible College, the university began with just 14 students. Today William Jessup University serves over 1,000 students and offers a variety of associate, bachelor’s, and master’s degree programs. The school has a variety of options for its students, including on–campus, evening, and online classes. Classes are taught from an evangelical Christian worldview,

William Jessup University offers several online degree programs, in fields like Criminal Justice, Leadership, and Sports Management. The online programs are based around three pillars: academic excellence, relational community, and faith integration. Small online class sizes ensure that distance learning students at WJU can closely interact with professors and peers.

Online programs at the university offer a variety of resources to their students. Supports include library access, the WJU Success Center, the Writing Center, Career and Life Planning, and the Jessup Job Board.

30

University of San Francisco 

San Francisco, CA

About this school

University of San Francisco is a private, non–profit university that offers bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral degrees, via seven physical campuses and an online learning platform. Founded in 1855, this Jesuit Catholic university is the tenth–oldest member of the Association of Jesuit Colleges and Universities, the eighth–largest Jesuit university in the United States, and the second–oldest institution for higher learning in California. The school serves around 11,000 students and houses five colleges and schools: the College of Arts and Sciences, the School of Education, the School of Law, the School of Management, and the School of Nursing and Health Professions.

Through their online education platform, University of San Francisco offers two completely online master’s degree programs: in public administration and public health. The programs are modeled after the school’s successful on–campus programs, with the added flexibility of online learning. Online classes at University of San Francisco are small, allowing students to closely interact with their professors and classmates. New students can begin online programs in the spring, summer, and fall semesters.

Online students at University of San Francisco receive the same resources as those who attend on–campus programs, and graduates will earn the same diploma as their on–campus colleagues. Student services include counseling and psychological services, access to the Career Services Center, library resources, help through the Learning and Writing Center, and accommodations through Student Disability Services.

👏

End of list, bravo!

Most Affordable Online Bachelor’s Degree Programs

Most Affordable Bachelor’s Degrees in California
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Prospective students should compare program costs with their budget to ensure they can manage expenses. However, the best program for each student is not necessarily the cheapest. Other considerations include concentration options, faculty reputation, graduation rate, course delivery method, and graduation time. The cheapest school, for example, may not offer a learner’s intended program or they may require inconvenient on–campus attendance. Students should consider all factors to find the most suitable program for their goals and lifestyle.

The Most Affordable Online Bachelor's in California

1
California State University - Dominguez Hills
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4

California State University - Stanislaus 

Turlock, CA

About this school

Founded as Stanislaus State College in 1960, the school became California State University, Stanislaus in 1985. This public school in Turlock is part of the California State University system. Stanislaus State enrolled more than 10,000 students in the fall of 2017, and the university ranks among U.S. News & World Report's top public schools and regional universities in the West. It also boasts an 81% retention rate for freshmen.

Stanislaus State offers two online bachelor's degrees and two online master's degrees: an MBA, a BA in gender studies, a master of social work, and a BS in nursing. However, the master of social work program includes some in-person components.

The bachelor's degrees in gender studies and nursing each require 120 units. The master of social work requires 60 units, and the MBA comprises 30 units. Individual programs boast accreditation from the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business, the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education, and the Council on Social Work Education.

Prospective students can take a virtual self-assessment to determine whether online learning fits their needs. Online students complete courses through Blackboard, which facilitates discussions, test submissions, group work, and digital portfolios. Stanislaus State provides tutorials about the learning platform.

Online students can access library databases, view MLA and APA style guides, and obtain thesis guidance from the school's library. The library also offers an online chat. Career services include an online job board and tips for analyzing professional skills and creating resumes. Learners can use Focus 2 to explore major and career options based on their personal traits and interests, and they can also access online writing tutoring.

5

California State University - Bakersfield 

Bakersfield, CA

About this school

California State University, Bakersfield was founded in 1957. This public school educated more than 10,000 learners in the fall of 2018 and currently offers classes through four schools. U.S. News & World Report ranks this institution among the top 100 public schools and regional universities in the West.

CSUB's online offerings include five certificates, two bachelor's degrees, three master's degrees, two authorizations, and one professional development opportunity. Online programs include options in communication, social work, medical coding, and education. However, students should note that the school's bachelor's in sociology, master of social work, and bilingual authorization programs include in-person components.

The bachelor's completion programs in sociology and communication each require 50-60 units and typically take students two years to finish. Applicants to these programs must already have completed at least 60 units. Master's degrees require 1-3 years, and authorizations take one year to complete. CSUB offers online courses through Blackboard, and some programs follow a cohort format.

Online students can access virtual library materials and view documents on writing topics such as punctuation, sentence structure, and homophones. CSUB offers study abroad opportunities in locations such as Italy, South Korea, France, and Mexico. Students must typically hold a minimum GPA to study abroad. Freshmen cannot participate in study abroad programs, and sophomores are limited to single-term options.

6

California State University - Fullerton 

Fullerton, CA

About this school

California State University, Fullerton was founded in 1957. In the fall of 2018, this public institution enrolled almost 40,000 students, including international students from more than 70 countries. U.S. News & World Report ranks CSUF among the best national universities and the top public schools. The school also ranks among the 50 schools with the best undergraduate engineering programs.

CSUF offers three online bachelor's degree completion programs and five online master's degrees. Online options include programs in sociology, information technology, and business administration. Distance learners can also pursue concentrations; for example, education students can concentrate in elementary, secondary, special, or literacy and reading education.

Degree completion bachelor's programs are well-suited for transfer, military, and working students. These programs include asynchronous coursework, and some follow a cohort format. CSUF delivers online courses through the TITANium learning platform, and instructors often utilize discussion posts, collaborative assignments, virtual chats, peer evaluation, and quizzes.

Online students can view the College of Education's webinar series, including archived webinars that cover topics like classroom management and art in child education. The Center for Careers in Teaching provides resources on assessments, child adolescence, and the Public Service Loan Forgiveness program.

Distance learners can also access library databases and receive online tutoring for writing assignments. CSUF provides study abroad experiences in locations such as Thailand, Mexico, Australia, Italy, and Greece.

7

California State University - San Bernardino 

San Bernadino, CA

About this school

California State University, San Bernardino is a military-friendly public school that was founded in 1965. Based near the San Bernardino Mountains, CSUSB enrolls more than 20,000 students and confers about 4,000 degrees per year. U.S. News & World Report lists CSUSB as one of the best regional universities in the West, best value schools, and top public schools.

CSUSB offers one fully online bachelor's degree completion program and four fully online master's degrees, including programs in public administration, criminal justice, and teacher leadership. The school's master's in public administration includes one culminating on-campus component.

The university also delivers blended programs in nursing, education, and social work. Students in hybrid programs typically complete 80% of their coursework online. Learners complete online coursework through Blackboard, and classes may include video conferencing. 

Students pursuing CSUSB's hybrid master's in education can specialize in reading and language arts, special education, instructional technology, or career and technical education. The university's online programs hold accreditation from organizations such as the Council on Social Work Education and the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business.

Distance learners can browse databases, research tutorials, and government documents through the university's digital library. Students can also access career development resources, including tips on resumes, interviews, and cover letters. Learners can participate in mock interviews through Interview Stream and take assessments to determine suitable professions.

8

California State University - Sacramento 

Sacramento, CA

About this school

Established in 1947 as Sacramento State College, this institution became California State University, Sacramento in 1972. The public school boasts more than 200,000 alumni and 30,000 current students. Sacramento State conferred almost 8,000 degrees during the 2016-2017 academic year. U.S. News & World Report ranks Sacramento State among the top public schools and regional universities in the West.

Sacramento State offers five online bachelor's degree completion programs in disciplines including criminal justice, child development, and career and technical studies. The university delivers its BA in child development and BA in arts and letters programs in a hybrid format with a cohort structure.

Online students complete coursework through Canvas and may watch video streams from on-campus classrooms. Learners can take an online readiness test to determine whether virtual learning is right for them. Graduation times vary, but students typically graduate within three years.

The school's library provides online resources like research guides and database access. Distance learners can view government documents, and online students can request Sacramento State's physical resources through interlibrary loan, picking up materials at other California State University schools.

Online students can receive virtual tutoring through Smarthinking. Tutoring is available for subjects including writing, math, and Spanish. Distance learners can also pursue study abroad opportunities in places such as Japan, Australia, Germany, and France. Departments may require study abroad students to meet certain criteria, such as holding a minimum GPA.

9

California State University - Monterey Bay 

Seaside, CA

About this school

California State University, Monterey Bay was founded in Seaside in 1994. As of the fall of 2018, this public school enrolled more than 7,500 students, including 1,000 first-time freshmen. CSUMB is a military-friendly school and is included in U.S. News & World Report's lists of best value schools, best regional universities in the West, and top public schools.

CSUMB offers one online bachelor's degree completion program and two online master's degrees, including options in business administration, instructional science and technology, and computer science. The school also offers a hybrid MS in instructional science and technology, which requires students to visit campus one weekend per semester. Online courses often include video conferencing, group assignments, and quizzes.

Applicants to the bachelor's degree completion program in computer science need to meet transfer admission requirements, including 60 completed college-level units; a minimum 2.0 GPA; and coursework in oral communication, English composition, critical thinking, and math. Applicants to the school's online master's programs must hold either an undergraduate degree earned with a minimum 2.5 GPA or a post-baccalaureate degree.

Distance learners can access online writing assistance through the Cooperative Learning Center; students submit papers and receive feedback in approximately two days. CSUMB also connects online students with writing and research resources on topics such as paragraph formatting, thesis construction, and English as a second language learning.

10

California State University - East Bay 

Hayward, CA

About this school

California State University, East Bay was founded in Hayward in 1957. This public institution includes four colleges and has a network of more than 100,000 alumni. In the fall of 2018, the university enrolled more than 14,000 students, and the school awarded more than 5,000 degrees during the 2017-2018 academic year. U.S. News & World Report ranks Cal State East Bay as one of the best regional universities in the West.

Cal State East Bay offers eight online bachelor's degrees and four online master's degrees, including programs in recreation and tourism, educational leadership, human development, and ethnic studies.

All online bachelor's degrees require students to complete a total of 180 quarter units. Some degrees offer multiple options. For example, recreation bachelor's students choose from therapy and management options, and human development students can specialize in adult development and gerontology, early childhood development, or women's development. The school's human development programs are degree completion options.

All online master's programs require 45 units, except for the master of science in healthcare administration, which comprises 48 units. Cal State East Bay delivers online courses through Blackboard and offers technology assistance at all hours. Students can complete a virtual self-assessment to determine whether online learning fits their needs.

Online students can submit writing assignments to SCAA OWL for feedback, which they receive within three days. Learners can receive live assistance through eTutoring and access career insights and advisement from a counselor through the school's Handshake account.

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End of list, bravo!

Most Affordable Online Associate Degree Programs

Most Affordable Associate Degrees in California
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Prospective students should compare program costs with their budget to ensure they can manage expenses. However, the best program for each student is not necessarily the cheapest. Other considerations include concentration options, faculty reputation, graduation rate, course delivery method, and graduation time. The cheapest school, for example, may not offer a learner’s intended program or they may require inconvenient on–campus attendance. Students should consider all factors to find the most suitable program for their goals and lifestyle.

The Most Affordable Online Associate in California

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4

Chabot College 

Hawyward, CA

About this school

Located in Hayward, Chabot College was founded in 1961 and currently educates more than 14,000 students. This public institution is affiliated with the Community College League of California.

With nonresident tuition under $300 per unit, this school is one of the cheapest colleges in California. Chabot College offers 17 online certificates and 13 online associate degrees, including programs in retail management, human services, real estate, and marketing.

Many of the college's online programs require some in-person attendance. For example, learners can complete half of the associate of arts in English, 90% of the associate of science for software specialists, and 77% of the certificate in real estate online. Other options, such as the AA in behavioral science, AS for administrative assistants, and certificate in office technology, are offered entirely online. The school delivers online courses through Canvas and provides online guides to help students use the learning platform.

Programs may require a different number of core courses. For example, the AS in business requires 11 courses, while the AA in social science comprises six. Students should consult an advisor to determine the estimated graduation time for their specific program.

Online students can obtain virtual counseling on academic topics through eSARS technology or video conferencing through Cranium Cafe. Distance learners can also view e-books, journal articles, and tutorials through the school's digital library. Chabot College also provides tutorials on topics such as study habits, virtual communication, and professional planning.

5

American River College 

Sacramento, CA

About this school

American River College opened in 1955 and boasts affiliation with the Los Rios Community College District. This public school in Sacramento enrolled more than 33,000 students in the fall of 2018.

Resident students at ARC pay less than $50 per unit, and nonresident tuition is less than $350 per unit, making this institution one of the most affordable online colleges in California. ARC offers 16 online certificates and 11 online associate degrees, including programs in language studies, small business management, and accounting.

In addition to associate of arts and associate of science degrees, students can choose from two transfer degrees: an AAT in history and an AST in business administration. These degrees allow graduates to transfer as juniors to California State University campuses. However, transfer programs require some in-person courses.

Core requirements vary for certificate, AA, AS, AAT, and AST programs. For example, the AAT in history requires 18 core units, while the AA in small business requires 34 core units. ARC delivers online courses through Canvas.

ARC helps students create educational plans that reflect the standards of the school to which they plan to transfer. The college also participates in transfer agreements with certain historically black colleges and universities (HBCU). These agreements ensure admission to HBCUs, provided students meet certain general education, degree, and GPA requirements.

Online students can benefit from virtual tutoring through the Sacramento Public Library and NetTutor. They can also obtain online counseling. ARC's library provides tutorials that explain how to conduct research with Canvas and access research databases and e-books virtually.

6

Lake Tahoe Community College 

South Lake Tahoe, CA

About this school

When it opened in 1975, Lake Tahoe Community College enrolled about 1,400 learners and offered 119 classes. With tuition rates generally not exceeding $300 per unit, this public school is one of the cheapest online colleges in California.

LTCC offers four online certificates and six associate degrees, including programs in social science, bookkeeping, and anthropology. Two of these programs prepare students to transfer to four-year schools: the associate of arts in anthropology for transfer and associate of science in business administration for transfer.

Students can pursue regular or short-term certificates. Short-term options include certificates in bookkeeping technician and computer and information science, which participants can earn in one year. Criminal justice and accounting technician certificates are also available, although these require more courses. LTCC delivers online courses through Canvas.

LTCC also awards academic credit for work experience; learners must complete assignments and objectives related to their workplace, along with an orientation. Local students can attend poetry readings, author signings, and workshops. New and transfer learners benefit from educational planning guidance from counselors.

Distance learners receive access to online tutoring at all hours, along with video counseling through the Cranium Cafe. Candidates can complete a program orientation online.

7

Santa Rosa Junior College 

Santa Rosa, CA

About this school

Santa Rosa Junior College delivered its first classes through Santa Rosa High School in 1918. During the 2017-2018 academic year, this public college enrolled more than 23,000 learners. SRJC is also one of the cheapest online colleges in California.

SRJC offers 13 fully online certificates and three fully online associate degrees, including programs in bookkeeping, humanities, and real estate. SRJC also offers hybrid programs, in which students complete half of the program requirements online. Hybrid options include 18 certificates, in areas such as digital media, business payroll, and child development, as well as 23 associate degrees in disciplines including fire technology, global studies, and psychology.

The institution also offers transfer programs that prepare students to pursue bachelor's degrees. Learners can pursue transfer programs in areas such as agricultural business, art history, and political science. Students in these programs must fulfill the Intersegmental General Education Transfer Curriculum or California State University coursework.

The number of required core classes varies by program. Certificates require 3-36 core units and associate degrees require 18-53.5 core units. Advisors help students build an education plan and determine their anticipated graduation date. Learners complete all online courses through Canvas.

SRJC provides live online counseling sessions and virtual tutoring through NetTutor. Online students can access library resources like e-books and journal articles, and distance learners can attend an online orientation. The school also delivers online workshops for students who plan to transfer to a four-year institution.

8

San Bernardino Valley College 

San Bernadino, CA

About this school

San Bernardino Valley College began educating students in 1926. Today, this public institution enrolls about 12,000 learners per term. California residents pay less than $40 per unit in enrollment fees, and nonresidents pay less than $300 per unit, making SBVC one of the cheapest online community colleges in California.

SBVC offers 22 online certificates and 39 online associate degrees, including programs in early childhood education, radio, geography, real estate, and administration of justice. However, not all programs are fully online. For example, the bookkeeping certificate is 81% online, while learners can complete 91% of the water technology associate degree online. Fully online options include seven certificates (in fields such as water treatment and computer science) and seven associate degrees (in areas including anthropology and sociology.

Learners planning to transfer to a bachelor's program can choose from 15 online transfer degrees, which have varying in-person requirements. Online transfer degrees include programs in political science, English, and physics. SBVC delivers online courses through Canvas.

Online resources include virtual counseling and library access to e-books and databases. Distance learners can access online tutoring for writing assignments -- students submit papers by email and receive feedback within two days. SBVC also provides a handbook for distance learners and tips for succeeding in online programs. Students can also view tutorials on multiple subjects, such as mathematical processes.

9

Merced College 

Merced, CA

About this school

Merced College was founded in 1962 and currently educates more than 16,000 learners; more than half of its student body is made up of first-generation college students. MC is a public school and boasts 182 full-time teachers, 32 student clubs, and 279 online courses.

This affordable California college offers 13 online certificates and 22 online associate degrees, including programs in child development, economics, social media, and business. Most of MC's online programs follow a hybrid format. For example, students can complete 60% of the small business entrepreneurship associate degree and half of the social media certificate online. Only the associate of arts in social and behavioral sciences is available entirely online.

Students can also prepare for bachelor's programs by completing one of nine transfer associate degrees, choosing from options like psychology, geography, elementary teacher education, and economics.

MC delivers online courses through Canvas and provides virtual guidelines on the learning platform to help students submit assignments and utilize calendars. MC also offers a quiz to help individuals determine whether online learning fits their needs.

Distance learners can communicate with counselors online and view job postings through the career center. Online students can also explore 76 online databases and chat with a librarian in real time. Learners have access to virtual tutoring.

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End of list, bravo!

Additional Online Colleges in California Featured on TBS

The schools on this list vary in a multitude of ways. Some of them are small, serving around 1,000 students, while others are large organizations, with tens of thousands of enrolled students. Some of the institutions are public, while others are private; some are religiously affiliated while others are secular. We know that students are diverse in their identities, backgrounds, goals, and needs, so we created a list to help you find an online degree program at a school in California that is the perfect fit for you. Each of the schools on this list offers a number of strong online degree and certificate programs, so that you can be sure to find a distance learning program that’s right for your goals.

American River College

Sacramento, California

California College – San Diego

San Diego, California

California Lutheran University

Thousand Oaks, California

California Southern University

Los Alamitos, California

California State University – Bakersfield

Bakersfield, California

California State University – Long Beach

Long Beach, California

California State University – Los Angeles

Los Angeles, California

California State University – Monterey Bay

Marina, California

Coastline Community College

Fountain Valley, California

Cogswell College

San Jose, California

DeAnza College

Cupertino, California

East San Gabriel Valley Regional Occupational Program & Technical Center

West Covina, California

Foothill College

Los Altos Hills, California

Fuller Theological Seminary

Pasadena, California

Gateway Seminary

Los Angeles, California

Moorpark College

Moorpark, California

Palo Alto University

Palo Alto, California

Pierce College

Los Angeles, California

Saint Mary’s College of California

Moraga, California

Samuel Merritt University

Oakland, California

San Joaquin Delta College

Stockton, California

Santa Barbara City College

Santa Barbara, California

Saybrook University

Oakland, California

Shasta Bible College and Graduate School

Redding, California

Sonoma State University

Rohnert Park, California

Southern California Seminary

El Cajon, California

Stanford University

Stanford, California

University of California – Berkeley

Berkeley, California

University of California – Davis

Davis, California

University of California – Irvine

Irvine, California

University of California – Los Angeles

Los Angeles, California

University of Redlands

Redlands, California

University of San Diego

San Diego, California

Vanguard University of Southern California

Costa Mesa, California

Veritas Evangelical Seminary

Santa Ana, California

Victor Valley College

Victorville, California

Woodbury University

Burbank, California

 

Note: The following schools are for‑profit schools. If you have any questions about for-profit schools, check out our guide for understanding for-profit colleges and universities.

Academy of Art University

San Francisco, California

Archive

2017 Best Online Colleges and University in California
  1. Azusa Pacific University
  2. California Baptist University
  3. Brandman University
  4. The Tseng College California State University Northridge
  5. California State University – San Marcos
  6. California State University – East Bay
  7. National University
  8. Golden Gate University – San Francisco

 

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