Top Universities in California 2023

Searching for the top universities in California? If so, we have published a list of the best colleges in California to choose from.

Many US citizens and international students have chosen California as their top destination. The University of Southern California for example has the highest number of international students enrolled in the US. These top state institutions in California provide the highest educational opportunities.

Below is an overview of the best colleges in California based on the most recent USA rankings, to help you decide where to pursue your bachelor, master, or PhD degree.

Top Universities in California

1. Stanford University

Located in Stanford, California, Stanford university is a private research university. Graduate programs are offered at Stanford University in 90 different fields.

Stanford’s most popular graduate program is engineering, which enrolls around 40% of its students. Additionally, Stanford’s online courses give students the flexibility to study part-time, from any location, and with any instructor around the globe.

University Type Private Research University
Established 1885
QS Ranking 3
Program Offered Bachelor, and Masters
Intake Spring and Fall
Program Fees (Annually) Undergraduate- USD: 52394.49

Masters-  USD- 28114.12

Admission Requirements TOEFL iBT- 100


IELTS – 7.0

PTE- 68

2. The University of California, Berkeley

Founded in 1868, the University of California—Berkeley is a public research university and is widely known as one of the greatest state universities in America.

Over 350-degree programs and 160 undergraduate programs are available to students. Being one of the best universities in California, the university also offers doctoral undergraduate programs.

University Public Research University
Established 1868
Program Offered Bachelor, Master, and PhD
Intake Fall and Summer
Program Fees (Annually) Bachelors- USD 40893.26

Masters- USD 65173.64

PhD- USD 57521

Admission Requirements SAT- 1330

ACT- 29


IELTS- 6.5

3. California Institute of Technology

Founded in 1891, the esteemed California Institute of Technology is a private research institution. The Pasadena-based Caltech has established itself as the top technological university both domestically and internationally.

It receives thousands of applications from America alone, as one might anticipate, in addition to many more throughout the world. But gaining admission is not that easy.

University Private Research Institute
Establishment 1891
QS Ranking 6
Program Offered Degree, Master, and PhD
Intake Fall
Program Fees (Annually) Undergraduate- USD 56364

Masters- USD 58479

PhD-USD 58467

Admission Requirement SAT- 1507

ACT- 36


GRE- 293

IELTS- 6.5

4. University of California, San Diego

The University of California, San Diego is one of the public Ivy universities in the United States, whose mission is to provide students with an education of the same standard as that offered by Ivy League private universities.

Popular majors at the university include biochemistry, computer science, economics, and molecular biology.

University Type Open Research
Established 1956
QS Ranking 53
Programs Offered Undergraduate, MBA, and Masters
Intake Summer
Program Fees (Annually) Undergraduate- USD – 44402

Maters- USD- 55242

MBA- USD -56777.74

Admission Requirement IELTS-7


5. University of Southern California

The state’s first research university is the Southern California University. Ninety-five bachelor’s, certificate, master’s, and Ph.D. degree programs are open to applicants at the USC Marshall School of Business. Its acceptance rate is 16.1 percent. Approximately 46,000 students enroll at the University each year.

University Type State
Establishment 1920
QS Ranking 134
Program Offered Undergraduate, and Masters
Intake Fall
Program Fees (Annually) Undergraduate- USD 27660

Masters- USD- 25000

MBA- USD 64575

Admission Requirement SAT- 1530

ACT- 34

TOEFL- 90 or above


6. University of California, Santa Cruz

The University of California, Santa Cruz is a public research institution established in 1965. This institution has proven to be exceptional in many ways. And due to its wide campus and lovely location, this university has consistently produced excellent alumni.

University Type Public
Established 1965
QS Ranking 375
Program Offered Undergraduate, Master, and PhD
Intake Fall, Winter, and Spring
Program Fees (Annually) Undergraduate- USD – 43779

Masters- USD 43820

PhD- US 3814

Admission Requirements IELTS-80

TOEFL iBT- 6.5

7. Orange Coast College

Orange Coast College was established in 1948. It is one of the top universities in California, a part of the Coast Community College District, and has received full accreditation from the WASC.

The university also provides qualified applicants with financial aid. Scholarships are awarded to deserving students based on their academic performance and financial need. Additionally, the college offers four High School Scholarship opportunities each year to graduates.

University Public
Establishment 1948
QS Ranking 2023 NA
Programs Offered Degree,  and MBA
Intake Fall
Program Fees (Annually) Degree- USD- 26140

MBA- USD 35781

Admission Requirements TOEFL- 61 (Internet)/ 500 (Paper Based)

IELTS- 5.5

8. Claremont Mckenna College

Claremont McKenna College is a private, American liberal arts institution. It was established in 1946 and offers top-notch education with a concentration on public affairs, international relations, and finance.

CMC is one of the seven colleges that make up the Claremont Colleges consortium. This allows students to take courses in any of the participating colleges.

The best infrastructure is provided to students in the form of student health services, sporting facilities, shared libraries, and other amenities.

University Private
Establishment 1946
QS Ranking NA
Programs Offered Undergraduate, Master, and Dual Degrees
Intake NA
Program Fees (Annually) Undergraduate- USD- 60175

Masters – USD 35000

Dual Degree- NA

Admission Requirements SAT- 1440

ACT- 33

9. Pomona College

The college has about 1,703 undergraduate students and uses a semester-based academic calendar. It offers 48 different majors and 600 different courses.

Because Pomona is a part of the Claremont Colleges consortium, its students can enroll in courses at any of the consortium’s six other colleges, including Pitzer College, Claremont Graduate University, Harvey Mudd College, Scripps College, Claremont McKenna College, and Keck Graduate Institute of Applied Life Sciences.

University Type Private
Established 1887
QS Ranking NA
Program Offered Undergraduate, and Masters
Intake Summer
Program Fees (Annually) Undergraduate- USD 75094

Masters- USD 56248

Admission Requirements TOEFL- 100


10. Harvey Mudd College

Harvey Mudd College was founded in 1955 and is located in Claremont, California. It is a member of the esteemed network of colleges known as The Claremont Colleges.

There are seven academic departments at Harvey Mudd College. Computer science, biology, engineering, physics, and social sciences are some of the university’s departments. Harvey Mudd is a very selective college with a reputation for having a strong intellectual ethos.

University Private
Establishment 1955
QS Ranking NA
Programs Offered Bachelor (Major)
Intake Fall
Program Fees (Annually) USD- 62617.81
Admission Requirement TOEFL- 100

IELTS- 7.5



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