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How many universities are there in California?

339 Universities/Collegs

More college students reside in California than in any other state in the union. The 339 colleges and universities of California, which include prestigious institutions like Stanford, UC-Berkeley, and UCLA, had 2.71 million students enrolled as of 2021.

The Public Policy Institute of California claims that the largest higher education system in the nation is located in the Golden State.

The largest public four-year higher education system in the country is the California State University system, while the University of California system, which consists of ten campuses, is the primary academic research institution in the state.

The state map also shows a large number of private universities and community colleges. See this state's Top 10 Best Colleges.

Top 10 Best Universities In California By Enrollment Rate

1. University of Southern California

Top 10 Best Universities In California By Enrollment Rate (Ranked By Niche)

Enrollment Rate: 48,945

Founded in 1880, the University of Southern California is a private university. key metropolitan setting, 226-acre campus, and total undergraduate enrollment of 20,699 (fall 2022) are key features. The academic calendar is based on the semester. University of Southern California is ranked #28 in National Universities in the 2024 edition of Best Colleges. The total cost of attendance is $68,237.

2. University of California Los Angeles

Enrollment Rate: 46,430

According to the U.S. News & World Report 2024 rankings, UCLA is the most popular university in California and the nation's top public university (tied with UC Berkeley).

Among national universities, the University of California, Los Angeles ranked eighth as the best college for veterans.

According to the Times Higher Education World Reputation Rankings, which reflect the opinions of eminent, published academics worldwide, is ranked ninth out of 100 universities.

READ MORE: Top 10 Most Conservative Colleges In The U.S

3. University of California Berkeley

Enrollment Rate: 45,307

With a view of San Francisco Bay, the University of California, Berkeley—also known as Cal—is located. At Berkeley, at least 95% of incoming freshman decide to live on campus. Over a thousand student organizations exist, spanning from political organizations to hang gliding clubs and all points in between. Berkeley boasts numerous fraternity and sorority organizations and a vibrant Greek community. Berkeley's sports teams, the California Golden Bears, play in the Pac-12 Conference and are well-known for their long-standing rivalry with Stanford University.

4. University of California San Diego

Top 10 Best Universities In California By Enrollment Rate (Ranked By Niche)

Enrollment Rate: 42,006

Located in San Diego's seaside La Jolla area, the University of California-San Diego (UCSD) is a public research institution renowned for both its close proximity to the Pacific Ocean and its demanding academic atmosphere. The University of California system has ten campuses, with a focus on research, innovation, and interdisciplinary collaboration. The university was founded in 1960. Modernist and brutalist architectural elements coexist in UCSD's campus design, which is divided into seven residential colleges, each with unique living and general education requirements.

READ MORE: The Top 10 Most Reputable Business Colleges in the World

5. California State University Fullerton

Enrollment Rate: 40,386

Top ranking in the Wall Street Journal's 2021–2022 "National Champions of Affordability" bracket, third place in U.S. News & World Report's 2021–2022 "most innovative regional university in the West" list, and the Seal of Excelencia are just a few of Fullerton's many accolades.

A nonprofit organization named Excelencia in Education bestows the Seal of Excelencia with the goal of hastening Latinx students' success in postsecondary education. The university had to demonstrate that it actively assists Latinx students, who account for about half of the student body, in order to receive the seal.

6. University of California Davis

Enrollment Rate: 39,679

Founded in 1905, the University of California, Davis is a public university. As of fall 2022, there are 31,532 undergraduate students enrolled overall, and the campus spans 5,300 acres. It follows the academic schedule based on quarters. The University of California, Davis is ranked #28 among national universities in the 2024 edition of Best Colleges. $15,266 is the in-state tuition and fees, while $46,043 is the out-of-state tuition and fees.

7. California State University Long Beach

Top 10 Best Universities In California By Enrollment Rate (Ranked By Niche)

Enrollment Rate: 38,973

Founded in 1949, California State University-Long Beach (CSULB) is a public university. Situated in Long Beach, California, it provides an urban campus setting on 322 acres with a blend of modernist and contemporary architecture. Located about 25 miles south of Los Angeles' downtown, CSULB offers easy access to both a diversified cultural environment and a large metropolitan area. The university, which is well-known for its selective admissions process, provides a broad range of undergraduate and graduate programs, with a focus on business, engineering, the arts, and education.

8. California State University Northridge

Enrollment Rate: 37,579

California State University-Northridge (CSUN) is a public university that was founded in 1958. It is situated in the San Fernando Valley in the suburban area of Northridge, California, about thirty minutes from downtown Los Angeles. The campus, which covers an area of more than 356 acres, features Modernist architectural designs and is home to a diverse range of plants that enhance the college's appealing physical environment. Notably known for its College of Business and Economics, College of Education, and College of Engineering and Computer Science, CSUN provides a wide range of undergraduate and graduate degrees.

9. San Diego State University

Enrollment Rate: 37,402

Located in San Diego, California, San Diego State institution (SDSU) is a public research institution. It is the third-oldest university in the California State University system, having opened for business in 1897. Less than ten miles from downtown San Diego, the university's 283-acre campus is home to a blend of Spanish Colonial Revival and Modernist architectural styles. A wide range of academic offerings is provided by SDSU, including well-known courses in psychology, engineering, and business administration.

10. University of California Irvine

Enrollment Rate: 35,937

Situated in Irvine, California, University of California-Irvine (UCI) is a public research university that is a member of the esteemed University of California system. Located about 50 miles south of Los Angeles on the coast of Southern California, UCI was established in 1965 and offers a suburban setting with a Mediterranean climate. The school is well-known for its modern architecture, which includes the imposing Langson Library, and Aldrich Park, a central park featuring a botanical garden. Student accommodation is available at UCI in a number of residential communities.


That concludes our discussion of the top 10 California colleges. Even now, the largest schools in California are among the top 25 in the nation for enrollment. These universities have the biggest student bodies among all of California's colleges. In California, public schools account for about 80% of college enrollment and are the most populous type of higher education in the state.

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