Updated at: 03-04-2023 - By: Eden Wise


San Diego is home to some of the best universities in California and the country, and it also has some of the best beaches in the United States. Twenty or more colleges and universities call San Diego, California, home.

Some of these schools have some of the best laboratories in the country, while others have earned a stellar reputation for their study of business, engineering, public health, or the arts. Some universities even offer over a hundred different majors, so students with a wide variety of interests and aspirations can find a program that suits them.

Best Colleges In San Diego

Best colleges in san diego

San Diego Mesa College

San Diego Mesa College

Community college San Diego Mesa is dedicated to student success, inclusion, and equal opportunity for all. We, a diverse group of students, teachers, professionals, and administrators, are committed to upholding these values. In an open and welcoming setting, we develop future leaders and encourage scholarship, innovation, and academic excellence. We promote academic success and learning that can lead to credentialing, transfer, career preparation, and ongoing education for life. In this way, our students can realize their potential and influence the world around them. There are 196 programs leading to an associate’s degree or a certificate and a four-year bachelor’s degree at San Diego Mesa College. Mesa College is widely regarded as the best transfer school in San Diego.

Columbia College-NB San Diego

Columbia University in San Diego was established in 2009. Faculty, academic advisors, and library materials are all readily available online at this location. The venue provides a rare chance for working adults to further their education through a variety of eight-week courses and degree programs. Courses are accessible to both civilians and military personnel thanks to the college’s robust online program and extensive network. Students at Columbia College San Diego have the option of attending either online or on campus. Mondays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays are available for the in-person lessons. It’s also possible to take classes on Saturdays. On-campus instruction occurs primarily on Tuesdays and Wednesdays but also occurs occasionally on Saturdays. The goal of this plan is to establish a prestigious university with a dedication to both innovative and time-honored teaching methods.

Platt College San Diego

Only Plat College San Diego offers a degree that is recognized by the government. Its sole focus is on Web Design and Graphic Design. The programs at PCSD, a school run by a single family, are intended to do just that: inspire and foster creativity and learning. The needs of the students must come first. – Hands-on, Project-Based, Instruction – Free Parking – No Monthly Material Fees – All Books and Supplies Included – Locked Tuition – Job Placement – 32 Months for A.A.S. AND B.S. B.S. PCSD’s degree programs are characterized by a focus on the individual student, a small class size, an inverted curriculum, and hands-on, project-based learning.

San Diego City College

San Diego City College

The success and education of its students are San Diego City College’s number one concern. Associate’s degrees, certificates, and transfer to four-year institutions are all possible outcomes of the college’s lower division and general education offerings. Career and technical education courses are available to help students get jobs after graduation and to fulfill state requirements for licensure in California. We’re proud to say that our community college is among the fastest expanding in the country. This is due to the fact that people in the surrounding area as well as students and faculty at the college recognize its worth. Visit City College and see what it has to offer. If you’re interested in learning more about the fantastic events and everyday magic that take place here, you’ve come to the right place!

SDSU College of Sciences

Since its founding in 1931, the College of Sciences has become the preeminent academic and research institution in the region. In addition to our 8 doctoral and 10 professional certificate programs, we also offer 20 Bachelor’s and 20 Master’s degree programs across 8 different departments. Over 260 professors, lecturers, and researchers work in the fields of Astronomy, Biology, Chemistry, Biochemistry, and Computer Science alone. More than $700,000 was awarded in scholarships by the College of Sciences. Last year, it hired 825 students to work as teaching assistants and work-study assistants. Our learning is enriched by the fieldwork opportunities provided by research centers. The research programs run by our faculty provide students with valuable real-world experience. Our students will be well-equipped for the workforce upon completing these courses.

University of Southern California

Founded in 1880, USC is a private research university in Los Angeles. The university’s Marshall School of Business is well-known for its emphasis on entrepreneurship and innovation, collaborative research, and social responsibility, and is just one of many schools and colleges available to students. Accounting, economics, entrepreneurship, finance, health care administration, human resources management, international business, leadership, marketing, non-profit management, sports business, and supply chain management/logistics are just a few of the many areas of study available at Marshall.

Marshall’s accounting and entrepreneurial studies programs for undergraduates are consistently recognized as among the best in the country. In addition to having the first integrated entrepreneurship program in the country, Marshall also offers the only four-year, three-continent, three-degree program in the world (the World Bachelor of Business, or WBB). The School of Cinematic Arts at the University of Southern California is widely regarded as the best film school in the world, and this university is the only one to offer a Business and Cinematic Arts program.

UC Irvine

UC Irvine

Located roughly in the middle between Los Angeles and San Diego, this large public university in Southern California dates back to 1965. The U.S. News and World Report ranked the University of California, Irvine #34 among National Universities in 2022–23 and #30 among Business Programs.

The University’s Paul Merage School of Business is surrounded by some of the most cutting-edge and successful companies in the world, including Amazon, Google, Disney, Experian, Hyundai, and Taco Bell, all of which call Orange County’s “Tech Coast” home. There are two BA programs available: Business Administration and Business Information Management. Each major allows students to tailor their education to their individual interests and career goals through a combination of concentration and elective courses.

The school offers Master’s degrees in Accounting, Finance, and Business Analytics in addition to its MBA programs in Entrepreneurship, Digital Transformation, and Real Estate.

Pomona College

Pomona College is in Claremont, California, which is about 35 miles east of downtown Los Angeles in the San Gabriel Mountains’ foothills. According to U.S. News & World Report 2022-23, it is the third best national liberal arts college. According to Niche’s list of the “Best Colleges for Psychology in America,” it is ranked #36.

With a focus on empirical research and laboratory experience, the major and minor in Psychological Science at the College provide students with a solid grounding in human behavior, psychological theories, and empirical findings.

Cal Institute of Technology

Cal Institute of Technology

Caltech is a private, non-profit institution located in Pasadena. In 2022-23, the U.S. News & World Report placed it at #9 among National Universities and #4 in the Engineering category. In the 2023 edition of the Times Higher Education World University rankings, it comes in at number six.

Caltech’s six schools all focus heavily on scientific and technological education and investigation. A select group of the brightest and best students are accepted each year due to the university’s rigorous admissions process. Because of its small size, research at Caltech is highly concentrated, and faculty members work closely together across traditional academic departments.

Caltech’s research output is high, and the institute has access to numerous state-of-the-art resources both on and off campus. Some examples are the International Observatory Network, the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, and the Caltech Seismological Laboratory.

There have been a total of 39 Nobel Prizes, 1 Fields Medal, 6 Turing Awards, and 71 United States National Medals of Science or Technology awarded to alumni and faculty of Caltech. The institution has also educated four of the US Air Force’s chief scientists.

San Diego State University

Founded in 1897, San Diego State University (SDSU) is home to roughly 36,000 undergraduates annually and 97 different bachelor’s degree programs. Astronomy, early childhood education, finance, and athletic training are just some of the unique concentrations offered. A Bachelor of Science in Business Administration (BSBA) in accounting, finance, or management is also available.

SDSU Global provides online degree completion courses in a variety of disciplines, including business, teaching, healthcare, and physical education. When it comes to graduate education, San Diego State University (SDSU) ranks highly. In total, there are 84 different master’s programs available here.

Traditional undergraduate programs in California cost $8,140 per year for in-state students. An extra $11,880 is required from non-residents. Graduate students in California pay $9,570 per year, while out-of-state students pay an additional $7,130.

All incoming freshmen are expected to have completed a set of college preparatory courses with a C- or better grade point average. The Senior Colleges and University Commission of the Western Association of Schools and Colleges has granted SDSU regional accreditation.

Point Loma Nazarene University

PLNU is a good option for those seeking a liberal arts education with a Christian worldview. There are 60 different majors to choose from in the arts, sciences, and social sciences at this university. The student-to-teacher ratio of 14:1 allows for more individualized instruction and mentorship opportunities.

Students at the undergraduate level can major in a variety of disciplines, including business, biology, chemistry, multimedia journalism, and even physical education. PLNU is in charge of a fantastic optometry and medical pre-professional program.

Distance education allows students who cannot attend traditional classrooms to complete their degrees. The university’s BA in organizational leadership is one of three that can be finished entirely online. Working professionals can earn their graduate degree at PLNU by taking classes in the evenings or entirely online.

PLNU charges its undergraduates $38,800 per year in tuition fees. The price per unit for graduate school is approximately $320 to $1,160. Applicants at the undergraduate level are exempt from providing SAT or ACT scores. The Western Association of Schools and Colleges’ Senior Colleges and University Commission has granted PLNU regional accreditation.

California State University-San Marcos

The city of San Diego is about 35 miles from CSUSM. About 16,000 students attend the school’s two locations in San Marcos and Temecula. There are a total of 43 bachelor’s degree programs and 24 master’s degree programs available at CSUSM.

Business, science, technology, engineering, modern language, and social science are just some of the bachelor’s degrees offered at CSUSM. With the BA in “special major,” students are given the opportunity to create their own educational path. The university also oversees extensive pre-service and in-service nursing and education programs at both the undergraduate and graduate levels.

CSUSM is widely regarded as one of the best graduate schools in San Diego, with programs leading to master’s degrees in business administration, public health, social work, and biotechnology.

Undergraduates who are not California residents must pay about $15,240 for seven or more units, while in-state students only pay about $5,740. Tuition for residents taking 7 or more graduate units is $7,180 per semester. Extra $16,680 is required for non-residents.

Acceptable academic performance in college preparatory coursework is a grade point average of 3.0. The Western Association of Schools and Colleges Senior Colleges and University Commission has granted CSUSM regional accreditation.

California Western School of Law

Students have the option of attending classes either on campus or online at California Western School of Law. The university offers both traditional on-campus classes in San Diego, California, and a completely online alternative. Students juggling professional and personal commitments can benefit from the adaptability of online courses.

Through the school’s online learning platform, students can interact with their professors and peers. Students can add to their resumes and advance their fields of study by participating in research projects. Counselors help students find useful tools like online job boards and resume critiques. Mock interviews are a great resource for students who are nervous about going on real interviews.

Students who need assistance figuring out how to pay for college can get it from the school’s financial aid office. Students can apply for federal student loans and grants by filling out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).

Alliant International University

Students with demanding schedules can take advantage of Alliant International University’s online learning opportunities. The school’s 20 online programs allow students from all over the world to participate, despite the fact that the campus is located in San Diego, California. 1,507 students are currently taking advantage of the school’s distance learning offerings.

The online learning community provides students with access to support and resources. Participants have the opportunity to expand their professional networks during their time in school. Students can distinguish themselves to potential employers after graduation by completing internships and original research. There are a lot of resources available to online students that help them out all the way through their degree. Participants can practice for their post-graduation job search with the help of career services like mock interviews and resume critiques.

Federal aid is available for many students who demonstrate financial need. Scholarships, fellowships, and other forms of student aid are described by the school’s financial aid office.

San Diego Christian College

Online courses are available at San Diego Christian College for students who need a more versatile learning schedule. Ten different distance programs are available to online students at this California institution. The school provides online programming to 456 students.

Students in different locations can work together through message boards and electronic mail thanks to the online learning community. Participants can expand their sphere of influence and make new friends through the use of virtual communication tools like videoconferencing and chat. Research projects and internships provide excellent opportunities to put knowledge and abilities to use. The school provides online academic advising and tutoring services to its distance education students. Participants are better prepared for professional success through access to networking and career development resources.

Students can get assistance paying for college through federal aid programs. Students interested in learning more about available grants, loans, and work-study opportunities should contact the school’s financial aid office. The school claims that 100% of its students receive some form of financial aid.

San Diego Mesa College

When it comes to online learning, San Diego Mesa College is the clear choice. Without relocating to California, where the main campus is located, students have access to the school’s online programs. There are 7,787 students pursuing degrees entirely online at this school.

Through the online network, distance learners find encouragement and friendship. Participants in an online program can interact with their peers through means such as video conferencing. Students who work closely with faculty members on original research often make significant contributions to the field while also gaining valuable professional experience. The institution provides access to online academic advising to help students pursue their academic and career goals simultaneously. Career services, such as practice interviews and job fairs, are available to enrolled students.

Financial aid is available to help students reduce their debt load. Students can better their financial situations by exploring all available funding options, including those from non-governmental organizations. Sixty-two percent of students receive some form of financial aid to offset the high cost of attending this school.


Schools in San Diego are reasonably priced, generous with financial aid, and conducive to practical application of classroom knowledge. All of the admissions requirements at San Diego’s public and private universities are fulfilled. You should seize the opportunity to enroll in one of these top universities in San Diego.