Higher Education in California
California is proud of the rich diversity of its top-rated universities, which offer highly respected programs to students from around the world. Students can earn state-recognized degrees or certificates at 455 colleges and universities within the state. A large number of universities and independent language institutes offer programs in English as a Second Language.
California Community Colleges
California's community colleges constitute the largest educational system in the world, providing service to more than a million students each year in 108 colleges.
Since 1908, these institutes have ceased to be mere secondary schools or junior colleges offering vocational courses. They have become comprehensive community colleges offering outstanding educational opportunities to meet diverse local educational and technical needs.
Many of these schools are attractive to international students because of their proximity to U.S. borders (community colleges in San Diego), the variety of their academic programs (graphic design and animation in Santa Monica, applied technology in Santa Clara and San Jose, and agribusiness in Monterey and Fresno), or their reputation for preparing students for a successful transition to highly selective universities.
California's community colleges are located in various areas around the state at a convenient distance (30 or 40 minutes) from the largest cities. Some 1.6 million students were enrolled in Community Colleges in California in Fall, 2006.
California State University
California State University (CSU) is the second largest public educational system in the state in size and diversity, with a student population of more than 417,000 on 23 campuses across the state in Fall 2006.
The principal role of CSU is to provide undergraduate instruction and advanced degree programs in more than 200 fields, such as liberal arts and sciences and pre-career training for professions, for example, business administration and education. Academic research by faculty members in their disciplines is encouraged. The State University also offers doctoral programs in conjunction with other public and private universities and independently offers doctoral instruction in educational leadership.
CSU has campuses in various areas of the state: Humboldt (the farthest north), Chico, Sacramento, Sonoma, Vallejo (the only maritime program), San Francisco, East Bay (formerly Hayward), San Jose, Stanislaus, Monterey Bay (the only campus to be converted from a military base into an educational institution fully equipped to meet the academic needs of its students), Fresno, Bakersfield, San Louis Obispo, Northridge, Channel Islands, Pomona, Los Angeles, Dominguez Hills, San Bernardino, Long Beach, Fullerton, San Marcos and San Diego (the farthest south).
The University of California
The University of California, enrolling more than 214,000 students in Fall 2006, is one of the most prestigious institutions of higher learning in the world. The main public research university in the state, it offers a variety of degree programs in many fields and exclusive Master's degree programs in areas such as dentistry, medicine, law and veterinary medicine. It is also the only state institution to offer doctoral programs, except in fields where the doctoral degree is awarded jointly with CSU or in educational leadership, which is offered independently by CSU.
A large number of international students have been and continue to be attracted to the University of California because of the highly respected quality of its programs leading to research , master's and professional degrees. Its campuses are located in the most beautiful historic areas of California: Davis (the farthest north), Berkeley, San Francisco (the only medical science campus in the north), Santa Cruz, Santa Barbara, Los Angeles, Riverside, Irvine, and San Diego (the farthest south). The University of California recently opened a new tenth campus in the city of Merced. Among the faculty are professors of all disciplines who are recognized as experts both nationally and internationally.
Private Colleges and Universities
Some 130 universities and independent institutes accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges offer educational opportunities on 242 campuses in the state.
These accredited private institutions of higher learning range from universities with a world-wide reputation such as Stanford, California Institute of Technology and the University of Southern California to less well known colleges and professional institutes oriented toward future practitioners of various professions. Of these 130 institutions, 106 offer four-year programs , while the remaining 24 are two-year colleges. Enrollment varies from 200 to 27,000 students. Faculty members are among the most respected in their fields.
Mind, Body, Soul
One can easily be overwhelmed by the countless intellectual and research opportunities available in the extraordinary California state system of public and private institutions of higher learning. Exposure to significant authors, world-class musicians, companies that stretch the frontiers of technology and computer applications, together with the chance to become active in community service, all are within reach across the state.
Recreational activities also abound. One can visit the birthplace of Mickey Mouse and his friends in Disneyland, located in Anaheim, California as well as various theme parks from Knottsberry to Magic Mountain to Marine World/Africa USA. For the more "relaxed" student, California offers literally thousands of miles of beaches on its 900-mile coast. For the more daring, there are many mountains to climb, rapids to ride, and world-class skiing sites to enjoy during the winter months. For lovers of the fine arts and culture, there are San Francisco, Los Angeles, and San Diego, which rank among the best for theater, museums, and cuisine.
You will find all your heart desires in the "Golden State". In short, there's no place like California to cultivate a sound mind, a healthy body and a free spirit!