Best Grad Schools California 2022

Best Grad Schools California 2022

Graduate school may be a critical step in your higher education, whether you are interested in expanding your knowledge, learning a specialization, or earning advanced credentials required by your profession. The best graduate schools in California offer advanced degrees, such as master’s and doctoral degrees, as well as opportunities for independent research, mentorships, and professional networking.

Colleges and Universities in California

California’s higher education institutes span across the entire state, allowing students to study by the beach, in the forest, in small towns, and in large cities. There are over 30 high quality online programs that would allow you to earn a degree from literally anywhere in California, or the world.

The state’s largest university is the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA). UCLA serves nearly 44,000 students and offers a tuition rate around $13,000. This isn’t the only school with a large student body though. California is home to 23 colleges and universities with student populations of over 20,000 students.

Find college admissions consultants in your state.

However, more than half of the state’s schools serve smaller student populations, offering plenty of options for students who crave a more intimate campus experience. Additionally, California boasts 50 religiously affiliated schools. Many of these schools have high graduation rates. However, tuition costs can range greatly, from $8,000 at Bethesda University up to $54,000 at Pepperdine University.

Additionally, many of California’s colleges and universities boast influential faculty and alumni, including Neil Armstrong, Jerry Lewis, and Weird Al Yankovic. In addition to famous alumni and professors, California’s schools are also home to some of the country’s top degree programs, including nursing, business, religious studies, education, literature, and law. Many of these schools offer online courses and complete online programs in these same disciplines.

Though Hollywood has given us an inside look into California’s most popular landmarks and attractions, these one-of-a-kind places aren’t the only reason people flock to The Golden State. With hundreds of colleges and universities, as well as community and junior colleges, to choose from, students have countless opportunities to further their education in California.

Many of these opportunities are also accessible through online courses and online colleges. A growing number of online programs in California have received accreditation from the Western Association of Schools, which means online students have a higher level of quality assurance than ever before. It’s also worth noting that students who live in California can still get an in-state discount on their associate degree or bachelor’s degree even when completing online courses or online programs.

To learn more about earning your degree in California, check out some of the state’s top programs and career paths.


What are California’s Colleges & Universities?

California’s Best Overall


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There are 47 doctorate-granting graduate schools in California. Our ranking of the best graduate schools in the California is composed of both private and public schools. To be included, schools must be fully accredited non-profit institutions, and must offer doctoral degrees and a broad array of graduate degrees.

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Best Grad Schools in California 2022

  1. #1

    Stanford University

    Stanford , CA
    Other Rankings

    Tuition + fees

    $56K

    Acceptance

    5%

    Graduation

    95%

    Student body

    15K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1505/33

    Stanford University’s Online Degrees

    MS in Electrical Engineering
    • Required Credits: 30-36
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    MS in Mechanical Engineering
    • Required Credits: 30-36
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    MS in Management Science and Engineering
    • Required Credits: 30-36
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    MS in Materials Science and Engineering
    • Required Credits: 30-36
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    MS in Civil and Environmental Engineering
    • Required Credits: 30-36
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    MS in Computer Science
    • Required Credits: 30-36
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    MS in Chemical Engineering
    • Required Credits: 30-36
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    MS in Learning, Design and Technology
    • Required Credits: 30-36
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    MS in Aeronautics and Astronautics
    • Required Credits: 30-36
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    MS in Biomedical Informatics
    • Required Credits: 30-36
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    MS in Computational and Mathematical Engineering
    • Required Credits: 30-36
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
  2. Other Rankings

    Tuition + fees

    $14K

    Acceptance

    17%

    Graduation

    92%

    Student body

    43K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1430/33

  3. Other Rankings

    Tuition + fees

    $13K

    Acceptance

    14%

    Graduation

    91%

    Student body

    45K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1415/32

    What is University of California, Los Angeles known for?

    University of California, Los Angeles’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    Most Influential Alumni

  4. Other Rankings

    Tuition + fees

    $62K

    Acceptance

    16%

    Graduation

    92%

    Student body

    40K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1445/32

    University of Southern California’s Online Degrees

    MBA in Business Administration
    • Required Credits: 51
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    MSN in Nursing
    • Required Credits: None Reported
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    MS in Applied Psychology
    • Required Credits: 34
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    MSW in Social Work
    • Required Credits: 60
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    MS in Mechanical Engineering
    Degree Concentrations
    • Energy Conversion
    • Required Credits: 27
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    MS in Computer Science
    Degree Concentrations
    • Scientists and Engineers
    • Data Science
    • Software Engineering
    • Computer Security
    • Required Credits: 27-37
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    MS in Criminal Justice
    • Required Credits: 24
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    MSL or LLM in Law
    • Required Credits: 21-32
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    eMHA in Health Administration
    • Required Credits: 36
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    MS in Civil Engineering
    Degree Concentrations
    • Structural Engineering
    • Required Credits: 27
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    Master of Business Administration (MBA)
    • Required Credits: 51
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    MBT in Business Taxation
    • Required Credits: 30
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    MCM in Communication Management
    • Required Credits: 32
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    MS in Global Supply Chain Management
    • Required Credits: 30
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    MS in Integrated Design, Business and Technology
    • Required Credits: 38
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    MS in Human Resource Management
    • Required Credits: 24
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    MS in Project Management
    • Required Credits: 24
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    MS in Hospitality and Tourism
    • Required Credits: 24
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    MS in Computer Science
    Degree Concentrations
    • Computer Security
    • Data Science
    • Scientists and Engineers
    • Software Engineering
    • Required Credits: 32
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    LLM in Master of Laws
    • Required Credits: 37
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    MS in Human Security and Geospatial Intelligence
    • Required Credits: 34
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    MS in Criminal Justice
    • Required Credits: 24
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    MSL in Law
    • Required Credits: 21
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    MA in Teaching
    Degree Concentrations
    • Middle or High School
    • TESOL
    • Required Credits: 31
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    ME in Enrollment Management and Policy
    • Required Credits: 30
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    ME in Learning Design and Technology
    • Required Credits: 30
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    ME in School Counseling
    • Required Credits: 49
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    eMUP in Urban Planning
    • Required Credits: 24
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    MLIS in Library and Information Science
    • Required Credits: 31
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    MPA in Public Administration
    • Required Credits: 40
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    MSW in Social Work
    • Required Credits: 60
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    eMHA in Health Administration
    • Required Credits: 36
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    MA in Gerontology
    • Required Credits: 28
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    MACM in Academic Medicine
    • Required Credits: 32
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    MASM in Aging Services Management
    • Required Credits: 32
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    MLTCA in Long Term Care Administration
    • Required Credits: 28
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    MPH in Public Health
    • Required Credits: 42
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    MS in Orofacial Pain and Oral Medicine
    • Required Credits: 33
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    MS in Geriatric Dentistry
    • Required Credits: 30.5
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    MS in Pain Medicine
    • Required Credits: 33
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    MS in Community Oral Health
    • Required Credits: 26
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    MS in Medical Device and Diagnostic Imaging
    • Required Credits: 28
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    MS in Gerontology
    • Required Credits: 44
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    MS in Nutrition, Healthspan, and Longevity
    • Required Credits: 46
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    MSN in Nursing
    • Required Credits: 49
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    MS in Applied Psychology
    • Required Credits: 34
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    MCM in Construction Management
    • Required Credits: 32
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    MS in Aerospace Engineering
    • Required Credits: 27
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    MS in Aerospace and Mechanical Engineering
    Degree Concentrations
    • Computational Fluid and Solid Mechanics Program
    • Dynamics and Control
    • Required Credits: 27
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    MS in Mechanical Engineering
    Degree Concentrations
    • Energy Conversion
    • Required Credits: 27
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    MS in Aerospace Engineering and Engineering Management
    • Required Credits: 48
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    MS in Mechanical Engineering and Engineering Management
    • Required Credits: 48
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    MS in Astronautical Engineering
    • Required Credits: 27
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    MS in Biomedical Engineering
    Degree Concentrations
    • Medical Imaging and Imaging Informatics
    • Required Credits: 29
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    MS in Chemical Engineering
    • Required Credits: 28
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    MS in Materials Engineering
    • Required Credits: 27
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    MS in Petroleum Engineering
    Degree Concentrations
    • Geoscience Technologies
    • Smart Oilfield Technologies
    • Required Credits: 35
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    MS in Petroleum Engineering and Engineering Management
    • Required Credits: 45
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    MS in Civil Engineering
    Degree Concentrations
    • Construction Engineering and Management
    • Required Credits: 27
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    MS in Civil Engineering
    Degree Concentrations
    • Structural Engineering
    • Required Credits: 27
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    MS in Computer Engineering
    • Required Credits: 28
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    MS in Electrical Engineering
    Degree Concentrations
    • Computer Networks
    • Electric Power
    • VLSI Design
    • Required Credits: 27
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    MS in Electrical Engineering and Engineering Management
    • Required Credits: 48
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    MS in Engineering Management
    • Required Credits: 30
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    MS in Industrial and Systems Engineering
    • Required Credits: 28
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    MS in Operations Research Engineering
    • Required Credits: 30
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    MS in Product Development Engineering
    • Required Credits: 27
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    MS in Aerospace Engineering and Engineering Management
    • Required Credits: 48
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    MS in Mechanical Engineering and Engineering Management
    • Required Credits: 48
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    MS in Petroleum Engineering and Engineering Management
    • Required Credits: 45
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    MS in Electrical Engineering and Engineering Management
    • Required Credits: 48
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    MS in Systems Architecting and Engineering
    • Required Credits: 30
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    MS in Systems Architecting and Engineering
    • Required Credits: 15
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    MS in Applied Data Science
    • Required Credits: 32
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    MS in CyberSecurity Engineering
    • Required Credits: 28
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    MS in Green Technologies
    • Required Credits: 27
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    MS in Financial Engineering
    • Required Credits: 30
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
  5. Other Rankings

    Tuition + fees

    $59K

    Acceptance

    7%

    Graduation

    92%

    Student body

    2K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1545/35

  6. Other Rankings

    Tuition + fees

    $14K

    Acceptance

    30%

    Graduation

    85%

    Student body

    38K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1295/28

    University of California, Irvine’s Online Degrees

    MA in Criminology
    • Required Credits: 52
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    Master of Legal and Forensic Psychology
    • Required Credits: 52
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    MS in Computer Engineering
    • Required Credits: 52
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
  7. Tuition + fees

    $14K

    Acceptance

    66%

    Graduation

    77%

    Student body

    25K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1230/26

  8. Tuition + fees

    $8K

    Acceptance

    37%

    Graduation

    76%

    Student body

    34K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1215/25

    San Diego State University’s Online Degrees

    MA in Education
    Degree Concentrations
    • Teacher Leadership
    • Required Credits: 30
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    MPH in Health Promotion and Behavioral Science
    • Required Credits: 51
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    MS in Computer Engineering
    • Required Credits: 31
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    MS in Electrical Engineering
    • Required Credits: 30
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    MPH in Epidemiology
    • Required Credits: 51
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    MS in Regulatory Affairs
    • Required Credits: 31
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    MS in Rehabilitation Counseling
    • Required Credits: 60
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    MA in Meeting and Event Management
    • Required Credits: 30
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online (Plus two weeks on SDSU campus)
    MA in Master of Hospitality and Tourism
    • Required Credits: 30
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online (Plus two weeks on SDSU campus)
    MPA in Public Administration
    • Required Credits: 36
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    MA in Teacher Leadership
    • Required Credits: 30-36
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    Master of Public Health
    Degree Concentrations
    • Health Promotion and Behavioral Science
    • Epidemiology
    • Required Credits: 30-36
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    Master of Public Administration
    • Required Credits: 30-36
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    MS in Big Data Analytics
    • Required Credits: 30-36
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    MS in Computer Engineering
    • Required Credits: 30-36
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    MS in Electrical Engineering
    • Required Credits: 30-36
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    MS in Regulatory Affairs
    • Required Credits: 30-36
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
  9. #14

    San Francisco State University

    San Francisco , CA
    Other Rankings

    Tuition + fees

    $7K

    Acceptance

    84%

    Graduation

    55%

    Student body

    25K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1045/20

  10. #16

    Pepperdine University

    Malibu , CA

    Tuition + fees

    $60K

    Acceptance

    42%

    Graduation

    89%

    Student body

    9K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1340/29

    Pepperdine University’s Online Degrees

    Master of Business Analytics
    • Required Credits: 31
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    MS in Human Resources
    • Required Credits: 39
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    MS in Management and Leadership
    • Required Credits: 36
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
  11. Tuition + fees

    $7K

    Acceptance

    76%

    Graduation

    52%

    Student body

    23K

    Median SAT/ACT

    985/17

  12. #21

    University of San Diego

    San Diego , CA

    Tuition + fees

    $53K

    Acceptance

    59%

    Graduation

    80%

    Student body

    8K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1280/28

    University of San Diego’s Online Degrees

    MS in Cyber Security Operations and Leadership
    • Required Credits: 31
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    MS in Law Enforcement and Public Safety Leadership
    • Required Credits: 31
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    MEd in Curriculum and Instruction
    • Required Credits: 37
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    MEd in Inclusive Learning: Special Education and Universal Design
    • Required Credits: 37
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    MEd in Literacy and Digital Learning
    • Required Credits: 37
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    MEd in School Leadership
    • Required Credits: 37
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    MEd in Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Mathematics STEAM
    • Required Credits: 37
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
  13. Tuition + fees

    $52K

    Acceptance

    71%

    Graduation

    70%

    Student body

    5K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1240/27

    University of the Pacific ’s Online Degrees

    LLM in Law
    Degree Concentrations
    • Water and Environmental Law
    • Required Credits: 24
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    MS in Law
    Degree Concentrations
    • Government Law and Policy
    • Water and Environmental Law
    • Required Credits: 26
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
  14. #24

    Loyola Marymount University

    Los Angeles , CA

    Tuition + fees

    $54K

    Acceptance

    50%

    Graduation

    83%

    Student body

    9K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1320/29

  15. #25

    Golden Gate University

    San Francisco , CA

    Tuition + fees

    $13K

    Student body

    1K

    Golden Gate University’s Online Degrees

    MS in Accounting
    Degree Concentrations
    • Financial Accounting and Report
    • Forensic Accounting
    • Internal Auditing
    • Management Accounting
    • Taxation Concentration
    • Required Credits: 30
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    MS in Advanced Financial Planning
    Degree Concentrations
    • Estate Planning
    • Financial Life Planning
    • Taxation
    • Required Credits: 30
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    MS in Business Analytics
    • Required Credits: 39
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    MS in Finance
    Degree Concentrations
    • Corporate Finance
    • General Finance
    • Investment Management
    • Required Credits: 45
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    MS in Financial Planning
    • Required Credits: 30
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    MS in Human Resource Management
    • Required Credits: 27
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    MS in Leadership
    • Required Credits: 30
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    MS in Marketing
    Degree Concentrations
    • Digital Marketing
    • Individualized
    • Marketing Analytics
    • Required Credits: 39
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    Master of Business Administration (MBA)
    Degree Concentrations
    • Accounting
    • Adaptive Leadership
    • Business Analytics
    • Entrepreneurship
    • Finance
    • General
    • Global Supply Chain Management
    • Human Resource Management
    • IT Management
    • Juris Doctor (Joint Degree)
    • Marketing
    • Project Management
    • Required Credits: 54
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    MS in Project Management
    • Required Credits: 33
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    MS in Taxation
    • Required Credits: 30
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    MS in Information Technology Management
    • Required Credits: 36
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    MA in Counseling Psychology
    • Required Credits: 60
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
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California’s Best Grad School for Your Area of Interest

Resources for Prospective Grad Students

2021 Ranking Archive

Many of our 2022 undergraduate focused rankings look considerably different than 2021. That’s because we took a fundamentally different apporach. For 2021 we utiulized our Concentrated Influence algorithm, designed to take away the size advantage larger schools have when we rank their faculty and alumni’s academic influence. Concentrated influence highlights smaller schools that are proportionally as successful as larger universities at cultivating influential alumni and faculty.

  1. Stanford University
  2. University of California, Berkeley
  3. University of California, Los Angeles
  4. University of California, San Diego
  5. University of Southern California
  6. California Institute of Technology
  7. University of California, Santa Barbara
  8. University of California, Davis
  9. University of California, Irvine
  10. University of California, San Francisco
  11. University of California, Santa Cruz
  12. University of California, Riverside
  13. San Francisco State University
  14. San Diego State University
  15. Pepperdine University
  16. Claremont Graduate University
  17. Santa Clara University
  18. California Institute of the Arts
  19. California State University, Long Beach
  20. Naval Postgraduate School
  21. California State University, Los Angeles
  22. Loyola Marymount University
  23. University of California, Merced
  24. University of San Francisco
  25. Chapman University