Top 10 Best Private Universities In California, USA

The Top Private Universities ranking is based on rigorous analysis of academic, admissions, financial, and student life data from the U.S. Department of Education along for millions of reviews from students and alumni. The ranking compares top private colleges and universities in each state. Statistics obtained from the U.S. Department of Education represent the most recent data available, as self-reported by the colleges.

1. University of Southern California (Private university in Los Angeles, California)

Top 10 Best Private Universities In California, USA

The University of Southern California (USC) is a private research university in Los Angeles, California. Founded in 1880, it is the oldest private research university in California. For the 2018–19 academic year, there were 20,000 students enrolled in four-year undergraduate programs.

The University of Southern California is one of the world’s leading private research universities. An anchor institution in Los Angeles, a global center for arts, technology and international business, USC’s diverse curricular offerings provide extensive opportunities for interdisciplinary study and collaboration with leading researchers in highly advanced learning environments.

As a top-ranked private research institution, the University of Southern California offers everything you are looking for: world-class resources on a human scale, more academic opportunities than any other American university, a vibrant campus life, a location in the heart of a dynamic world center and the lifelong support of the Trojan Family.

USC grants $256 million of financial aid each year. This is the largest pool of financial aid of any institution of higher education in the country, and benefits 70% of the undergraduate student population.

2. Stanford University (Private university in Stanford, California)

Stanford University (Private university in Stanford, California)

Stanford University, officially Leland Stanford Junior University, is a private research university in Stanford, California. Stanford is known for its academic achievements, wealth, close proximity to Silicon Valley, and selectivity; it ranks as one of the world's top universities.

Stanford students come from across the U.S. and the world, representing diverse experiences, backgrounds and cultures. About 1,700 freshmen and 30 transfer students are admitted to Stanford each year.

Stanford meets the full financial need of every admitted undergrad who qualifies for assistance. Tuition is covered for undergrads with family incomes under $150,000. Tuition, room and board are covered for undergrads with family incomes below $65,000.

There are 2.2 lakh Stanford alumni living across all 50 states and the District of Columbia and they are spread across 158 countries worldwide. Stanford faculty and alumni have also helped create some big companies such as eBay, Cisco Systems, LinkedIn, Instagram, Google and many more.

3. California Institute of Technology (Private university in Pasadena, California)

California Institute of Technology (Private university in Pasadena, California)

The California Institute of Technology (Caltech) is a private doctorate-granting research university in Pasadena, California. Known for its strength in natural science and engineering, Caltech is often ranked as one of the world's top-ten universities.

The Institute manages JPL for NASA, sending probes to explore the planets of our solar system and quantify changes on our home planet. Caltech also owns and operates large-scale research facilities such as the Seismological Laboratory and a global network of astronomical observatories, including the Palomar and W. M. Keck Observatories; and cofounded and comanages LIGO.

4. Pepperdine University (Private university in Malibu, California)

Pepperdine University (Private university in Malibu, California)

Pepperdine is a Christian university committed to the highest standards of academic excellence and Christian values, where students are strengthened for lives of purpose, service, and leadership. Consistently ranked as one of the most beautiful places to study, Pepperdine is where you're inspired to learn as you learn to inspire.

Pepperdine offers rigorous programs, valuable resources, and countless opportunities that will enable you to pursue your desired course of study.

5. Santa Clara University

Santa Clara University

Located in the heart of Silicon Valley, Santa Clara University blends high-tech innovation with a social consciousness grounded in the Jesuit educational tradition about 5,400 undergraduate students and about 3,300 postgraduate students.

6. University of San Francisco (Private university in San Francisco, California)

University of San Francisco (Private university in San Francisco, California)

At the University of San Francisco (USF), you study with professors, not with graduate students. In small classes, not big lecture halls. Your professors will know your name, challenge you with tough questions, ask you to assist them with their research. And they’ll help you every step of the way.

All five USF schools — the College of Arts and Sciences, the School of Education, the School of Law, the School of Management, and the School of Nursing and Health Professions — design rigorous curricula that equip graduates with the market-ready know-how, communication skills, and professional opportunities to be successful leaders in their first career and their next.

7. Loyola Marymount University (Private university in Los Angeles, California)

Loyola Marymount University (Private university in Los Angeles, California)

Loyola Marymount University (LMU) is a private Jesuit and Marymount research university in Los Angeles, California. It is located on the west side of the city and is scenically positioned atop the bluffs overlooking Playa Vista. LMU is also the parent school to Loyola Law School located in downtown Los Angeles.

LMU is a National University/High Research Activity (R2) putting LMU in the upper echelon of American universities. This classification reflects LMU’s commitment to high-level research and its growth in doctoral degrees. LMU offers doctorate degrees in educational leadership for social justice and juridical science at LMU’s Loyola Law School. LMU shelters a Phi Beta Kappa chapter and an Alpha Sigma Nu chapter.

8. University of San Diego (Private university in San Diego, California)

University of San Diego (Private university in San Diego, California)

The University of San Diego is a private Roman Catholic research university in San Diego, California. Founded in July 1949 as the San Diego College for Women and San Diego University, the academic institutions merged from the California school system into University of San Diego in 1972.

The University of San Diego expresses its Catholic identity by witnessing and probing the Christian message as proclaimed by the Roman Catholic Church. The university promotes the intellectual exploration of religious faith, recruits persons and develops programs supporting the university's mission, and cultivates an active faith community. It is committed to the dignity and fullest development of the whole person. The Catholic tradition of the university provides the foundation upon which the core values listed below support the mission.

The University provides a values-based education that informs the development of ethical judgment and behavior. The University seeks to develop ethical and responsible leaders committed to the common good who are empowered to engage a diverse and changing world.

9. Azusa Pacific University

Azusa Pacific University

Azusa Pacific University (APU) is a private, evangelical Christian university in Azusa, California. The university was founded in 1899, with classes opening on March 3, 1900, in Whittier, California, and began offering degrees in 1939.

Azusa Pacific is a community of disciples and scholars preparing to impact the world for Christ. Choose from more than 200 online and on-campus programs, including bachelor’s, bachelor’s completion, master’s, doctorates, certificates, and credentials.

Azusa Pacific University offers several campus locations throughout Southern California designed for working professionals. While each location hosts different programs, they all provide quality, professional service in an open, relaxed, and personal atmosphere.

10. University of La Verne (Private university in La Verne, California)

Private university in La Verne, California

The University of La Verne (ULV) is a private university in La Verne, California. Founded in 1891, the university is composed of the College of Arts & Sciences, College of Business & Public Management, the LaFetra College of Education, College of Law, and a Regional Campus Administration that oversees seven regional campuses. It awards both undergraduate and graduate degrees. Many of their classes are taught at smaller campuses throughout the greater Los Angeles area.

The moment you arrive on campus, you will know that you have found a home. Whether you apply for a graduate or undergraduate program, you will gain a distinctive education that prepares you for the demands of tomorrow. Expert faculty will challenge you to think creatively, communicate effectively, and serve your community with integrity. You will meet advisers who stick with you and professors who know your name, all here to provide the support you need to thrive inside and outside of the classroom.

Top 4 Cities to Live in California for Students

California is a great State and promises loads of opportunity for students. There are reputed Universities and private colleges that attract top rankers from across the country. While students need to choose their college carefully based on their skills and future career plans, another important factor that has an impact on their lifestyle is the city where they pursue higher education. All cities in California may not match your towering expectations. Here are four cities in California that are particularly suited for students. So if you are planning to move to California for further studies, do keep these cities in mind when choosing your college.

  • San Francisco
  • Santa Barbara
  • Los Angeles
  • San Diego


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