Best colleges in San Diego

Can You Feel the Sand Beneath Your Books?

More than just sunshine and surf

Surprisingly, San Diego is more than just burritos and beaches. In fact, there are 12 universities and colleges and 8 community colleges that provide thousands of degree options for you.* Whether you want to be a certified barista or a brain surgeon, you have options in San Diego. With a vibrant bio technology industry and an unemployment rate lower than the national average, you can take advantage of solid job opportunities after graduation.

San Diego, with its 87 breweries, nickname of “The Craft Beer Capital of America,” and over 3 million people, is one place you’re sure to make a few, new friends. But it's not always party time. San Diego is home to the San Diego Zoo, 12 major museums, and a few pretty great professional sports teams: the Chargers and Padres. Oh yea, and 30 beaches with average weather forecasts of 70.5º and sunny. There's plenty to do, so you'll be sure to find your calling. Trust us, life’s too short NOT to go to school here.

Sources:*Sandiego.org*Wikipedia, “San Diego”

Best Four Year Universities in San Diego

The University of California San Diego (UCSD) is a public institution founded in 1960, and the total undergraduate enrollment for the class of 2021 was just over 35,000 students. UCSD is situated in urban San Diego and is the only campus in the United States that is located on the beach. Students at UCSD take classes on a semester-based academic calendar, and tuition for in-state students is roughly a quarter of the cost that out-of-state students pay, making it a very attractive option for California residents. UCSD tends to offer large, lecture-style undergraduate classes and boasts a graduation rate that exceeds 90%. 

UCSD has a variety of student organizations and clubs for current attendees to choose from, and many of the activities are hosted in the centrally-located Price Center, where students can shop for books at the university bookstore, or watch movies at the student movie theatre. 

The university is split into seven undergraduate colleges and organizes its scholastic departments into four distinct academic divisions. The school also has over 15 research units or ORU’s that specialize in fields like medicine, computer science, and oceanography. UCSD has many modern buildings on campus compared to its older counterparts in Berkeley and Los Angeles, including the noteworthy Geisel Library. Notable alumni include jazz musician Nathan East, scientist Susumu Tonegawa, and political activist Angela Davis.

University of San Diego
San Diego, CA

University of San Diego offers 99 degree programs. It's a medium sized, private not-for-profit, four-year university in a large city. In 2019, 2,824 students graduated with students earning 1,345 Bachelor's degrees, 1,110 Master's degrees, 241 Doctoral degrees, and 128 Certificates.

Find Online Schools
Sponsored Content

San Diego State University (SDSU) is a public research university founded in 1897 as the San Diego Normal School. Located just south of Lake Murray in the San Diego metro, SDSU now has over 14 colleges including the Fowler College of Business and the School of Theatre, Television, and Film. The graduation rate at SDSU is 83%, and the student-to-faculty ratio is 25:1, meaning the 33,000 students can anticipate large lecture-format classes.

SDSU has an endowment of about $300 million and a philanthropic partner in The Campanile Foundation that oversees funding for internal and affiliated university interest groups. The school has cultivated corporate partnerships with companies like Intel, Microsoft, and KPMG for funding and post-graduation job placement options for qualifying students. Those interested in studying abroad should note that SDSU has partner programs in Brazil, Mexico, India, and China.  

Students at SDSU have many options for activities outside of the classroom and can support their Aztec athletic teams that compete in Division 1 football, baseball, and soccer. In town, students can visit the San Diego Zoo, tour the USS Midway Museum, and explore the San Diego Bay National Wildlife Refuge. Notable alumni include actor Gregory Peck, basketball player Kawhi Leonard, and the face of Apollo Creed, Carl Weathers.

Point Loma Nazarene University offers 85 degree programs. It's a small, private not-for-profit, four-year university in a large city. In 2019, 1,217 students graduated with students earning 831 Bachelor's degrees, 383 Master's degrees, and 3 Certificates.

California State University-San Marcos offers 72 degree programs. It's a large, public, four-year university in a large suburb. In 2019, 4,019 students graduated with students earning 3,585 Bachelor's degrees, 422 Master's degrees, and 12 Certificates.

John Paul the Great Catholic University offers 8 degree programs. It's a very small, private not-for-profit, four-year university in a large suburb. In 2019, 94 students graduated with students earning 71 Bachelor's degrees, 22 Master's degrees, and 1 Certificate.

Design Institute of San Diego offers 1 degree programs. It's a very small, private for-profit, four-year university in a large city. In 2019, 32 students graduated with students earning 32 Bachelor's degrees.

California College San Diego offers 6 degree programs. It's a very small, private not-for-profit, four-year university in a large suburb. In 2019, 85 students graduated with students earning 63 Associate's degrees, and 22 Bachelor's degrees.

California Miramar University offers 10 degree programs. It's a very small, private for-profit, four-year university in a large city. In 2019, 40 students graduated with students earning 32 Master's degrees, 6 Bachelor's degrees, and 2 Associate's degrees.

Newschool of Architecture and Design offers 8 degree programs. It's a very small, private for-profit, four-year university in a large city. In 2019, 163 students graduated with students earning 107 Bachelor's degrees, and 56 Master's degrees.

Best Community Colleges in San Diego

Advanced Training Associates offers 10 degree programs. It's a very small, private for-profit, two-year college in a large suburb. In 2019, 94 students graduated with students earning 68 Certificates, and 26 Associate's degrees.

Concorde Career College-San Diego offers 8 degree programs. It's a very small, private for-profit, two-year college in a large city. In 2019, 411 students graduated with students earning 316 Certificates, and 95 Associate's degrees.

Pima Medical Institute-Chula Vista offers 7 degree programs. It's a very small, private for-profit, two-year college in a large city. In 2019, 576 students graduated with students earning 459 Certificates, and 117 Associate's degrees.

San Diego Miramar College offers 100 degree programs. It's a large, public, two-year college in a large city. In 2019, 1,775 students graduated with students earning 1,059 Associate's degrees, and 716 Certificates.

Southwestern College
Chula Vista, CA

Southwestern College offers 192 degree programs. It's a large, public, two-year college in a large city. In 2019, 2,471 students graduated with students earning 1,636 Associate's degrees, and 835 Certificates.

Cuyamaca College
El Cajon, CA

Cuyamaca College offers 94 degree programs. It's a medium sized, public, two-year college in a large suburb. In 2019, 905 students graduated with students earning 735 Associate's degrees, and 170 Certificates.

Palomar College
San Marcos, CA

Palomar College offers 192 degree programs. It's a very large, public, two-year college in a large suburb. In 2019, 3,849 students graduated with students earning 2,186 Certificates, and 1,663 Associate's degrees.

Grossmont College
El Cajon, CA

Grossmont College offers 137 degree programs. It's a large, public, two-year college in a large suburb. In 2019, 3,001 students graduated with students earning 1,643 Associate's degrees, and 1,358 Certificates.

San Diego City College
San Diego, CA

San Diego City College offers 149 degree programs. It's a large, public, two-year college in a large city. In 2019, 1,532 students graduated with students earning 928 Associate's degrees, and 604 Certificates.

List of all colleges in San Diego

School Average Tuition Student Teacher Ratio Enrolled Students
University of California-San Diego Logo University of California-San Diego La Jolla, CA
3/5
28 : 1 38,736
University of San Diego Logo University of San Diego San Diego, CA
5/5
19 : 1 9,181
San Diego State University Logo San Diego State University San Diego, CA
2/5
37 : 1 35,544
Point Loma Nazarene University Logo Point Loma Nazarene University San Diego, CA
5/5
31 : 1 4,567
California State University-San Marcos Logo California State University-San Marcos San Marcos, CA
2/5
41 : 1 16,053
Bellus Academy-El Cajon Logo Bellus Academy-El Cajon El Cajon, CA     200
John Paul the Great Catholic University Logo John Paul the Great Catholic University Escondido, CA
5/5
25 : 1 278
Advanced Training Associates Logo Advanced Training Associates El Cajon, CA   27 : 1 82
Concorde Career College-San Diego Logo Concorde Career College-San Diego San Diego, CA   32 : 1 730
Bellus Academy-Chula Vista Logo Bellus Academy-Chula Vista Chula Vista, CA     239
Paul Mitchell the School-San Diego Logo Paul Mitchell the School-San Diego San Diego, CA     253
California International Business University Logo California International Business University San Diego, CA
3/5
6 : 1 34
Pima Medical Institute-Chula Vista Logo Pima Medical Institute-Chula Vista Chula Vista, CA   26 : 1 841
Bellus Academy-Poway Logo Bellus Academy-Poway Poway, CA     372
Design Institute of San Diego Logo Design Institute of San Diego San Diego, CA
5/5
40 : 1 121
California College San Diego Logo California College San Diego San Marcos, CA
3/5
83 : 1 250
California Miramar University Logo California Miramar University San Diego, CA
3/5
  199
Newschool of Architecture and Design Logo Newschool of Architecture and Design San Diego, CA
5/5
29 : 1 497
California Hair Design Academy Logo California Hair Design Academy La Mesa, CA     128
Platt College-San Diego Logo Platt College-San Diego San Diego, CA
4/5
16 : 1 115