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Education

Best online colleges in California 2022

Earn a degree at your convenience from one of these top online colleges in California. Our picks offer dozens of graduate and undergraduate programs.
hannah-riley
Written by Hannah Riley on
Venice Beach, CA at sunset
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California has the United States' largest economy and a booming job market. The state is home to some of the biggest tech companies, much of the entertainment industry — and online colleges to prepare you for them.

California's fastest-growing industries include talent agents and business managers, information security analysts, and data scientists. You can prepare yourself for one of these positions by earning your degree in business management, computer engineering, or another tech-related field. 

With so many online colleges in California to choose from, we ranked our top picks to help you take the next step toward your new career. 

Top 5 online schools in California: Quick facts

College

College stats

California State University, East Bay

Hayward, CA

  • Acceptance rate: 73%
  • Graduation rate: 66%
  • Founded in 1961

Biola University

La Mirada, CA

  • Acceptance rate: 64%
  • Graduation rate: 70%
  • Does not require residency in California

Touro University Worldwide

Los Alamitos, CA

  • Acceptance rate: 100%
  • Graduation rate: 53%
  • Offers military tuition assistance

Loma Linda University

Loma Linda, CA

  • Acceptance rate: Not available 
  • Graduation rate: 89%
  • Bachelor's degrees are degree-completion programs

Concordia University Irvine

Irvine, CA

  • Acceptance rate: 78%
  • Graduation rate: 66%
  • Graduation only requires a minimum one-year residence as a student


The 10 best online colleges in California

Using ZDNet's ranking methodology, we found our top picks for online colleges in California. Our formula uses federally-reported data sets and schools cannot pay for placement on our lists. Our inclusion and ranking criteria include the number of available bachelor's and master's degree programs.

Unless otherwise indicated, data is drawn from the Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System and College Scorecard. Note that for public colleges, the average annual net price given is for in-state students.

1. California State University, East Bay
Hayward, California

About the school: California State University, East Bay is one of 23 campuses of California State University. The school offers a flexible learning format to fit your schedule. 

  • Acceptance rate: 73%
  • Graduation rate: 66%
  • Avg. annual net price: $13,298
  • Student body population: 13,041
  • Student-to-teacher ratio: 13:1
  • Number of bachelor's degree programs: 29
  • Number of master's degree programs: Six
  • Avg. SAT range for admitted students: 800-1020
  • Minimum GPA: 3.19
  • Course delivery method: Asynchronous

Accreditation: California State University, East Bay is accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges Senior College and University Commission (WSCUC).

2. Biola University
La Mirada, California

About the school: Biola University's nondenominational Christian faith-based online programs allow you to work at your own pace and complete a degree in as little as 24 months. 

  • Acceptance rate: 64%
  • Graduation rate: 70%
  • Avg. annual net price: $33,269
  • Student body population: 3,683
  • Student-to-teacher ratio: 14:1
  • Number of bachelor's degree programs: 16
  • Number of master's degree programs: 26
  • Avg. SAT range for admitted students: 1070-1290
  • Minimum GPA: 3.0
  • Course delivery method: Asynchronous

Accreditation: Biola University is accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges Senior College and University Commission (WSCUC).

3. Touro University Worldwide
Los Alamitos, California

About the school: Touro University Worldwide offers 20 online programs and does not require entrance fees or exams to apply. This Jewish-sponsored institution is dedicated to "social justice, intellectual pursuit and philanthropic duty."

  • Acceptance rate: 100%
  • Graduation rate: 53%
  • Avg. annual net price: $17,031
  • Student body population: 494
  • Student-to-teacher ratio: 10:1
  • Number of bachelor's degree programs: Seven
  • Number of master's degree programs: 13
  • Avg. SAT range for admitted students: N/A
  • Minimum GPA: 2.0
  • Course delivery method: Asynchronous

Accreditation: Touro University Worldwide is accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges Senior College and University Commission (WSCUC).

4. Loma Linda University
Loma Linda, California

About the school: Loma Linda is a Seventh-day Adventist university that boasts 19 online undergraduate and graduate degrees. All undergraduate degrees are degree-completion programs requiring transfer credits.

  • Acceptance rate: Not publicly available
  • Graduation rate: 89%
  • Avg. annual net price: Not publicly available
  • Student body population: 4,514
  • Student-to-teacher ratio: 3:1
  • Number of bachelor's degree programs: Six
  • Number of master's degree programs: 13
  • Avg. SAT range for admitted students: Not publicly available
  • Minimum GPA: 2.75
  • Course delivery method: Asynchronous and synchronous

Accreditation: Loma Linda University is accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges Senior College and University Commission (WSCUC). 

5. Concordia University Irvine
Irvine, California

About the school: Concordia University Irvine is a Lutheran-affiliated university offering 20 undergraduate majors and 50 specializations. That includes a computer science degree and minor. 

  • Acceptance rate: 78%
  • Graduation rate: 66%
  • Avg. annual net price: $27,201
  • Student body population: 1,703
  • Student-to-teacher ratio: 20:1
  • Number of bachelor's degree programs: 26
  • Number of master's degree programs: Nine
  • Avg. SAT range for admitted students: 1020-1210
  • Minimum GPA: 3.54
  • Course delivery method: Asynchronous

Accreditation: Concordia University Irvine is accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges Senior College and University Commission (WSCUC).

6. University of Massachusetts Global
Irvine, California

About the school: The University of Massachusetts Global offers over 31 bachelor's and 20 master's degree programs. Students take flexible eight-week courses. 

  • Acceptance rate: 93%
  • Graduation rate: 57%
  • Avg. annual net price: $26,346
  • Student body population: 10,986
  • Student-to-teacher ratio: 22:1
  • Number of bachelor's degree programs: 31
  • Number of master's degree programs: 20
  • Avg. SAT range for admitted students: Not required
  • Minimum GPA: 2.0
  • Course delivery method: Asynchronous and synchronous

Accreditation: University of Massachusetts Global is accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges Senior College and University Commission (WSCUC).

7. Mount Saint Mary's University, Los Angeles
Los Angeles, California

About the school: Mount Saint Mary's University is a Catholic women's college. The school offers five accelerated undergraduate degree programs in business, criminal justice, accounting, communications, and human services. 

  • Acceptance rate: 89%
  • Graduation rate: 67%
  • Avg. annual net price: $30,938
  • Student body population: 2,745
  • Student-to-teacher ratio: 10:1 
  • Number of bachelor's degree programs: 30
  • Number of master's degree programs: 11
  • Avg. SAT range for admitted students: 900-1,110
  • Minimum GPA: 3.0
  • Course delivery method: Asynchronous and synchronous

Accreditation: Mount Saint Mary's University is accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges Senior College and University Commission (WSCUC).

8. California Baptist University
Riverside, California

About the school: California Baptist University is a Southern Baptist Convention-affiliated institution. The university offers 28 undergraduate programs and requires no application fees.

  • Acceptance rate: 80%
  • Graduation rate: 61%
  • Avg. annual net price: $26,719
  • Student body population: 8,093
  • Student-to-teacher ratio: 19:1
  • Number of bachelor's degree programs: 28
  • Number of master's degree programs: 13
  • Avg. SAT range for admitted students: 960-1150
  • Minimum GPA: 3.6
  • Course delivery method: Asynchronous and synchronous

Accreditation: California Baptist University is accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges Senior College and University Commission (WSCUC).

9. Simpson University
Redding, California

About the school: Simpson University, which belongs to the Christian and Missionary Alliance, offers unique programs like a computer science degree with a focus on graphic art and interactive media. 

  • Acceptance rate: 60%
  • Graduation rate: 74%
  • Avg. annual net price: $24,482
  • Student body population: 696
  • Student-to-teacher ratio: 13:1
  • Number of bachelor's degree programs: 18
  • Number of master's degree programs: Four
  • Avg. SAT range for admitted students: 960-1185
  • Minimum GPA: 2.0
  • Course delivery method: Asynchronous and synchronous

Accreditation: Simpson University is accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges Senior College and University Commission (WSCUC).

10. Golden Gate University
San Francisco, California

About the school: Golden Gate University offers many online bachelor's programs like finance degrees and project management degrees. Undergraduate degrees require transfer credit and are designed for working adults. 

  • Acceptance rate: Not publicly available
  • Graduation rate: 47% 
  • Avg. annual net price: Not publicly available
  • Student body population: 2,472
  • Student-to-teacher ratio: 12:1
  • Number of bachelor's degree programs: Seven
  • Number of master's degree programs: 12
  • Avg. SAT range for admitted students: Not required
  • Minimum GPA: 3.0
  • Course delivery method: Asynchronous and synchronous

Accreditation: Golden Gate University is accredited by Western Association of Schools and Colleges Senior College and University Commission (WSCUC).

In conclusion

These top online colleges in California, several of which have high acceptance rates, make earning your degree closer than you think. After choosing your school, make sure you complete the FAFSA.

Editorial standards

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