Accredited Online Colleges in California

Accredited colleges and universities have had their educational programs and faculty evaluated by an outside agency. Those agencies ensure that the school provides a high-quality education to its students, so to have your degree recognized by employers, it’s critical to attend an accredited institution. Below you’ll find information on higher education in the state and helpful resources on online colleges in California.

Scholarships Available
  • Accreditation Agencies
  • Education Links
  • Notable Schools

Accreditation Agencies

The following agencies accredit schools in California. However, it’s important to understand that this list only includes institution-wide accreditors, rather than agencies that only award program-specific accreditation. For details on program-specific accreditation, look through our subject pages.

Higher Education Links

For more information about higher education reforms and propositions in the state, visit the state’s higher education boards and council websites. In addition, contact them or individual schools for more general college and university information.

Notable Schools

Picking a school can be a daunting task, especially when considering the sheer number of institutions there are in the state. Our database below can help with narrowing down your options for online colleges in California. In addition, we’ve compiled a list of some of the most notable accredited online and campus-based schools in the state to help you begin your school search.


California is home to more choices for higher education than any other state in the US, as well as, arguably, the most variety in schools. Learn more about some of these choices below.

University of California

Los Angeles

While many things about the University of California system are notable, the Los Angeles campus alone is the largest, and has produced 13 Nobel Prizes,12 Rhodes Scholarships, 109 NCAA titles–more than any university anywhere–and 250 Olympic medals, which is more than many nations have won. UCLA faculty and alumni were instrumental in the creation of the Internet and reverse osmosis technology; these are only two examples of UCLA technological advances. More than 100 companies have been created based on technology developed at UCLA. U.S News and World Report ranks UCLA second among top public universities (and it is worth noting that of the top 25, six are UC schools).

California State University


The Fullerton campus is the largest in the California State University system, which U.S. News and World Report ranks seventh among “Top Public Regional Universities” and 35th among “Best Regional Universities” in the West. CSU Fullerton is known for its commitment to diversity, ranking 11th in the nation for baccalaureate degrees awarded to minority students and 1st for the same category in California only.

San Diego State

San Diego

San Diego State University is the largest university in the metropolitan San Diego area and the only university in California to show a double-digit increase in graduation rates since the year 2000, the highest increase nationwide. Researchers affiliated with the university received nearly $116 million in research grants and contracts in 2012-2013, including more than 130 separate grants and contracts from the National Institutes of Health and the National Science Foundation. 60 SDSU students have received Fulbright grants since 2005 to teach, study and conduct research abroad, making the school a top producer of Fulbright scholars. SDSU’s undergraduate international business program is ranked 11th in the nation and enrolls 550 students, all of whom speak a second language and study abroad for at least one semester.


Just as impressive as the state’s public offerings, California’s private colleges are among the nation’s best. Of Kiplinger’s Top Values in Private Colleges, 16 are in California. Find out more about the most notable ones below.

Stanford University


22 Nobel laureates are currently part of the Stanford community, and with high admissions standards and an admission rate of only 5.7%, distinguished faculty, and a student to faculty ratio of only 5 to 1, this tradition is likely to continue. Stanford has also produced 109 Rhodes Scholars, 86 Marshall Award winners, and 62 Truman scholars.

University of Southern California


Of course USC is well-known for athletics and since 1912 has been the only university in the world to have a gold medal-winning athlete in every summer Olympiad, but there are many other notable facts about this historical university worth considering. An arts and music powerhouse, USC students at the School of Cinematic Arts produce more than 234 hours of motion picture and more than 100 full-length screenplays annually; this training obviously pays off, as the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has nominated at least one USC alumnus every year since the inception of the Academy Awards in 1929.

Pepperdine University


Founded with a Christian tradition, Pepperdine University is dedicated both to liberal learning and Christian spiritual growth. This dual mission makes ethics and leadership central to student life and education at Pepperdine. The arts offerings here are particularly strong.