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Best Online Colleges & Universities in California
Top Consensus Ranked Online Schools in California 2021

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Distance education in California is growing as more colleges and universities offer online courses and degree programs. The reasons that California has so many online colleges relate to the population size and the limitations in the state’s budget. Population plays a critical role in the changes to the education system in the state. The state has roughly 400,000 new high school graduates and the numbers are expected to rise as the population continues to grow. That means colleges and universities need to find solutions to allow more students to complete degree programs and advance into their careers.

A secondary reason for the online colleges throughout the state is efficiency when addressing the needs of working adults. Individuals who are working in a full-time position do not have the time to attend traditional classes. That means the college must find a solution to help them obtain a degree when they have time. Online colleges and programs are a solution that helps working adults complete a degree program and move into a higher level of their career.

Ranking the Best Online Colleges in California

Our ranking of the best accredited online colleges in California begins with the College Consensus method, which aggregates published rankings and student reviews for one overall Consensus Score. To be featured in the Best Online ranking, an institution has to have both a Consensus Review Score and at least 3 online degree programs (at various degree levels). Institutions are ranked by their Consensus Score.

If you’re interested in traditional campus-based schools, check out our ranking of the Best Colleges in California. You can also find out more about California college financial aid with our list of the Top 5 California Scholarships.

1

Stanford University
Stanford, CA

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AVG: 0 AVG: 0
90.5
College Consensus
99
Publisher Consensus
82
Student Consensus
Last Accessed: April, 2021

Stanford University, an elite private school, has one of the best online colleges in California. Ranking number three among the best colleges in America, Stanford offers free online courses and advanced degrees online. Students can also pursue executive education to meet their life goals and achieve professional advancement.

2

California State University-Chico
Chico, CA

California State University Chico
AVG: 0 AVG: 0
82.6
College Consensus
89.7
Publisher Consensus
75.4
Student Consensus
Last Accessed: April, 2021

One of the best online schools in California, California State University, Chico offers online BAs in Religious Studies, Social Science, and Sociology. The school also offers an MSN that nursing students can earn fully online. Students who want to complete a certificate in career and life planning can do so a CSU Chico online.

3

California State University-Long Beach
Long Beach, CA

California State University Long Beach
AVG: 0 AVG: 0
79.6
College Consensus
85
Publisher Consensus
74.3
Student Consensus
Last Accessed: April, 2021

At California State University, Long Beach students find dozens of online programs that reflect academic purpose and culminate in highly valued degrees. As one of the best online colleges in California, CSULB encourages students to become invested in local communities while achieving their degree fully online.

4

University of Southern California
Los Angeles, CA

UofSouthernCalifornia
AVG: 0 AVG: 0
79.2
College Consensus
80.2
Publisher Consensus
78.1
Student Consensus
Last Accessed: April, 2021

Students looking for flexible education opportunities turn to one of the best online schools in California at the University of Southern California. USC offers masters and doctoral programs as well as certificates and seminars students can complete without leaving home.

5

California State University-San Bernardino
San Bernardino, CA

CSU San Bernardino 1
AVG: 0 AVG: 0
78
College Consensus
85.5
Publisher Consensus
70.5
Student Consensus
Last Accessed: April, 2021

Students looking for one of the best online colleges in California should consider California State University, San Bernardino. The school has fully online and blended programs consisting of online courses and in-class instruction. Baccalaureate online programs include criminal justice, social science, and technical education. Additionally, online students can complete their master’s in business administration, public administration and accounting.

6

California State University-Northridge
Northridge, CA

CSU Northridge
AVG: 0 AVG: 0
77.8
College Consensus
89.3
Publisher Consensus
66.2
Student Consensus
Last Accessed: April, 2021

California State University, Northridge has one of the best online schools in California. The school curates faculty members with experience across a broad range of online degrees and certificates. Students from all over the world participate in online live class sessions and have on-demand access to course materials. The school emphasizes networking opportunities so that online students can accelerate their career growth.

7

California State University-Dominguez Hills
Carson, CA

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AVG: 0 AVG: 0
76.9
College Consensus
82.8
Publisher Consensus
71.1
Student Consensus
Last Accessed: April, 2021

One of the best online colleges in California, California State University, Dominguez Hills offers three online bachelor’s and six online master’s degrees. CSUDH offers high-quality, challenging online learning courses that include degrees in applied science, quality assurance and nursing. Additionally, the school offers many online certificate programs.

8

California Polytechnic State University-San Luis Obispo
San Luis Obispo, CA

CalPoly
AVG: 0 AVG: 0
76.5
College Consensus
76.3
Publisher Consensus
76.7
Student Consensus
Last Accessed: April, 2021

California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo has excellent online opportunities in specialized programs. It’s one of the best online schools in California for comprehensive cybersecurity and coding boot camps. Cal Poly offers this program through Fullstack Academy. In conjunction with the Wine Business Institute at Sonoma State University, the school also offers online wine management programs to students.

9

California State University-Sacramento
Sacramento, CA

CSU Sacramento
AVG: 0 AVG: 0
76.3
College Consensus
85.9
Publisher Consensus
66.7
Student Consensus
Last Accessed: April, 2021

Students should also consider California State University, Sacramento if they’re looking for one of the best online colleges in California. The school offers four fully online and nine hybrid degree programs. According to the school’s website, they have one of the most affordable tuition rates for online schools in the nation.

10

California State University-Channel Islands
Camarillo, CA

backpacks college college students 1454360
AVG: 0 AVG: 0
74.5
College Consensus
74.3
Publisher Consensus
74.6
Student Consensus
Last Accessed: April, 2021

California State University, Channel Islands offers online degrees for students seeking their master’s of business education and hybrid degrees for students looking to complete their bachelor’s of science in nursing. As one of the best online schools in California, Channel Islands offers innovative undergraduate and graduate programs that focus on interdisciplinary education and multicultural engagement.

What Kinds of Degrees Can California Students Get Online?

When you are looking into the best online degrees in California, you want to recognize the options that fit your situation. You can obtain a degree from a fully online community college California with an associate’s degree, or you can move forward with more advanced degrees by transferring into a traditional college or university for an online degree program.

Online college degrees in California give you a variety of options for your education. You can pursue degree programs that range from an associate’s degree up to a doctorate degree. Many California online college degrees offer a bachelor’s program in different industries and fields of study to give students a chance to work on their career goals.

When it comes to seeking an associate’s degree, you may consider online community college programs. You can also pursue a bachelor’s degree, a master’s degree, or a doctorate through private universities, state colleges, or even Christian colleges. Many colleges and universities throughout the state offer online programs that allow students to complete a degree when they have time in their schedule. Depending on the program, you may have fully online classes or you may need to spend time working in a lab as part of the education process. The details about any program may vary, but you do have options that allow you to work on a higher level of education based on your situation and schedule.

What Kinds of Online Degrees are In-Demand in California?

When you are looking into online BA degrees in California, you may want to focus on programs that have a high demand from the students. The in-demand degree programs are likely to offer classes throughout the year and have a low risk of the school deciding to stop the program due to a lack of students.

California online nursing programs are a popular choice for students who want to work in medicine. A nursing degree program offers students the training to start working as a nurse or to advance in a career when seeking a higher level of education in nursing. Online programs for nursing help schools keep up with the needs of students and allows the school to run a program without the challenges of hiring a large staff for the students. It gives the school more flexibility to work around the shortage of nurses that complicate the hiring process in colleges and universities.

Online business degrees in California are a popular choice when students plan to work in a corporate environment. In many cases, schools offer business degrees with a concentration in specific areas of business and corporate studies. The programs allow students who are working full-time to complete a degree and advance in their career while working around a complex schedule.

When you want to pursue online accounting degrees in California, you have a variety of options for your career. Accounting degrees are a popular choice due to the opportunities associated with the degree program. Many colleges and universities offer online programs to help students learn the skills they need to work as an accountant in an accounting firm or a corporate environment.

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