A Leader In Higher Education
California is also one of the leading states in the U.S. for higher education, and learning. California offers a unique three tiered system to collegiate education. The tiered system includes the University of California (UC) system, the California State University (CSU) system, and the Community College system.
The preeminent research university system in the state is the University of California (UC). The University of California system employs more Nobel Prize laureates than any other institution in the world, and is considered one of the world’s finest public university systems. There are 10 general UC campuses throughout California and a number of specialized campuses in the UC system.
The California State University (CSU) system has roughly 450,000 students, making it the largest university system in the United States. The CSU system is intended to accept only the top 1/3 of high school students. There are 23 colleges in the CSU system.
The California Community College system is intended to provide lower division coursework as well as basic skills and workforce training. California’s community colleges aim to make higher education more affordable to all Californians.
Combined, the three tiered system for higher education in California is the largest network of higher education in the United States. California colleges and universities had over 2.6 million students enrolled in its 110 colleges in 2006, graduating approximately 266,000 students every year. California possesses some of the best universities in the world. Some notable California colleges are as follows:
California Institute of Technology (Caltech)
University of California Berkeley (UC Berkeley)
University of California Los Angeles (UCLA)
University of Southern California (USC)
University of California San Diego (UC SD)
University of California Davis (UC Davis)
University of California Santa Barbara (UC SB)
University of California Irvine (UC Irvine)
California Polytechnic State University (Cal Poly)
The main state research university is the University of California (UC). The University of California has ten major campuses. Each major UC campus is headed by a chancellor that is appointed by the Regents of the University of California.
The ten major campuses of the University of California are located in Berkeley, Los Angeles, San Diego, Davis, Santa Cruz, Santa Barbara, Irvine, Riverside, Merced and San Francisco. The University of California, San Francisco, teaches only graduate health-sciences students. The UC Hastings College of the Law, also in San Francisco, is affiliated with UC, but is not administered by the UC Regents. The UC system is intended to accept students from the top 12.5% of college-bound students, and provide most graduate studies and research.
The University of California also administers one national laboratory directly for the United States Department of Energy: Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. The university indirectly manages Los Alamos National Laboratory through Los Alamos National Security, LLC and Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory through Lawrence Livermore National Security, LLC.
The California State University (CSU) system is the largest university system in the United States. The CSU was originally intended to accept the top one-third (1/3) of California High School graduates, but under budget constraints and record amount of applications, this has since changed. The universities within CSU are primarily intended for undergraduate education, although many of the larger campuses, such as Cal Poly, Cal Poly Pomona, Long Beach State, Cal State Fullerton, Fresno State, Sacramento State, San Francisco State, San Diego State, and San José State (the oldest public university in California), are becoming more research oriented, especially in applied sciences. A marked change and a shift from the California Master Plan for Higher Education began in 2007 as the CSU now grants doctoral level degrees (Ed.D.) in education. The CSU has also been given authority to grant many other Doctoral degrees, such as joint Ph.Ds with other universities, Doctor of Nursing Practice, Doctor of Physical Therapy, and an Au.D. Kevin Starr (State Librarian emeritus) and others have argued that this small change is the beginning of a larger reorganization of higher education in California.
The California Community Colleges system provides lower division "General Education" courses, whose credit units are transferable to the CSU and UC systems, as well as vocational education, remedial education, and continuing education programs. It awards certificates and associate degrees. It is composed of 112 colleges organized into 72 districts, serving a student population of over 2.9 million.
Notable private universities and colleges include Stanford University, Loyola Marymount University, the University of Southern California (USC), the University of San Francisco (USF), Santa Clara University, Pepperdine University, St. Mary's College, the University of the Pacific, Thomas Aquinas College, Touro University California, the Claremont Colleges, Occidental College, Westmont College, the California Institute of Technology (Caltech) (which administers the Jet Propulsion Laboratory for NASA) and the Southern California Institute of Technology (SCIT).
California has hundreds of other private colleges and universities, including many religious and special-purpose institutions. This leads to many unique entertainment and educational opportunities for residents. For example, Southern California, with one of the highest densities of post-secondary institutions in the world, has a very large base of classically trained vocalists that compete in large choir festivals. In the Bay Area and near Los Angeles, there are numerous art and film schools, including the California College of the Arts and the CalArts Institute.