Graduate Schools in California: Search for Masters & PhD / Doctorates

Towering redwood forests, endless blue-water coastlines, a Mediterranean climate, Yosemite National Park, some of the best wine regions in the country, bustling cities—the Golden State is one of the most popular states to visit in the country. Its myriad idyllic settings could provide the perfect location to pursue a variety of graduate degrees.

Popular Graduate Degree Programs in California

ProgramInstitutionDegree Awarded
Master of Business AdministrationMarymount California UniversityMBA
Master of Arts in Ethical LeadershipClaremont Lincoln UniversityMA
Juris Doctor degreeSanta Barbara and Ventura Colleges of LawPhD
Masters in International MarketingHult International Business SchoolMS
Doctor of Philosophy in Cybersecurity – General and TechnologyNational UniversityN/A
Master of Science in Engineering ManagementCalifornia State University, NorthridgeMEM
Master of Public AdministrationWake Forest UniversityN/A
Master of Health LeadershipWestern Governors UniversityMHA
Master – Healthcare Administration and ManagementColorado State University GlobalN/A
Master of Public Administration with an Emphasis in Non-Profit ManagementGrand Canyon UniversityN/A
Master of Science in Computer ScienceThe Catholic University of AmericaN/A
Doctor of Public AdministrationLiberty University OnlineN/A

Living and Studying in California

Going to grad school in California could provide you with the opportunity to study a variety of topics in some of the most stunning settings on the west coast. No matter if you choose a city or a small town, you’ll be surrounded by beautiful surroundings – state parks, beaches, forests, coastal vistas. Outdoor opportunities are at every turn in the Golden State. California graduate schools offer a variety of programs at the masters, doctorate, and certificate level. Think graduate degrees in Psychology, Teaching, Public Administration, Nursing, Information Technology, Graphic Design—the list is endless. Plus, you may be able to take advantage of the many industries and companies that call California home.

List of Graduate Schools in California

California truly has an amazing amount of diversity throughout the state. These four California cities represent not only the exciting elements that make California a special place but also the many options for university graduate programs.

Los Angeles

Los Angeles is to the West Coast what New York is to the East Coast. Its rich tapestry could serve as a backdrop for a lively lifestyle and enriching education. Think Malibu’s sparkling beaches, mountain hiking trails, and serene parks – all places to hang outside the classroom. The art and culture is more than impressive, with more than 800 museums and art galleries – including the Getty Center and the Museum of Contemporary Art – plus theater, ballet, and myriad cultural activities. Sports fans will have a lot to choose from as LA is home to major professional and college teams. Beaches abound – Venice Beach, Santa Monica, Redondo Long Beach, and Pasadena are popular spots to wander in the sand and play in the surf. Go for a run or a bike ride along the many paths that wind through the city. The outdoor vibe is not to be missed.

San Diego

With its multicultural identity, stunning beaches, friendly climate, craft brews, and awesome Mexican cuisine, San Diego is Southern California’s shining star. Attending a university in San Diego could give you access to all these things and the lifestyle that goes with living in Southern California. Its Mexican, Spanish, and American history influences and inspires the city’s historic and cultural attractions – folk art, natural science, theater, and museums showcase this multifaceted culture. And then there’s the famous San Diego Zoo and Safari Park. Outdoor enthusiasts will find much to do from hanging at the city’s diverse beaches for surfing and sunning to hiking the canyons. Being so close to the Mexican border, the savory Mexican cuisine is essential tastings. Think fish tacos, rolled tacos, and California Burritos. The city is also know for its Asian and Italian fare, and beer lovers will love the love the craft brew scene.


Adventurers, historians, and artisans will have much to discover in the state’s capital city. Sacramento has been a popular destination for Californians and non-Californians alike. While the lure of politics and power has drawn many to the city, so too have the area’s beautiful rivers and landscape, its rich history, and its bustling neighborhoods. Cyclists can ride the mountain biking trails and traverse the city on its many bike lanes. You can wind down or even study in parks throughout the city and along the river where you can take long walks or just relax. Sacramento is also known for its vibrant and impressive art scene. The Crocker Art Museum holds some of the state’s best art, while other museums focus on history and culture. Art galleries, photo galleries, theater, and dance performances round out the cultural happenings.

San Francisco

The diverse, liberal community that is San Francisco may offer an exciting experience for students attending graduate school here. The city’s artistic offerings, beautiful cityscapes, a thriving LGBT scene, vibrant ethnic enclaves, buzzing live music scene, and a growing culinary scene are just a few of things that draw thousands of visitors every year. For outdoor lovers, San Francisco has mega opportunities – some 200 parks of all shapes and sizes hold native and non-native plant life, beautiful vistas, picnic areas, hiking, fishing, and more – both in and outside the city. The cultural scene explodes with its many museums – the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, for example, the Asian Art Museum, and the Palace of Fine Arts to name a few – and historical attractions. Music is everywhere, keeping up with the city’s rich history.

Fun Fact

The redwood is the official state tree. Some of the giant redwoods in Sequoia National Park are more than 2,000 years old.

Explore Top Occupations in California

Home to the eighth largest economy in the world, Silicon Valley and a myriad of top-ranking universities, California is not only beautiful, but a smart place to build a future. Below is a list of the occupations with the highest employment in California. This list could help you narrow down the degree you’d like to pursue.

Explore Graduate Studies in California

Many graduate schools are located in California. You may find one that suits not only your area of study but also one that has an environment that fits your lifestyle. With its diversity of locations and environments, California offers an array of graduate school opportunities. From media and cultural studies to physical sciences and education, here are some the top options to study at the graduate level.

Legal Studies

For those interested in graduate programs in legal studies, the Master of Legal Studies at Northcentral University in San Diego can help students develop a comprehensive understanding of law and the U.S. legal system and teaching them legal research, analytical thinking, legal writing, theory, and reasoning. At California Southern University in Irvine, a Master of Science and Law program provides students understanding of law for students who do not wish to practice law as an attorney. It is an excellent degree option for human resources professionals, policy makers and law office administrators. The Public Interest Law School at New College of California School of Law in San Francisco offers an innovative program of legal education, combining practical skills training, rigorous classroom work, and supportive services. The Social Work and Law program at California Western School of Law in San Diego focuses on social work and law for advanced practice in a field of service, such as child welfare or mental health, where law and social work converge.

Media Arts

Students with a passion for design, photography, fine arts, computer graphics, computer animation, and telecommunications may find a graduate degree in Media Arts will open up interesting career opportunities. The Film and Television graduate program at University of California Los Angeles (UCLA) provides students with comprehensive production and teaching facilities, and attracts outstanding faculty, distinguished visiting artists and scholars, and superior students from this country and abroad. Also in Los Angeles, the School of Film and Television at Loyola Marymount University is designed to foster original and creative work in film and television production and writing. The University of Southern California in Los Angeles offers the Cinema-Television program, inviting students to focus on production or critical studies including screenwriting; film, video and computer animation; interactive media or motion picture producing (Peter Stark Program) emphasis. A graduate degree in Cinema Studies at San Francisco State University can provide students with a foundation in film history, theory and criticism, and seeks to prepare the student for further study at the Ph.D. level.

Information Technology

California is one of the most popular states to pursue a graduate degree in information technology. They may discover ways to tap into technology to solve internet-based problems, like trademark issues and electronic privacy, as well as learn how to develop and lead teams and projects. A Master of Science Information Technology Management degree at California Baptist University seeks to develop and advance student understanding of IT strategies, business management techniques, and key management and leadership skills and tools employers are looking for in leaders. At University of California – Berkeley, the Masters in Information Management and Systems is designed for students who are skilled in locating, organizing, manipulating, filtering and presenting information. Check out the Master of Science in Management and Information Technology at California State University Monterey Bay or Master of Science in Business Technology Management at Coleman University in San Diego, both of which could be perfect for business professionals and decision makers who are experts in the areas of information, technology, and problem solving.

Cultural Studies

Graduate degrees in cultural studies in California could be the ideal program for students who want to study specific global perspectives on the history, politics, economics, society, and culture of various world regions. Graduate programs in cultural studies combine deep knowledge of geographic areas and ethnicities with advanced work in the humanities and social sciences. A Master of Arts in Latin American Studies at University of California – San Diego is designed for students who seek to integrate a broad range of disciplinary approaches to a world region of growing international significance. The American Studies program at Pepperdine University in Malibu and California State University in Sacramento offers courses that cover political science, history of the United States, literature of the United States, American moral traditions, and elective courses involving the American experience. At the University of San Francisco, graduate students can pursue a Master of Arts in Asia Pacific Studies, which includes courses in history, politics, culture and business of Asian regions.

Physical Sciences

Graduate program in physical sciences attempt to explain and predict phenomenal through empirical evidence and testable theory. Four main area of study make up a graduate degree in physical science: physics, astronomy, chemistry, and earth science. The Geography program at University of California – Santa Barbara specializes in such degrees as Earth System Science (hydrology, climatology, meteorology, oceanography, and terrestrial systems and the interactions between systems). Physics for Business Applications at the University of Southern California in Los Angeles is designed to attract students who hold a bachelors degree in physics, applied mathematics, or a physical science (e.g. chemistry, electrical engineering, aerospace engineering). The Chemistry program at California State University in East Bay could be a program for students who wish to become chemists, teachers of high school or community college chemistry, as well as graduate contemplating on pursuing PhD in Chemistry. Earth and Planetary Sciences at the University of California – Santa Cruz focuses on research, which takes students to labs and field sites around the world.

Educational Leadership

Graduate degrees in educational leadership programs focus on leadership, management, and training methods to promote student, teacher, and institutional success. The Master of Arts in Human Rights Education program at the University of San Francisco provides graduate students with an opportunity to understand and address deep-rooted social and educational inequities through the lens of critical Human Rights Education. At California State University in Long Beach, the Dual Language Development MA Program could be idea for classroom teachers with an interest in bilingualism and the instruction of English learners. Over at California State University in Los Angeles, the Educational Foundations program provides administrators, teachers and therapists with advanced preparation for work with exceptional learners. At the University of San Francisco, the Administration program focuses on a broad curriculum to inspire and train new leaders in education.

Find Graduate Schools in California

Want to live and study in the Golden State? Browse the list of graduate schools in California below. You can filter this list by program level and area of study. It’s easy! Set your filters such as degree level, program format and subject with the help of the menu bar. Choose from among graduate programs in California based on your preferences. Then just apply with the on-page form. You’re set for a California adventure.
  • National University

  • California State University, Northridge

  • Wake Forest University

  • Western Governors University

  • Colorado State University Global

  • Grand Canyon University

  • The Catholic University of America

  • Liberty University Online

  • Marymount California University

  • Claremont Lincoln University

  • Santa Barbara and Ventura Colleges of Law

  • Hult International Business School

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