Best Colleges in San Diego

Can You Feel the Sand Beneath Your Books?

More than just sunshine and surf

Surprisingly, San Diego is more than just burritos and beaches. In fact, there are 12 universities and colleges and 8 community colleges that provide thousands of degree options for you.* Whether you want to be a certified barista or a brain surgeon, you have options in San Diego. With a vibrant bio technology industry and an unemployment rate lower than the national average, you can take advantage of solid job opportunities after graduation.

San Diego, with its 87 breweries, nickname of “The Craft Beer Capital of America,” and over 3 million people, is one place you’re sure to make a few, new friends. But it's not always party time. San Diego is home to the San Diego Zoo, 12 major museums, and a few pretty great professional sports teams: the Chargers and Padres. Oh yea, and 30 beaches with average weather forecasts of 70.5º and sunny. There's plenty to do, so you'll be sure to find your calling. Trust us, life’s too short NOT to go to school here.

Sources:*Sandiego.org*Wikipedia, “San Diego”

Best Four Year Universities in San Diego

Rank School Name Location Description   Rating
1 University of California-San Diego La Jolla, CA

University of California-San Diego offers 283 Degree programs. It's a large public university in a large city. In 2015, 8,634 students graduated with students earning 6,438 Bachelor's degrees, 1,478 Master's degrees, and 718 Doctoral degrees.

Based on 36 Reviews
2 University of San Diego San Diego, CA

University of San Diego offers 143 Degree programs. It's a medium sized private university in a large city. In 2015, 3,024 students graduated with students earning 1,623 Bachelor's degrees, 919 Master's degrees, 301 Doctoral degrees, and 181 Certificates degrees.

Based on 8 Reviews
3 San Diego State University San Diego, CA

San Diego State University offers 285 Degree programs. It's a large public university in a large city. In 2015, 9,181 students graduated with students earning 7,086 Bachelor's degrees, 1,643 Master's degrees, 272 Certificates degrees, and 180 Doctoral degrees.

Based on 44 Reviews
4 Point Loma Nazarene University San Diego, CA

Point Loma Nazarene University offers 156 Degree programs. It's a small private university in a large city. In 2015, 832 students graduated with students earning 598 Bachelor's degrees, 233 Master's degrees, and 1 Certificates degree.

Based on 20 Reviews
5 California State University-San Marcos San Marcos, CA

California State University-San Marcos offers 72 Degree programs. It's a large public university in a large suburb. In 2015, 2,394 students graduated with students earning 2,187 Bachelor's degrees, and 207 Master's degrees.

Based on 28 Reviews
6 National University La Jolla, CA

National University offers 246 Degree programs. It's a large private university in a large city. In 2015, 5,523 students graduated with students earning 3,215 Master's degrees, 2,086 Bachelor's degrees, 160 Associate's degrees, and 62 Certificates degrees.

Based on 24 Reviews
7 Alliant International University-San Diego San Diego, CA

Alliant International University-San Diego offers 60 Degree programs. It's a small private university in a large city. In 2015, 1,218 students graduated with students earning 516 Master's degrees, 440 Doctoral degrees, 174 Certificates degrees, and 88 Bachelor's degrees.

Based on 4 Reviews
8 John Paul the Great Catholic University Escondido, CA

John Paul the Great Catholic University offers 7 Degree programs. It's a very small private university in a large suburb. In 2015, 69 students graduated with students earning 28 Master's degrees, 27 Bachelor's degrees, and 14 Certificates degrees.

9 Argosy University, The Art Institute of California, San Diego San Diego, CA

Argosy University, The Art Institute of California, San Diego offers 31 Degree programs. It's a small private university in a large city. In 2015, 464 students graduated with students earning 308 Bachelor's degrees, 139 Associate's degrees, and 17 Certificates degrees.

10 ITT Technical Institute-National City National City, CA

ITT Technical Institute-National City offers 14 Degree programs. It's a very small private university in a large suburb. In 2015, 387 students graduated with students earning 254 Associate's degrees, and 133 Bachelor's degrees.

Best Community Colleges in San Diego

Rank School Name Location Description   Rating
1 MiraCosta College Oceanside, CA

MiraCosta College offers 162 Degree programs. It's a large public college in a large suburb. In 2015, 2,799 students graduated with students earning 1,533 Certificates degrees, and 1,266 Associate's degrees.

2 San Diego Miramar College San Diego, CA

San Diego Miramar College offers 92 Degree programs. It's a large public college in a large city. In 2015, 1,501 students graduated with students earning 787 Certificates degrees, and 714 Associate's degrees.

3 Palomar College San Marcos, CA

Palomar College offers 188 Degree programs. It's a very large public college in a large suburb. In 2015, 4,084 students graduated with students earning 2,183 Certificates degrees, and 1,901 Associate's degrees.

4 Grossmont College El Cajon, CA

Grossmont College offers 135 Degree programs. It's a very large public college in a large suburb. In 2015, 3,182 students graduated with students earning 1,894 Associate's degrees, and 1,288 Certificates degrees.

5 San Diego Mesa College San Diego, CA

San Diego Mesa College offers 123 Degree programs. It's a very large public college in a large city. In 2015, 1,863 students graduated with students earning 1,507 Associate's degrees, and 356 Certificates degrees.

6 Cuyamaca College El Cajon, CA

Cuyamaca College offers 78 Degree programs. It's a medium sized public college in a large suburb. In 2015, 849 students graduated with students earning 701 Associate's degrees, and 148 Certificates degrees.

7 Southwestern College Chula Vista, CA

Southwestern College offers 192 Degree programs. It's a very large public college in a large suburb. In 2015, 1,766 students graduated with students earning 1,334 Associate's degrees, and 432 Certificates degrees.

8 San Diego City College San Diego, CA

San Diego City College offers 134 Degree programs. It's a large public college in a large city. In 2015, 1,986 students graduated with students earning 1,123 Certificates degrees, and 863 Associate's degrees.

9 Concorde Career College-San Diego San Diego, CA

Concorde Career College-San Diego offers 10 Degree programs. It's a small private college in a large city. In 2015, 606 students graduated with students earning 474 Certificates degrees, and 132 Associate's degrees.

10 Pima Medical Institute-Chula Vista Chula Vista, CA

Pima Medical Institute-Chula Vista offers 13 Degree programs. It's a small private college in a large suburb. In 2015, 906 students graduated with students earning 687 Certificates degrees, and 219 Associate's degrees.

List of all Colleges in San Diego

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School Logo School Name Average tuition Student Teacher Ratio Enrolled Students
University of California-San Diego University of California-San Diego La Jolla, CA
3/5
15 : 1 32,906
University of San Diego University of San Diego San Diego, CA
5/5
15 : 1 8,251
San Diego State University San Diego State University San Diego, CA
2/5
31 : 1 34,254
Point Loma Nazarene University Point Loma Nazarene University San Diego, CA
5/5
18 : 1 3,663
California State University-San Marcos California State University-San Marcos San Marcos, CA
2/5
28 : 1 12,793
National University National University La Jolla, CA
3/5
30 : 1 17,488
MiraCosta College MiraCosta College Oceanside, CA
1/5
41 : 1 15,062
Alliant International University-San Diego Alliant International University-San Diego San Diego, CA
4/5
21 : 1 3,509
San Diego Miramar College San Diego Miramar College San Diego, CA
1/5
60 : 1 13,008
John Paul the Great Catholic University John Paul the Great Catholic University Escondido, CA
5/5
36 : 1 317
Palomar College Palomar College San Marcos, CA
1/5
44 : 1 23,482
Grossmont College Grossmont College El Cajon, CA
1/5
45 : 1 18,159
San Diego Mesa College San Diego Mesa College San Diego, CA
1/5
55 : 1 24,208
Cuyamaca College Cuyamaca College El Cajon, CA
1/5
45 : 1 9,000
Southwestern College Southwestern College Chula Vista, CA
1/5
45 : 1 18,716
San Diego City College San Diego City College San Diego, CA
1/5
51 : 1 16,520
Concorde Career College-San Diego Concorde Career College-San Diego San Diego, CA 24 : 1 647
Pima Medical Institute-Chula Vista Pima Medical Institute-Chula Vista Chula Vista, CA 33 : 1 908
Gemological Institute of America-Carlsbad Gemological Institute of America-Carlsbad Carlsbad, CA 8 : 1 218
University of St Augustine for Health Sciences University of St Augustine for Health Sciences San Marcos, CA 15 : 1 2,140
Advanced Training Associates Advanced Training Associates El Cajon, CA 15 : 1 103
Argosy University, The Art Institute of California, San Diego Argosy University, The Art Institute of California, San Diego San Diego, CA
4/5
28 : 1 1,382
Fashion Institute of Design & Merchandising-San Diego Fashion Institute of Design & Merchandising-San Diego San Diego, CA
5/5
15 : 1 119
ITT Technical Institute-National City ITT Technical Institute-National City National City, CA
4/5
30 : 1 700
San Diego Culinary Institute San Diego Culinary Institute La Mesa, CA 26 : 1 104

Top Schools offering Specific Degrees in San Diego

Questions About Going to College in San Diego

How are the career opportunities for college graduates in San Diego?

San Diego’s unemployment rate consistently falls under the national and state unemployment rates. Not bad! In fact, local elected officials focus on bringing and keeping talent to the city through public programs like the News Jobs forums hosted by the city’s Mayor and spaces catered to new graduates looking to live and work in the region. Graduates will find opportunities in San Diego’s priority sectors: health care, life sciences, advanced manufacturing, information and communications technologies and clean energy.

Growing industries? What major companies/industries are hiring what type of graduates/skills in San Diego?

San Diego is driven by an innovation economy that experts say is beginning to rival that of Silicon Valley — no surprise considering companies like Illumina, named world's smartest company by MIT Technology Review, and telecommunications giant Qualcomm both call the sunny city home. Positions like application developer, registered nurse, clinical laboratory technician and sales representative top the charts of San Diego employer’s most wanted lists.

Is San Diego more of a college town or a great place to start a career and family? What communities are best?

San Diego State University sits on the east side of San Diego with a high concentration of its under-21 student population living near campus. Much of the older students flock to coastal Pacific Beach which also draws students from University of California, San Diego, located just north in La Jolla. Popular neighborhoods for young professionals include North Park and Downtown San Diego, which both offer walkable housing close to great food and nightlife. Despite its strong concentration of colleges, many alumni never leave San Diego, settling into more suburban areas further north. Mira Mesa and Poway are popular among young couples looking to settle down since they are known for having better schools and a more suburban feel.

What do the locals in San Diego like to do for fun?

With sunny skies shining nearly 365 days a year, San Diegans love spending their time outdoors. Miles of coastline offer scenic hiking trails at Torrey Pines, great surf at Black’s Beach, seaside dining on Coronado Island and tons of space to get your tan on. And when night falls, Downtown San Diego’s Gaslamp Quarter, trendy East Village and Little Italy are lined with killer restaurants like Monello, a trendy Italian joint, plus bars and clubs, including Omnia, a popular club that brings the Las Vegas experience to San Diego.

What's the dating scene like in San Diego? Will I meet my perfect mate?

San Diego is a big city and there are a lot of young, hot fish in this sea. Hot date ideas include paddle boarding in the bay and checking out one of San Diego’s 100+ local craft breweries. Dating app connections and hooking up is part of most people’s normal routine, reflecting the town’s laid back vibes and thirst for fun. When it comes to settling down most couples agree on one thing — they never want to leave this awesome city, which is why so many end up raising families in the same place they met. Hillcrest is home to a strong LGBTQ community and the date night is always a good time at trendy bars like Gossip Grill and Baja Betty’s.

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