Best Colleges in San Francisco

The Golden Gate to Your Education

People have flocked here for more than gold

The gold rush brought people to San Francisco searching for an opportunity, and there are still treasures for those looking now. There are over 25 colleges and universities that’ll prepare you for careers from accounting or counseling to fashion and game design.* San Francisco has the second leading percentage of residents with a degree, so you’ll fit right in after graduation. With headquarters for over 30 financial institutions, 6 Fortune 500 Companies, and growing biotechnology/research fields,* you’re sure to find a job within your degree.

Each part of the city has a unique character: from the counterculture of Haight-Ashbury to fresh seafood at the Wharf to business in the Financial District. San Francisco houses over 220 parks, including Golden Gate Park and Golden Gate National Recreation Area, providing space for activities like tennis, skateboarding, windsurfing, and sailing. Two professional teams call the Bay home: The 2010 and 2012 World Series Champions, the Giants, and NFL’s 49ers. Classical performing arts companies and music venues provide diverse entertainment, including The Fillmore, where Led Zepplin first performed.* With these opportunities and so many more, San Francisco is still the Golden Gate-so rush out here and find your treasure.

*National Center for Education Statistics *Wikipedia, “San Francisco”

Best Four Year Universities in San Francisco

Rank School Name Location Description   Rating
1 University of California-Berkeley Berkeley, CA
UC Berkeley

University of California-Berkeley offers 385 Degree programs. It's a large public university in a mid sized city. In 2015, 12,586 students graduated with students earning 8,789 Bachelor's degrees, 2,481 Master's degrees, 1,211 Doctoral degrees, and 105 Certificates degrees.

Based on 140 Reviews
2 University of San Francisco San Francisco, CA

University of San Francisco offers 158 Degree programs. It's a large private university in a large city. In 2015, 3,522 students graduated with students earning 1,720 Bachelor's degrees, 1,578 Master's degrees, 223 Doctoral degrees, and 1 Certificates degree.

Based on 12 Reviews
3 Saint Mary's College of California Moraga, CA

Saint Mary's College of California offers 109 Degree programs. It's a medium sized private university in a outlying rural. In 2015, 1,237 students graduated with students earning 740 Bachelor's degrees, 422 Master's degrees, 65 Certificates degrees, 10 Doctoral degrees.

Based on 4 Reviews
4 San Francisco State University San Francisco, CA

San Francisco State University offers 234 Degree programs. It's a large public university in a large city. In 2015, 7,744 students graduated with students earning 6,322 Bachelor's degrees, 1,248 Master's degrees, 88 Doctoral degrees, and 86 Certificates degrees.

Based on 24 Reviews
5 Mills College Oakland, CA

Mills College offers 102 Degree programs. It's a small private university in a large city. In 2015, 685 students graduated with students earning 281 Bachelor's degrees, 243 Master's degrees, 152 Certificates degrees, and 9 Doctoral degrees.

Based on 12 Reviews
6 Holy Names University Oakland, CA

Holy Names University offers 129 Degree programs. It's a very small private university in a large city. In 2015, 394 students graduated with students earning 189 Bachelor's degrees, 172 Master's degrees, and 33 Certificates degrees.

Based on 4 Reviews
7 Menlo College Atherton, CA

Menlo College offers 7 Degree programs. It's a very small private university in a large suburb. In 2015, 161 students graduated with students earning 161 Bachelor's degrees.

8 Dominican University of California San Rafael, CA

Dominican University of California offers 57 Degree programs. It's a small private university in a small city. In 2015, 605 students graduated with students earning 426 Bachelor's degrees, and 179 Master's degrees.

9 Notre Dame de Namur University Belmont, CA

Notre Dame de Namur University offers 55 Degree programs. It's a small private university in a large suburb. In 2015, 519 students graduated with students earning 289 Bachelor's degrees, 230 Master's degrees.

10 California State University-East Bay Hayward, CA

California State University-East Bay offers 131 Degree programs. It's a large public university in a mid sized city. In 2015, 4,502 students graduated with students earning 3,424 Bachelor's degrees, 1,063 Master's degrees, and 15 Doctoral degrees.

Based on 24 Reviews

Best Community Colleges in San Francisco

Rank School Name Location Description   Rating
1 Ohlone College Fremont, CA

Ohlone College offers 101 Degree programs. It's a large public college in a large suburb. In 2015, 1,315 students graduated with students earning 897 Associate's degrees, and 418 Certificates degrees.

2 Las Positas College Livermore, CA

Las Positas College offers 70 Degree programs. It's a medium sized public college in a outlying rural. In 2015, 752 students graduated with students earning 579 Associate's degrees, and 173 Certificates degrees.

3 Diablo Valley College Pleasant Hill, CA

Diablo Valley College offers 159 Degree programs. It's a very large public college in a large suburb. In 2015, 2,498 students graduated with students earning 1,315 Associate's degrees, and 1,183 Certificates degrees.

4 Los Medanos College Pittsburg, CA

Los Medanos College offers 76 Degree programs. It's a medium sized public college in a large suburb. In 2015, 2,140 students graduated with students earning 1,159 Associate's degrees, and 981 Certificates degrees.

5 City College of San Francisco San Francisco, CA

City College of San Francisco offers 190 Degree programs. It's a very large public college in a large city. In 2015, 4,231 students graduated with students earning 2,504 Certificates degrees, and 1,727 Associate's degrees.

6 College of Marin Kentfield, CA

College of Marin offers 72 Degree programs. It's a medium sized public college in a large suburb. In 2015, 361 students graduated with students earning 299 Associate's degrees, and 62 Certificates degrees.

7 Laney College Oakland, CA

Laney College offers 72 Degree programs. It's a medium sized public college in a large city. In 2015, 917 students graduated with students earning 503 Associate's degrees, and 414 Certificates degrees.

8 College of Alameda Alameda, CA

College of Alameda offers 52 Degree programs. It's a medium sized public college in a large suburb. In 2015, 570 students graduated with students earning 337 Certificates degrees, and 233 Associate's degrees.

9 Contra Costa College San Pablo, CA

Contra Costa College offers 80 Degree programs. It's a medium sized public college in a large suburb. In 2015, 1,026 students graduated with students earning 555 Associate's degrees, and 471 Certificates degrees.

10 College of San Mateo San Mateo, CA

College of San Mateo offers 103 Degree programs. It's a medium sized public college in a large suburb. In 2015, 1,787 students graduated with students earning 1,152 Certificates degrees, and 635 Associate's degrees.

List of all Colleges in San Francisco

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School Logo School Name Average tuition Student Teacher Ratio Enrolled Students
University of California-Berkeley University of California-Berkeley Berkeley, CA
3/5
21 : 1 38,189
University of San Francisco University of San Francisco San Francisco, CA
5/5
15 : 1 10,797
Saint Mary's College of California Saint Mary's College of California Moraga, CA
5/5
10 : 1 4,030
San Francisco State University San Francisco State University San Francisco, CA
2/5
28 : 1 30,256
Mills College Mills College Oakland, CA
5/5
10 : 1 1,397
Holy Names University Holy Names University Oakland, CA
5/5
14 : 1 1,049
Menlo College Menlo College Atherton, CA
5/5
15 : 1 787
Dominican University of California Dominican University of California San Rafael, CA
5/5
11 : 1 1,863
Notre Dame de Namur University Notre Dame de Namur University Belmont, CA
5/5
16 : 1 1,855
California State University-East Bay California State University-East Bay Hayward, CA
2/5
31 : 1 15,528
Ohlone College Ohlone College Fremont, CA
1/5
41 : 1 10,193
Las Positas College Las Positas College Livermore, CA
1/5
44 : 1 8,912
Diablo Valley College Diablo Valley College Pleasant Hill, CA
1/5
43 : 1 19,694
California College of the Arts California College of the Arts San Francisco, CA
5/5
8 : 1 1,975
Los Medanos College Los Medanos College Pittsburg, CA
1/5
39 : 1 8,861
Academy of Art University Academy of Art University San Francisco, CA
4/5
22 : 1 13,800
City College of San Francisco City College of San Francisco San Francisco, CA
1/5
26 : 1 23,391
College of Marin College of Marin Kentfield, CA
1/5
30 : 1 5,490
Laney College Laney College Oakland, CA
1/5
50 : 1 11,667
College of Alameda College of Alameda Alameda, CA
1/5
56 : 1 6,283
Contra Costa College Contra Costa College San Pablo, CA
1/5
37 : 1 6,355
College of San Mateo College of San Mateo San Mateo, CA
1/5
44 : 1 8,889
Merritt College Merritt College Oakland, CA
1/5
51 : 1 6,647
Skyline College Skyline College San Bruno, CA
1/5
47 : 1 9,681
Berkeley City College Berkeley City College Berkeley, CA
1/5
56 : 1 7,164

Top Schools offering Specific Degrees in San Francisco

Questions About Going to College in San Francisco

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

Get ready to let your newly minted skills shine through the dense morning fogs of San Francisco. This city has a low unemployment rate of 3.5%, ranks No. 5 in job growth in the states, and boasts a household median income of about $86,000.* Positioned halfway between London and Tokyo, and between Seattle and San Diego, this Bay Area city is a center of global business. Stop by the Creamery or Blue Bottle in the SoMa district, and behold the next tech geniuses hard at work on their startups. Buy them a good cup of coffee, and you may land yourself a spot in their virtual office. Travel to the FiDi District and take in all the financial institutions San Fran has to offer. But it’s not all Golden Gate Bridges — expect to spend a huge chunk of your pretty dollar on local eggs, almond milk, and that one-bedroom rental.

*Forbes.com

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

San Francisco drew hordes of hopefuls in the mid-1800s with the Gold Rush. Then in the 1950s through the 1970s the steep rolling hills called to the artists, the Beatniks like Jack Kerouac, the liberals who craved self-expression and personal freedom. Nowadays, tourism, financial services, healthcare, and technology dominate the job market. Apple, Facebook, and Google are looking to fill their plush, modern seats with computer engineers and the best-of-the-best problem-solvers. Hospitals like St. Mary’s Medical Center and the California Pacific Medical Center demand the top med graduates to help treat their patients, who span from in-the-area to out-of-state, with cutting-edge technologies. Then there are thirty international financial institutions that call San Francisco home, like Wells Fargo, Golden West Financial, and Charles Schwab, that cater to the MBAs and accountants who don’t mind putting on a suit Monday through Friday.

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

Calling all adventurers — ready to build their skills (scholarly and worldly), grow their careers, nurture their families, or live their lives to the fullest. San Francisco offers diverse neighborhoods and a breezy attitude toward alternative lifestyles. Anything goes. For college-goers or recent graduates who want to wear their sandals year-round, they can happily call San Francisco home as the city ranks No. 5 in education in the country.* San Francisco is home to institutions like the University of California, Hastings College of Law, and City College of San Francisco, to name a few. Mustachioed men and suspender-strap ladies, in school or recently out, can find their place in the Mission District among vintage stores, artisan coffee shops, and rental units that are more affordable than most in the area. As for those other areas, they best land themselves a solid job before locking in a rental — San Francisco is one of the top 10 priciest rental markets in the nation.**

“Everywhere you look, everywhere you go, there’s a heart, a hand to hold onto” sings the decades-old opening to Full House. The family sitcom, set in San Francisco, shows the side of the city catered to families. A mix of Victorian and modern architecture line the high and low and in-between streets. Families can find new housing alongside pockets of quirky shops and restaurants in Russian Hill, listening to the rumble of cable cars passing in the background. Or, they can overlook the Pacific atop Nob Hill, as they relax with their spouse and kids at Huntington Park next to the cherubic fountain. And Fisherman’s Wharf is a must-visit for parents and kids alike, with the Ripley’s Believe It or Not! Museum and Madame Tussaudes gallery of wax statues.

*Forbes.com **Zumper national report, 2015

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

The bold and the free settled in the West, and they still call this city home decades later. Tony Bennett wailed “I left my heart in San Francisco,” and many locals feel the same when they’re away from the city for even a week. The always-mild weather staves cabin fever and lets the locals stay active all-year, from rock climbing at Mission Cliffs, surfing the Pacific waves, practicing downward dog in Fort Mason Park’s open meadow, or just enjoying a walk and the green, rolling cityscape view.

Brunch is nearly as popular as breathing. Avocados, beets, asparagus, and more from local farms spill into farmer’s markets, restaurants, and local groceries. Locals love their PBR and microbreweries. And they love their dogs even more, with acres of dog parks scattered throughout the city. They ride their bikes or hop aboard a cable car to get around. And they value their self-expression and progressive spirit above anything else— it’s common to see people in costumes (sometimes their birthday suits) often for a good cause like working toward Zero Waste by 2020.

What’s the dating scene like in San Francisco? Will I meet my perfect mate?

The city welcomes people of all sexual orientations. And there’s a menagerie of all kinds of personalities from which to choose: hipsters, yuppies, techies, nerds, and hippies. Don’t be surprised to get asked out while you’re at the grocery store with a text later that night asking if you’d want to take a bike tour in Hayes Valley with a *winkey face emoji*. And after you take an Uber ride to Hayes, expect a 50% chance that your date may not show up. Because “maybe” means no and “yes” means maybe in San Franciscan speak—there’s a downside to the laid-back lifestyle when it comes to dating. And since most people came to San Francisco to avoid the Midwest and East Coast lifestyle of settling down with a spouse to procreate, you’ll run into a lot of suitors who are looking to have a good time. They’re happy to take you to the Rich Table in Mission for sardine chips and cocktails, but equally eager to check their Tinder account to see who swiped right for a good time tomorrow night.

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