Best Master's Programs in California

Choosing a master’s degree requires you to consider certain factors. A master’s degree involves a greater commitment, along with higher costs and debt. Master’s programs usually take about two years to complete, and students must complete a thesis or capstone project as part of their coursework.

However, the fact remains that your career may be advanced by acquiring a master’s degree. You can obtain master’s degrees and programs in California in fields such as business, teaching, public service, and technology. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the state’s 16,529,810 workers earn a median annual salary of $47,920, or $23.04 per hour. Estimates from the BLS indicate that the state’s highest-earning residents make $130,430 per year, and its lowest-earning residents make about $29,780. Master’s degrees tend to place holders near the top of that financial spectrum, but that is not a guarantee.

Check out the rankings below to learn more about master’s programs in California. To ensure quality education, we select nonprofit schools that hold accreditation.

At BestColleges, we believe a college education is one of the most important investments you can make. We want to help you navigate the college selection process by offering transparent, inclusive, and relevant school rankings.

Our rankings are grounded in a few guiding principles and use the latest statistical data available from trusted sources. Read our ranking methodology. We hope our approach helps you find the school that is best for you.

Showing 30 schools

    Filter

    School Name


    Location


    Program


    Learning Format


    School Type


    Avg Tuition per YearTuition is the price you pay to attend classes. Tuition varies by school, and does not include costs associated with room and board, books, school supplies, meal plans, or transportation.

    $<1,000$100,000

    $<1,000 - $


    #1

    Stanford University

    Stanford, CA

    Graduation Rate

    94%

    Enrollment

    17,249

    Format

    Online, In person

    In-State Tuition

    $53529

    Out-of-State Tuition

    $53529

    A private institution located in Stanford, California, Stanford University educates students through multiple programs. Students leave the school with experience and credentials that prepare them for the workforce. Degree-seekers benefit from academically rigorous programs at an affordable price. The school boasts several programs that appear in national rankings. The school's average cost per credit is unknown. Degree-seekers at this accredited institution may qualify for federal student aid programs, including the Pell Grant. The school offers both academic and technical programs. Depending on their program, enrollees complete foundational courses, technical classes, and general education requirements. Stanford University has been accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges Senior Colleges and University Commission, an independent accrediting body.

    #2

    California Institute of Technology

    Pasadena, CA

    Graduation Rate

    94%

    Enrollment

    2,237

    Format

    In person

    In-State Tuition

    $54600

    Out-of-State Tuition

    $54600

    California Institute of Technology, a private organization located in Pasadena, California, offers multiple programs. Graduates leave the school prepared for the workforce. Degree-seekers benefit from academically rigorous programs at an affordable price. Many of the school's degrees make national rankings. The amount students pay per credit is unknown at this time. Degree-seekers at this accredited institution may qualify for federal student aid programs, including the Pell Grant. Learners choose from academic and technical majors at the school. Depending on their major, learners complete fundamentals courses, technical classes, and general education requirements. California Institute of Technology has been accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges Senior Colleges and University Commission, an independent accrediting body.

    #3

    University of Southern California

    Los Angeles, CA

    Graduation Rate

    92%

    Enrollment

    48,321

    Format

    Online, In person

    In-State Tuition

    $58195

    Out-of-State Tuition

    $58195

    From its campus in Los Angeles, California, University of Southern California grants college degrees as a private institution. With both academic and technical programs, the college helps learners reach their professional goals. Students prepare for a successful career by completing the program's coursework. Some applicants qualify for a waiver for standardized test scores. Flexible admission score requirements make it easier to enroll. Learners benefit from support services, which include tutoring and career counseling. Students can expect to pay around 1948 per credit while earning a degree or certificate. At the accredited school, learners qualify for federal student aid programs such as the Pell Grant. The school is accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges Senior Colleges and University Commission.

    #4

    Claremont McKenna College

    Claremont, CA

    Graduation Rate

    91%

    Enrollment

    1,346

    Format

    In person

    In-State Tuition

    $56475

    Out-of-State Tuition

    $56475

    Claremont McKenna College ranks as a top school from its campus in Claremont, California. The institution's faculty brings expertise in multiple fields. The programs offer academic and technical tracks to help learners meet their career goals. Academic programs can take as little as a few months or as many as seven years to complete, depending on the degree or certificate type and the student's enrollment status. Some programs may let applicants apply without submitting test scores. The waiver makes it simpler to apply. Admission advisors can provide more information on the application process. At the accredited institution, learners also qualify for financial aid to pay for school. Claremont McKenna College has received accreditation from the Western Association of Schools and Colleges Senior Colleges and University Commission.

    #5

    University of California-Los Angeles

    Los Angeles, CA

    Graduation Rate

    92%

    Enrollment

    44,371

    Format

    Online, In person

    In-State Tuition

    $13240

    Out-of-State Tuition

    $42994

    From its campus in California, University of California-Los Angeles enrolls students in 333 programs. Students benefit from rigorous programs that rank among the best in the nation. Information on the average student-to-faculty ratio is unavailable. The amount of aid students receive on average is currently unknown. Students earn their degree from the school at a rate of 92%. The institution's commitment to experiential learning helps graduates on the job market. The institution's admission rate is currently unknown. Some programs waive the test score requirement for qualified applicants. Contact the admissions department for more details about application requirements.

    #6

    University of California-Berkeley

    Berkeley, CA

    Graduation Rate

    93%

    Enrollment

    43,185

    Format

    Online, In person

    In-State Tuition

    $14253

    Out-of-State Tuition

    $44007

    University of California-Berkeley, which is often listed among the best schools, operates from its main campus in Berkeley, California. Instructors bring expertise in their fields. The school offers academic and technical tracks to help students meet a variety of professional goals. Academic programs can take anywhere from a few months to several years to complete, depending on degree or certificate type. Applicants may qualify for a standardized test score waiver. A test score waiver makes it easier to apply. The admissions department can provide additional resources on applying. Learners at the accredited institution also qualify for financial aid to cover educational costs. University of California-Berkeley is accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges Senior Colleges and University Commission, an independent accrediting body.

    #7

    Soka University of America

    Aliso Viejo, CA

    Graduation Rate

    89%

    Enrollment

    419

    Format

    In person

    In-State Tuition

    $33982

    Out-of-State Tuition

    $33982

    A private institution, Soka University of America enrolls students on its campus in Aliso Viejo, California. The college offers academic and technical programs to help learners reach their educational goals. Students complete coursework to prepare them for advanced roles. Some programs may operate with a test-optional policy for admissions. Students may find it easier to apply without a test score requirement. Learners receive support in the form of tutoring and career services. The school's average cost per credit is unknown. Learners at the accredited school can pay for their educational costs with federal student aid programs. Soka University of America is accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges Senior Colleges and University Commission, an independent accrediting body.

    #8

    California Miramar University

    San Diego, CA

    Graduation Rate

    100%

    Enrollment

    199

    Format

    Online, In person

    In-State Tuition

    $8994

    Out-of-State Tuition

    $8994

    A private institution, California Miramar University grants degrees from its campus in San Diego, California. With both academic and technical programs, the school helps learners reach their professional goals. The institution's degree and certificate programs offer coursework that allows students to strengthen their skills. Some programs may let applicants apply without submitting test scores. Test-optional policies make it easier to enroll. The school provides support such as tutoring and career services. The institution's average cost per credit is unknown. At the accredited school, learners qualify for federal student aid programs such as the Pell Grant. The school holds accreditation from the Distance Education Accrediting Commission, an independent accrediting body.

    #9

    University of California-Irvine

    Irvine, CA

    Graduation Rate

    84%

    Enrollment

    36,908

    Format

    Online, In person

    In-State Tuition

    $13727

    Out-of-State Tuition

    $43481

    University of California-Irvine, which offers programs from its Irvine, California campus, often ranks among the top schools. Enrollees study with experts in many different fields. Academic and technical programs help learners reach their unique professional goals. Enrollees earn their degree or certificate in as little time as a few months or as much time as seven years depending on program type and enrollment status. Applicants may qualify for a standardized test score waiver. Applicants may find it easier to enroll without a test score requirement. The admissions department can provide more information on the process. Degree-seekers at the accredited institution also qualify for financial aid to cover costs. University of California-Irvine has been accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges Senior Colleges and University Commission.

    #10

    Pepperdine University

    Malibu, CA

    Graduation Rate

    86%

    Enrollment

    8,824

    Format

    Online, In person

    In-State Tuition

    $55892

    Out-of-State Tuition

    $55892

    Pepperdine University ranks as a top school from its campus in Malibu, California. Enrollees study with experts in many different fields. The school's academic and technical tracks help students meet diverse career goals. Depending on the degree or certificate type, enrollees can spend anywhere from a few months up to as many as seven years completing a program. Some programs may no longer require standardized tests for admission. The waiver makes it simpler to apply. The admissions department can help applicants determine the next steps. Enrollees at the accredited institution also qualify for financial aid to cover costs. The school holds accreditation from the Western Association of Schools and Colleges Senior Colleges and University Commission.

    #11

    Occidental College

    Los Angeles, CA

    Graduation Rate

    86%

    Enrollment

    1,985

    Format

    In person

    In-State Tuition

    $56576

    Out-of-State Tuition

    $56576

    Occidental College offers programs from its campus in Los Angeles, California. Enrollees study with experts in many different fields. Academic and technical programs help students reach their professional goals. Depending on the degree or certificate type, enrollees can spend anywhere from a few months up to as many as seven years completing a program. Some programs may offer test-optional admission policies. These policies make it easier to apply. The admissions department can provide more information on the process. Financial aid provides options for degree-seekers to pay for their education. The school holds accreditation from the Western Association of Schools and Colleges Senior Colleges and University Commission.

    #12

    University of California-San Diego

    La Jolla, CA

    Graduation Rate

    87%

    Enrollment

    38,736

    Format

    In person

    In-State Tuition

    $14415

    Out-of-State Tuition

    $44169

    Located in California, University of California-San Diego enrolls students in 228 programs. The institution's top-ranked programs offer a rigorous course of study. The average student-to-teacher ratio is unknown. The amount of aid students receive on average is currently unknown. Enrollees graduate from the school at a rate of 87%. The institution understands that real-world experience helps job seekers enter the workforce. The school's admission rate is currently unknown. Some programs operate with a test-optional policy for admissions. Prospective applicants can contact the admission department for more information about applying.

    #13

    Santa Clara University

    Santa Clara, CA

    Graduation Rate

    91%

    Enrollment

    8,669

    Format

    Online, In person

    In-State Tuition

    $53634

    Out-of-State Tuition

    $53634

    Located in California, Santa Clara University enrolls students in 93 programs. Learners benefit from rigorous programs that rank among the best in the nation. The student-to-instructor ratio is unknown. Data on the amount of aid students receive per year on average is unavailable. The school reports a 91% graduation rate. The institution understands that hands-on experience makes graduates more competitive in the job market. The institution's admission rate is currently unknown. Some programs offer a waiver for standardized test scores. Prospective students can contact the admissions department for more details about application requirements.

    #14

    California Polytechnic State University-San Luis Obispo

    San Luis Obispo, CA

    Graduation Rate

    82%

    Enrollment

    21,426

    Format

    Online, In person

    In-State Tuition

    $9943

    Out-of-State Tuition

    $23833

    From its San Luis Obispo, California campus, California Polytechnic State University-San Luis Obispo offers 123 program options for students. The institution's rigorous programs rank among the best in the nation. The average student-to-instructor ratio is unknown. Information on the average amount of aid students receive is unavailable. Learners graduate from the school at a rate of 82%. The institution's commitment to experiential learning helps students enter the workforce. The admission rate is unknown at this time. Some students qualify for test-optional admissions. Contact the admissions department for more details about application requirements.

    #15

    University of California-Santa Barbara

    Santa Barbara, CA

    Graduation Rate

    83%

    Enrollment

    26,314

    Format

    In person

    In-State Tuition

    $14391

    Out-of-State Tuition

    $44145

    University of California-Santa Barbara ranks as a top school from its campus in Santa Barbara, California. Degree-seekers study with experts in many different fields. The school offers academic and technical tracks to help students meet a variety of professional goals. Typical time for program completion ranges from a few months to seven years depending on the type of degree or certificate offered. Some programs may no longer require standardized tests for admission. Flexible admission score requirements make it easier to apply. The admissions department provides additional resources on applying to the school. Learners also use financial aid to pay for their college degree or certificate. University of California-Santa Barbara has received accreditation from the Western Association of Schools and Colleges Senior Colleges and University Commission.

    #16

    Lincoln University

    Oakland, CA

    Graduation Rate

    78%

    Enrollment

    475

    Format

    In person

    In-State Tuition

    $11230

    Out-of-State Tuition

    $11230

    A private institution located in Oakland, California, Lincoln University enrolls learners in multiple programs. The school's accredited programs prepare learners for the workforce. The institution offers an academically rigorous course of study at an affordable price. Multiple programs at the school appear in national rankings. The school's average cost per credit is unknown. Degree-seekers attending the accredited institution may qualify for federal financial aid programs, such as the Pell Grant. Degree-seekers choose from academic and technical programs at the school. The school offers foundational courses, technical classes, and general education courses in multiple majors. Lincoln University has been accredited by the Accrediting Council for Independent Colleges and Schools, an independent accrediting body.

    #17

    California Institute of the Arts

    Valencia, CA

    Graduation Rate

    61%

    Enrollment

    1,520

    Format

    In person

    In-State Tuition

    $51466

    Out-of-State Tuition

    $51466

    California Institute of the Arts, located in Valencia, California, often ranks as one of the best schools. Experts in diverse disciplines teach at the institution. With academic and technical tracks, the school's programs help students meet their professional goals. Academic programs generally take anywhere from a few months to several years to complete depending on degree or certificate type. Some programs provide a test-optional admission option. A test score waiver makes it easier to apply. The admissions department can help students apply to the school. At the accredited institution, learners also qualify for financial aid to pay for school. California Institute of the Arts holds accreditation from the Western Association of Schools and Colleges Senior Colleges and University Commission.

    #18

    University of California-Davis

    Davis, CA

    Graduation Rate

    87%

    Enrollment

    38,634

    Format

    In person

    In-State Tuition

    $14495

    Out-of-State Tuition

    $44249

    A public institution located in Davis, California, University of California-Davis offers multiple programs. Students leave the school with experience and credentials that prepare them for the workforce. The institution's affordable programs provide a rigorous course of study. Several of the school's programs appear in national rankings. The school's average cost per credit is unknown. As an accredited institution, degree-seekers qualify for federal student aid programs, such as the Pell Grant. Degree-seekers choose from academic and technical programs at the school. Based on their major, students take foundational courses, technical classes, and general education requirements. University of California-Davis holds accreditation from the Western Association of Schools and Colleges Senior Colleges and University Commission.

    #19

    Pacific Oaks College

    Pasadena, CA

    Graduation Rate

    Not Provided

    Enrollment

    1,163

    Format

    Online, In person

    In-State Tuition

    $13688

    Out-of-State Tuition

    $13688

    Pacific Oaks College enrolls students at its Pasadena, California campus as a private institution. Instructors bring expertise in their fields. The school's academic and technical programs prepare graduates for the workforce or further study. Data on the school's average cost per credit is unavailable. Students at the accredited institution qualify for federal financial aid, including grants and loans. Data on the graduation rate is currently unavailable. The school's admission rate is unavailable. The admissions office provides more information about application requirements and start dates. Pacific Oaks College has received accreditation from the Western Association of Schools and Colleges Senior Colleges and University Commission, an independent accrediting body.

    #20

    Loyola Marymount University

    Los Angeles, CA

    Graduation Rate

    80%

    Enrollment

    9,822

    Format

    Online, In person

    In-State Tuition

    $50683

    Out-of-State Tuition

    $50683

    Located in Los Angeles, California, Loyola Marymount University is a private institution that offers multiple programs. The school offers accredited programs that prepare learners for the workforce. The institution offers affordable programs that do not sacrifice academic rigor. The school offers nationally ranked programs in diverse fields. The college charges an average per-credit fee of 1970. Degree-seekers at the accredited school may qualify for federal financial aid, including the Pell Grant. Learners choose from academic and technical majors at the school. Depending on their major, students complete foundational courses, technical classes, and general education requirements. The school is accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges Senior Colleges and University Commission, an independent accrediting body.

    #21

    University of San Diego

    San Diego, CA

    Graduation Rate

    81%

    Enrollment

    9,181

    Format

    Online, In person

    In-State Tuition

    $51186

    Out-of-State Tuition

    $51186

    From its campus in San Diego, California, University of San Diego enrolls students in 92 programs. Degree-seekers benefit from rigorous programs that rank among the best in the nation. The average student-to-faculty ratio is currently unknown. The amount of aid students receive on average is currently unknown. The private institution reports a graduation rate of 81%. Students should explore how workplace experience makes them more competitive employee candidates. The school's admission rate is unavailable. Some programs offer a waiver for standardized test scores. Contact the admissions department for more details about application requirements.

    #22

    California State University-Long Beach

    Long Beach, CA

    Graduation Rate

    74%

    Enrollment

    38,674

    Format

    Online, In person

    In-State Tuition

    $6834

    Out-of-State Tuition

    $18714

    From its Long Beach, California campus, California State University-Long Beach offers 180 program options for students. Learners benefit from rigorous programs that rank among the best in the nation. The student-to-teacher ratio is currently unknown. The amount of aid students receive on average is currently unknown. Students in the school's programs graduate at a rate of 74%. The institution's commitment to experiential learning helps graduates on the job market. The admission rate is unknown at this time. Some programs operate with a test-optional policy for admissions. Prospective applicants can contact the admission department for more information about applying.

    #23

    San Diego State University

    San Diego, CA

    Graduation Rate

    73%

    Enrollment

    35,544

    Format

    Online, In person

    In-State Tuition

    $7510

    Out-of-State Tuition

    $19390

    A public institution, San Diego State University grants degrees from its campus in San Diego, California. With both academic and technical programs, the college helps learners reach their career goals. Students gain knowledge and skill specific to their field by completing their program's coursework requirements. Some programs offer a waiver for standardized test scores. Applicants may find it easier to enroll without a test score requirement. The school supports enrollees with tutoring and career services. Data on the school's average cost per credit is unavailable. At the accredited school, learners qualify for federal student aid programs such as the Pell Grant. San Diego State University holds accreditation from the Western Association of Schools and Colleges Senior Colleges and University Commission.

    #24

    Southern States University

    San Diego, CA

    Graduation Rate

    50%

    Enrollment

    405

    Format

    Online, In person

    In-State Tuition

    $5913

    Out-of-State Tuition

    $5913

    Located in San Diego, California, Southern States University offers multiple programs as a private institution. The school offers programs that prepare graduates for careers and professional advancement. The institution's affordable programs provide a rigorous course of study. Many of the school's programs appear in national rankings. The institution's cost per credit is unknown. Students attending the accredited institution may qualify for federal financial aid programs, such as the Pell Grant. Learners choose from academic and technical majors at the school. Depending on their program, students complete foundational courses, technical classes, and general education requirements. Southern States University is accredited by the Accrediting Council for Independent Colleges and Schools.

    #25

    Chapman University

    Orange, CA

    Graduation Rate

    81%

    Enrollment

    9,850

    Format

    In person

    In-State Tuition

    $54924

    Out-of-State Tuition

    $54924

    Chapman University, located in Orange, California, enrolls students as a private institution. Enrollees take courses with experts in diverse disciplines. The college offers academic and technical programs that prepare graduates for the workforce or further study. The institution's average cost per credit is unknown. Students at the accredited institution qualify for federal financial aid, including grants and loans. The school reports a 81% graduation rate. The institution's admission rate is currently unknown. Admissions advisors can provide more information about application requirements and start dates. Chapman University holds accreditation from the Western Association of Schools and Colleges Senior Colleges and University Commission.

    #26

    New York Film Academy

    Burbank, CA

    Graduation Rate

    69%

    Enrollment

    1,892

    Format

    In person

    In-State Tuition

    $32542

    Out-of-State Tuition

    $32542

    From its campus in Burbank, California, New York Film Academy educates college students as a private institution. With both academic and technical programs, the school helps learners reach their educational goals. Students prepare for a successful career by completing the program's coursework. Depending on the program, applicants may need to submit test scores. A waiver makes it easier to apply. The school supports learners with academic help and career services. The amount students pay per credit is currently unknown. Learners at the accredited school qualify for federal student aid programs, including the Pell Grant. The school holds accreditation from the Western Association of Schools and Colleges Senior Colleges and University Commission.

    #27

    California State University-Fullerton

    Fullerton, CA

    Graduation Rate

    69%

    Enrollment

    40,445

    Format

    Online, In person

    In-State Tuition

    $6924

    Out-of-State Tuition

    $18804

    A public institution in Fullerton, California, California State University-Fullerton offers a variety of degree and certificate programs. Instructors bring expertise in their fields. The school offers academic and technical programs that prepare graduates for the workforce or further study. Data on the school's average cost per credit is unavailable. Students at the accredited institution qualify for federal financial aid, including grants and loans. Students earn their bachelor's degree from the school at a rate of 69%. The school's admission rate is currently unknown. Admissions advisors can provide more information about application requirements and start dates. The school holds accreditation from the Western Association of Schools and Colleges Senior Colleges and University Commission.

    #28

    The Master's University and Seminary

    Santa Clarita, CA

    Graduation Rate

    70%

    Enrollment

    2,006

    Format

    Online, In person

    In-State Tuition

    $25350

    Out-of-State Tuition

    $25350

    The Master's University and Seminary enrolls students at its Santa Clarita, California campus as a private institution. The institution's faculty brings expertise in multiple fields. The school offers academic and technical programs that prepare graduates for a successful career. The school's average cost per credit is unknown. Students at the accredited institution qualify for federal financial aid programs, including the Pell Grant. The private institution reports a graduation rate of 70%. The admission rate is unknown at this time. Prospective students can contact the admission department for more information about applying. The school holds accreditation from the Western Association of Schools and Colleges Senior Colleges and University Commission.

    #29

    California State University-Los Angeles

    Los Angeles, CA

    Graduation Rate

    52%

    Enrollment

    26,671

    Format

    In person

    In-State Tuition

    $6768

    Out-of-State Tuition

    $18648

    From its campus in Los Angeles, California, California State University-Los Angeles enrolls students in 152 programs. The institution's top-ranked programs offer a rigorous course of study. The average student-to-faculty ratio is unknown. How much aid students receive on average is not currently known. The school reports a 52% graduation rate. The institution's commitment to experiential learning helps graduates become more competitive in the job market. The school's admission rate is unknown at this time. Some programs no longer require test scores for admission. The admission department can provide more information about application requirements and start dates.

    #30

    Southern California Seminary

    El Cajon, CA

    Graduation Rate

    Not Provided

    Enrollment

    176

    Format

    Online, In person

    In-State Tuition

    $16884

    Out-of-State Tuition

    $16884

    Southern California Seminary ranks as a top school from its campus in El Cajon, California. Students study with experts in many different fields. The school offers academic and technical tracks to help learners meet a variety of professional goals. Academic programs generally take anywhere from a few months to several years to complete depending on degree or certificate type. Many schools no longer require admissions tests such as ACT or SAT. A test score waiver makes it easier to enroll. The admissions department can help students apply to the school. Financial aid helps degree-seekers pay for their education. The school is accredited by the Transnational Association of Christian Colleges and Schools.