Doctoral Programs in Southern California with University Info

Sep 05, 2022

While Southern California is home to many post-secondary institutions, this article looks at only a few of the traditional public and private non-for-profit universities offering doctoral degrees. We will compare these schools using NCES statistics to help you determine which schools might be right for you.

Highly Ranked Schools in Southern California

When considering doctoral-level studies, some students are concerned with proximity to a large city. Larger cities often provide more networking and research opportunities and greater resources, typically, of all kinds. Below we list five schools located in large California cities that offer doctoral programs:

  • University of Southern California (Los Angeles)
  • University of California, Los Angeles (Los Angeles)
  • University of California, San Diego (La Jolla)
  • San Diego State University (La Jolla)
  • California State University-Northridge (Northridge)

Largest Schools in Southern California

The size of a school can be a sign of multiple diverse opportunities. Larger schools are often associated with more academic and extracurricular options, and more grant money to fund research. Using the NCES statistics for student population, we compare schools according to size. Here are five of the largest schools in Southern California that offered doctoral programs in 2022:

  • University of Southern California (49,318 enrolled students)
  • University of California-Los Angeles (46,116 enrolled students)
  • California State University-Fullerton (40,738 enrolled students)
  • California State University-Long Beach (40,190 enrolled students)
  • California State University-Northridge (40,108 enrolled students)

Lowest Graduate Tuition

The NCES gathers school-specific data on tuition. For many students, this is a major consideration. Assistantships and sponsored scholarships may help cover some graduate school costs. In 2021-2022, Bethesda University shared the lowest graduate tuition rate of $6,200. The list below are other schools with relatively low graduate tuition rates in 2021-2022.

  • California State University System ($7,176)
  • Concordia University-Irvine ($8,564)
  • Biola University ($12,006)
  • University of Massachusetts Global ($12,240)

Highest Graduation Rate

Another factor to consider is the percentage of students who graduate within a 'reasonable' time frame. The NCES offers graduation rate percentages for full-time bachelor's degree students who enrolled in 2015 and earned their degree within six years (150% of the normal time). While this formula is not applied to doctoral students, it can still offer insight into an institution's educational effectiveness. The schools with the highest graduation rates in 2022 were:

  • California Institute of Technology (93% undergraduate-graduation rate)
  • University of Southern California (92% undergraduate-graduation rate)
  • University of California-Los Angeles (92% undergraduate-graduation rate)
  • University of California-San Diego (89% undergraduate-graduation rate)
  • University of California-Irvine (84% undergraduate-graduation rate)

When evaluating doctoral programs there are many factors to consider. The information provided here has been compiled to help make your decision-making process a little simpler. Consider size, location, cost, and graduation rate to help narrow down your options.

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