Colleges, Universities & Online Colleges in Los Angeles

Online Los Angeles schools, colleges and universities offer hundreds of degrees. Our comprehensive list of accredited online colleges in LA can help.

Updated September 12, 2022 • 3 Min Read

With a population of more than four million people and encompassing 503 square miles, Los Angeles, California is one of the largest cities in the United States. As a result, LA is home to 63 colleges and the city's nearly constant sunny weather attracts students from all over the nation.

Colleges in Los Angeles

The state of California has an extensive public education system. In fact, it has 111 community colleges alone. LA has a wealth of community colleges, public and private four-year universities and online colleges.

The largest community college by enrollment is Los Angeles City College (LACC). It was established in 1929 and has 16,042 students. According to the California Colleges website, one unique feature of LCC is its multi-ethnic student base that ranges in age from high school students to senior citizens. LACC offers degrees and certificates in music, nursing, engineering, and many other areas of study. The school also offers career and vocational programs for students who want to pursue careers in areas such as law enforcement, business, entertainment, and child development.

Other two-year public colleges in LA include Los Angeles Harbor College and West Los Angeles College.

In addition to two-year colleges, LA has two four-year state universities. California State University, Los Angeles (CSULA) serves 18,074 students and accepts 67.5 percent of those who apply each year, according to U.S. News & World Report. CSU Northridge (CSUN) has 31,119 students and has a 46.2 percent acceptance rate. Both universities offer numerous degrees, credentials and certificates for undergraduate as well as graduate students. Some examples include: African American studies, social work, urban learning, and exercise science.

Los Angeles is also home to the well known University of California Los Angeles (UCLA). According to the institution's website, UCLA is the most applied-to university in the U.S. UCLA's 42,163 students can choose from over 125 majors and more than 80 minors. Areas of study available include music history, Asian American studies, dance, and statistics. UCLA has five academic divisions: letters and science; arts and architecture; engineering and applied science; nursing; and theater, film and television.

Los Angeles also has a number of private four-year institutions, including the University of Southern California (USC), Anitoch University Los Angeles, American Film Institute Conservatory, American Jewish University, Occidental College, Marymount College, and Mount St. Mary's College. These institutions provide a mix of undergraduate and graduate degrees and sometimes revolve around special interests such as the arts or a highly religious campus environment.

To get a better idea of the range of two- and four-year higher education options LA has, here are just a few choice students have:

Higher Education Options
Institution Type Training/Degrees Offered
Los Angeles City College Public Certificates, Associate's degrees
Los Angeles Harbor College Public Certificates, Associate's degrees
West Los Angeles College Public Certificates of achievement or skill, Associate's degrees
California State University Los Angeles Public Certificates, Bachelor's degrees, graduate degrees, PhD
California State University Northridge Public Teaching credentials, Bachelor's degrees, graduate degrees, PhD
University of California Los AngelesPublic Bachelor's degrees, graduate degrees, PhD, Continuing education
University of Southern California Not for Profit Private Bachelor's degrees, graduate degrees, PhD, Continuing education
Mount St. Mary's College Not for Profit Private Certificates, Associate's degrees, graduate degrees
Marymount College Not for Profit Private Bachelor's degrees, graduate degrees
Occidental College Not for Profit Private Bachelor's degrees, graduate degrees
American Jewish University Not for Profit Private Bachelor's degrees, graduate degrees, Continuing education
Alliant International UniversityNot for Profit Private Bachelor's degrees, graduate degrees

Online Colleges in Los Angeles

West Los Angeles College – Culver City, California

West Los Angeles College (known as WEST) is a member of the vast Los Angeles Community College District, and it boasts the most extensive distance education program in the district. West Los Angeles College offers associate degrees and certificates either fully online or in a hybrid format, where online learning is the main mode of delivery but is complemented by in-person participation. WEST strives to make online education accessible to all interested individuals, including those with disabilities. Students can find online services and resources such as free tutoring, library access, a writing lab, counseling and a 24/7 tech help desk.

WEST features fully online degree programs in fields such as accounting, anthropology, business administration, English, liberal arts and marketing. For programs using blended delivery methods, potential majors range from administration of justice to economics to Spanish. Web-based programs at WEST include certificates of achievement and skill certificates, available primarily or completely online. Certificate programs typically focus on careers, for example, computer network and information security, hotel operations, entrepreneurship and real estate. Several offerings relate to early child development and child care programs: health and nutrition, assessment and guidance, pre-school supervision and teaching.

West Los Angeles College serves the greater metropolitan Los Angeles area and beyond. WEST demonstrates that distance learning can reach around the globe, with an online program for international students seeking U.S. associate degrees. Available majors include business administration and liberal arts. An associate-to-bachelor's degree partnership for WEST international online students supports the transfer of these two-year degrees to four-year institutions.

  • Sub-Location: Culver City
  • Number of Online Programs: 54
  • Subjects: Business, computer science, fire technology, hospitality, liberal arts
  • Levels: Associate, certificate (achievement or skills)

Students in LA aren't restricted to taking classes online. In fact, some schools even allow students to earn a degree without stepping foot on campus.

LACC, for example, offers distance learning for classes such as political science, sociology, and history completely online. Some classes may have some in-person components as well. LACC's website has an “online student readiness quiz” to help potential students decide if online classes are a good fit.

In terms of four-year schools in LA, both CSU schools, UCLA and USC have extensive online offerings. For example, USC has USCNow, which offers certificates programs as well as undergraduate and graduate degrees in areas such areas as journalism, education, electrical engineering, and public health. UCLA offers many of its traditional degrees and classes online and also offers UCLA Extension for continuing education, which is tailored to working adults.

Top Industries, Careers and Employers

LA is well known for its connection to the entertainment industry: Many music, film, and television companies are in the area. In fact, Forbes calls it the “Entertainment Capital of the World.” It's fitting that so much of LA's economy revolves around tourism and entertainment.

According to the State of California Employment Development Department, major employers in LA include:

  • Century Plaza Towers
  • FX Networks LLC
  • Kaiser Permanente
  • UCLA
  • UCLA Health System

LA encompasses a large area so some big employers might be close by but outside city limits, including:

  • Nestle USA
  • Walt Disney Co.
  • Sony Pictures Entertainment
  • Warner Bros. Studios

Like in any city, some jobs have more openings than others. Jobs projected by the State of California Employment Development Department to have continued growth through 2020 include:

  • Biomedical Engineers
  • Home Health Aides
  • Helpers, Brickmasons and Tile Setters
  • Helpers, Carpenters
  • Curators
Colleges and Universities in Los Angeles
College Size Tuition Type
University of California-Los Angeles 40,863 $11,220 Public
University of Southern California 40,515 $42,162 Not For Profit (Private)
California State University-Los Angeles 22,830 $5,472 Public
Loyola Marymount University 9,752 $36,912 Not For Profit (Private)
Mount St. Marys College 3,175 $30,696 Not For Profit (Private)
Occidental College 2,174 $41,860 Not For Profit (Private)
Southwestern Law School 1,476 N/A Not For Profit (Private)
Otis College of Art and Design 1,298 $34,454 Not For Profit (Private)
The Chicago School of Professional Psychology at Los Angeles 506 N/A Not For Profit (Private)
Southern California Institute of Architecture 506 $30,250 Not For Profit (Private)
Community Colleges and Vocational Schools in Los Angeles
College Size Tuition Type
Los Angeles City College 31,261 $958 Public
Los Angeles Trade Technical College 23,287 $958 Public
Los Angeles Southwest College 11,299 $958 Public

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