Colleges in San Diego
The San Diego Community College District serves approximately 130,000 students each year through three two-year colleges and seven Continuing Education campuses. The three colleges offer occupationally driven associate degrees and certificates to help prepare students for entry-level jobs, and arts and sciences degree programs that transfer to four-year colleges and universities.
San Diego is also home to a variety of public and private four-year colleges and universities. The University of California, San Diego is one of the top 10 public universities in the country, with six undergraduate colleges, five academic divisions, and five graduate and professional schools. San Diego State University, which offers bachelor’s degrees in 84 areas, master’s degrees in 76 areas, and doctoral degrees in 21 areas, has educated more of San Diego’s civic leaders than any other institution – in fact, 80 percent of graduates stay in San Diego to pursue careers.
As for private nonprofit schools, the University of San Diego serves more than 8,000 students and offers a unique master’s degree program in peace and justice studies. National University is the second largest private nonprofit institution of higher education in California and the 12th largest in the United States, offering 100 undergraduate and graduate degrees as well as 30 certificates and 22 credential programs. At Point Loma Nazarene University, which serves more than 3,500 students through 60 undergraduate areas of study and graduate centers, 30 percent of graduating seniors have studied abroad.
Take a glance at a few of San Diego’s colleges and universities:
|San Diego City College||Public (2-year)||Certificates, Associate degrees|
|San Diego Mesa College||Public (2-year)||Certificates, Associate degrees|
|San Diego Miramar College||Public (2-year)||Certificates, Associate degrees|
|San Diego State University||Public (4-year)||Undergraduate degrees, Graduate degrees|
|University of California, San Diego||Public (4-year)||Undergraduate degrees, Graduate degrees, Continuing education|
|University of San Diego||Private Nonprofit||Undergraduate degrees, Certificates, Graduate degrees|
|Point Loma Nazarene University||Private Nonprofit||Undergraduate degrees, Graduate degrees, Certificates|
|National University||Private Nonprofit||Certificates, Undergraduate degrees, Graduate degrees|
|Alliant International University||Private Nonprofit||Undergraduate degrees, Certificates, Graduate degrees|
|Coleman University||Private Nonprofit||Undergraduate degrees, Graduate degrees|
|Azusa Pacific University||Private Nonprofit (Christian)||Certificates, Undergraduate degrees, Graduate degrees|
|San Diego Christian College||Private Nonprofit (Christian)||Undergraduate degrees, Certificates|
|Thomas Jefferson School of Law||Private Nonprofit||JD, LLM, JSM, JD/MBA degrees|
|California Western School of Law||Private Nonprofit||JD, LLM, MCL, JD/MBA, JD/MSW, JD/PhD, MAS-Health Law degrees|
Online Colleges in San Diego
Spotlight San Diego State University — San Diego, California
Part of the massive California State University system, San Diego State University serves the community through diverse online and hybrid programs. SDSU's College of Extended Studies administers most of the university’s online programs as part of its mission to provide professional development and lifelong learning opportunities. The College of Extended Studies (CES) also reaches out to San Diegans through the Open University, which allows high school graduates, working adults and students from other colleges to sign up for classes, if space is available. While individual courses are open to the public and enrolled students, online degree and certificate programs may have specific admission requirements.
SDSU offers online master's degree programs in subjects ranging from public administration to education leadership to learning design and technology. A graduate program in regulatory affairs focuses on the pharmaceutical and biotechnology industries. Another master's degree program in hospitality and tourism management uses a blended model, combining a week of face-to-face team-building and leadership exercises with 17 months of web-based instruction and a final on-campus capstone project. Interested individuals can ask university advisors whether online programs involve in-person participation or practical experience through internships.
Many of the online programs at SDSU's College of Extended Studies focus on career training. Business-related certificates dive into leadership, process improvement, human resources and accounting. Other areas include education and information systems, covering in-demand fields such as emerging mobile technologies. Several certificates are offered within construction management, encompassing green building practices. Additional noncredit online offerings aim to enhance professional knowledge or prepare students to sit for certification exams in areas such as project management.
Further details about SDSU's online programs are available at:
|College Name||San Diego State University|
|# of Online Programs||23|
|Subjects||Business, Education, Public Administration, Technology|
Students at any of San Diego’s community colleges can take online courses through the Online Learning Pathways website of the San Diego Community College District. Online courses are offered in subjects such as anthropology, business, music, psychology and real estate.
At the four-year public university level, UC San Diego Extension offers online courses and certificates in areas of study such as digital arts, engineering, information technology and writing. The College of Extended Studies at San Diego State boasts a wide range of online programs, from degree and certificate programs to career-building courses and personal enrichment opportunities.
Private colleges and universities provide a variety of online learning opportunities as well. The Division of Professional and Continuing Education at the University of San Diego offers online courses in areas such as business, classroom management, leadership, and Common Core standards. The University College of Azusa Pacific University offers fully online certificates, associate degrees and bachelor’s degrees in health sciences, leadership, liberal studies, management and psychology. Thomas Jefferson School of Law features fully online master's degrees in law, such as the LLM and JSM, with five different concentrations.
Top Industries, Careers and Employers
The San Diego region boasts one of the most diverse, dynamic economies in the country. According to the San Diego Regional Economic Development Corporation (EDC), the area’s major industries include:
- Clean Tech
- Information & Communications Technologies
- Health Care
- Higher Education
The home port to more than 60 percent of the ships in the U.S. Pacific Fleet and more than one-third of the combat power of the U.S. Marine Corps, San Diego hosts the largest concentration of military service personnel in the world. In fact, the defense industry represents one out of every four jobs in the region.
According to the San Diego Daily Transcript, San Diego County’s 10 largest employers are:
- U.S. Department of Defense
- Federal Government
- State of California
- University of California, San Diego
- County of San Diego
- San Diego Unified School District
- Sharp Healthcare
- Scripps Health
- City of San Diego
In addition to government-related activity, San Diego is one of the top 10 visitor and meeting destinations in the country, making tourism the third largest industry in the area. As seen from the list of top employers, education, whether postsecondary or K-12, is the focus for hundreds of thousands of San Diego professionals.
Colleges & Universities in San Diego
|San Diego State University||34,999||$5,472||Public|
|University of San Diego||9,106||$38,150||Not For Profit (Private)|
|Alliant International University||4,517||$16,350||Not For Profit (Private)|
|Point Loma Nazarene University||4,330||$27,700||Not For Profit (Private)|
|Thomas Jefferson School of Law||1,231||N/A||Not For Profit (Private)|
|Coleman University||1,097||$45,892||Not For Profit (Private)|
|California Western School of Law||1,026||N/A||Not For Profit (Private)|
Community Colleges and Vocational Schools in San Diego
|San Diego Mesa College||40,844||$864||Public|
|San Diego City College||29,873||$864||Public|
|San Diego Miramar College||23,179||$864||Public|
Online Colleges in San Diego