Colleges in San Francisco

Colleges in San Francisco

The City and County of San Francisco in California is the second-most densely populated city in the entire US and also functions as the cultural, commercial, and financial center for the northern half of the state. Within San Francisco’s less than 50 square miles of space, there are more than 20 colleges and universities that call the Golden Gate City home.

The oldest in the city is the Jesuit-run University of San Francisco. Other private institutions include Alliant International University, Devry University, Saybrook University, Golden Gate University, Hult International Business School, Heald College, and Minerva Schools at KGI. The Arthur A. Dugoni School of Dentistry, a part of the University of the Pacific, offers the only 3-year accredited program in the nation that leads to a Doctor of Dental Surgery degree.

Founded in 1935, the City College of San Francisco is the only community college in the city, as well as one of the largest community colleges in the country. The only other public institution besides CCSF that’s geared towards undergraduates in the city is the San Francisco State University, a member of the 23-campus California State University system.

The majority of the institutions in The City of Brotherly Love are private, with a handful devoted to the fine arts. The largest art and design institute in the nation, the Academy of Art University, as well as the oldest art school west of the Mississippi, the San Francisco Art Institute, can both be found in Bay City. The California College of the Arts, the San Francisco School of Digital Filmmaking, and the Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising are also at home in SF’s neighborhoods, as well as the San Francisco Conservatory of Music, which is also the only independent music school on the entire West Coast.

San Francisco is home to a number of graduate schools, including the University of California in San Francisco, which is dedicated entirely to health science. UCSF is also home to the UCSF School of Medicine, the oldest school of its kind in the Western US. The 415 also hosts the UC Hastings College of Law, Presidio Graduate School, California Institute of Integral Studies, and the San Francisco Law School.

The San Francisco Municipal Railway, the Muni, is a common way to get around the city, while bicycling and walking have grown more popular, especially with San Fran being labeled the second-most walkable city.

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Stanford University is a research institution located in the California town of the same name. The more than 8,000-acre campus features seven schools, the largest of which is the School of Humanities and Sciences, and 80 residential facilities. With...

“…by far the most diverse, relaxed campus full of happy, friendly students of all ages. clean, green and exuding student pride everywhere you go. the best choice anyone could ever make!” – Dahlton from Jackson, CA

Founded in 1868, the University of California at Berkeley is the original member of UC System with a campus overlooking the San Francisco Bay. UC Berkeley is known for its liberal student activism, most notably The Free Speech Movement student...

“…The environment is incredibly welcoming and you'll always find a place to fit in. It's definitely challenging, but incredibly rewarding. Personally, I adore it.” – Whitney from Berkeley, CA

Founded by Jesuits in the mid-nineteenth century, the University of San Francisco is a private Catholic university and the first university established in the city. The 55-acre urban campus located near Golden Gate Park is home to 49 academic majors...

“…this university is great for social service and catering to our community. the majors are designed to provide a liberal arts education, while preparing students for the real world. there is great diversity on campus, and opportunities to join clubs...” – nalini from Glendale, CA

Originally founded as a teacher training college, San Francisco State University is a 4-year public institution and a Bay Area-based campus of the California State University System. SF State offers bachelor’s degrees in 77 fields of study and...

“…You can tell that (most) teachers really care about their students, and have been doing their best to be there despite all of the drastic budget cuts. It has impacted the availability of services, which is disappointing; but you can see where the...” – Liz from Daly City, CA

The Academy of Art University is a for-profit college of art and design in San Francisco and the largest private school dedicated to training artists in the United States. AAU confers bachelor’s and associate degrees in 22 artistic fields of study...

The University of California-San Francisco is a public research institution specializing in health sciences. It is part of the University of California System and operates multiple campuses and minor sites throughout the San Francisco Bay Area and...

“…At USF there are excellent professors that are always willing to take time out of their schedules to help the students that ask for it. Living on campus if really nice, everything is at your fingertips. The faculty and staff at USF are very...” – Jennea from Newark, CA

Mills College is a private, liberal arts college located in Oakland, California. The college’s undergraduate program is exclusively open to women, though its graduate program is open to students of all genders. Mills has a unique core curriculum,...

“…Beautiful, tranquil, and supportive. Mills College is the absolute place to be for women looking to succeed in both academics and in the real world future that lies ahead. Cyclone ladies get all the benefits of a big school with highly qualified...” – Elizabeth from Citrus Heights, CA

Originally founded as The State College for Alameda County, California State University East Bay is a 4-year public university and a Bay Area-based campus in the Cal State system. Cal State East Bay is home to four colleges of Business, Science,...

“…east bay is very diverse which always creates a fun experience. the students are each surrounded by different cultures, backgrounds and different perspectives, so it's very interesting to observe and talk to different students. the professors are...” – Korinne from Menlo Park, CA

The City College of San Francisco is a public, 2-year institution with campuses located throughout San Francisco, California. The college offers a wide variety of unique programs of study, such as Floristry, Maker Studies, and Genetics. Free tuition...

“…city college has a large campus, it can be confusing at first but once you get used to it you'll love it. everybody is generally helpful and its very internally friendly. the only draw back is that there are a lot of people so getting the classes you...” – Khiry from Vallejo, CA

Founded in 1890 by the Dominican Sisters of San Rafael, the Dominican University of California is one of the oldest institutions of higher education in the state. The private university is located at the base of San Pedro Mountain and operates a...

“…Dominican has a very helpful and caring staff that go out of their way to help us get through college. I can tell they actually care about where we go after college and do a good job in preparing us for the real world. Not to mention the campus is...” – Carrie from Sonoma, CA

Founded in 1868 by the Sisters of the Holy Names of Jesus and Mary, Holy Names University is a 4-year Catholic school in Oakland. Holy Names grants undergraduate degrees in 15 academic programs. As a Catholic university, Holy Names celebrates mass on...

“…this university is a great institution. it has provided me with the best college experience. i feel part of a family here with all the students and faculty. ” – Maribel from Riverside, CA

Chabot College is a public, 2-year institution located in Hayward, California, that offers majors in six areas of study. The college features over 14 student support programs, such as the ASPIRE TRiO program and the Striving Black Brothers Coalition....

“…Chabot College is a good school. There are some very good teachers here who strive to help students succeed. it is also a great place to make lasting friendships with fellow students.” – Stefanie from Hayward, CA

Cañada College is a public institution located in San Mateo, California, that offers day, evening, and weekend classes. The college is home to an award-winning STEM Center, which serves as a valuable resource for students seeking additional...

“…-A very competitive school. -it is within the 25 best colleges in CA. -The professors are excellent and dedicated.” – Brenda from Redwood City, CA

Founded by the local archbishop, Saint Mary’s College of California is a Catholic liberal arts college in the Bay Area administered by the De La Salle Christian Brothers. Saint Mary’s is home to schools of Economics, Liberal Arts, and Science...

“…saint mary's college is an amazing school. here you will meet amazing people and professors that will teach you a lot about yourself and life. be prepared to leave high school behind because you literally grow more as a person and student in your...” – Sandra from CA

Founded in 1871, the San Francisco Art Institute is a college of contemporary art and the oldest art school in the western United States. SFAI confers undergraduate degrees in eight artistic fields of study such as Printmaking and Sculpture. All...

“…The school is a very inspiring, creative environment.” – Bryon from Denver, CO

Founded by two nuns, Notre Dame de Namur University is a Catholic school in Silicon Valley and the third oldest college in California. NDNU is home to schools of Arts & Sciences, Business, and Education granting bachelor’s degrees in 15 areas of...

“…NDNU is a great school for those who like close-knit environments and love to make great personal connections with students, professors, and administrators. It is located in the resourceful Bay Area, and there are many resources available to students...” – Emily from Redlands, CA

Menlo College is a private, 4-year institution established in Atherton, California. Academics at Menlo are business-centric, focusing on economic studies and entrepreneurship. The campus features a new facility, the Innovation Center, which is home...

“…It's a small campus with less than 1,000 students enrolled annually and the class sizes are pretty small, usually with less than 20 people per class. Menlo has a good reputation for turning out successful management majors, but lacking a little in...” – Mauree from Lavista, NE

The College of San Mateo is a public, 2-year institution established on a hillside, 153-acre campus nearby the San Francisco Bay. CSU offers over 70 career-related academic programs, as well as programs for transfer to California State University and...

“…College of San Mateo is one of the greatest campuses on the Peninsula. As a returning student after being laid off three years ago, going back to school has given me new purpose and direction in my life. I would recommend going to this college for...” – Kathryn from San Mateo, CA

Located in the northern edge of the Bay Area, Contra Costa College is the oldest campus in the Contra Costa Community College District. CCC is also the district’s most diverse college and has been designated an Hispanic Serving Institution. Among CCC...

“…Contra Costa College is a very diverse and welcoming school! Its learning community gives all students a fair amount of opportunities, so no one is left behind. I would recommend to this college to any individual who is interested in a very diverse...” – Cynthia from El Cerrito, CA

Skyline College is a 2-year community college that groups a number of related fields of study into four concentrations called Meta Majors—the equivalent of academic departments. Skyline employs counselors specializing in each Meta Major and several...

“…skyline college is one of the best community colleges in the san francisco bay area. it is allowing adult students to pursue their dreams of further employment with excellent classes to further enchance academic knowledge for students' careers.” – Cartez from San Jose, CA

The College of Marin is a public, 2-year institution established in California, with two facilities located in Kentfield and Novato. COM offers more than 40 associate’s degrees and certificates, many of which include courses that are available online...

“…This college has been a blessing in disguise. The staff of everyone on campus is professional and very helpful. The classes are fun and interesting as well.” – Krista from Santa Rosa, CA

The San Francisco Conservatory of Music is a music school in the heart of the Bay Area. In addition to departments specializing in voice and instrumental instruction, SFCM also features classes on conducting, music theory, humanities, and sciences....

Merritt College is a 2-year community college in Oakland. Among Merritt’s more than 60 academic disciplines, its African American, Native American, Ethnic, and Mexican & Latin American Studies programs provide an exploration of the diverse cultures...

“…It is a wonderful campus that's currently remodeling the older infrastructure. The teachers and professors here, especially in the health sciences department are extraordinary. The faculty is always willing and providing help to students.” – Andy from Oakland, CA

Founded in 1907, California College of the Arts is a Bay Area-based school of art and design with campuses in San Francisco and Oakland. CCA is home to 22 undergraduate programs in core disciplines of Architecture, Fine Arts, Design, and Humanities....

“…attached to art history. mostly conceptually charged teachers. design over fine arts.” – Joshua from Oakland, CA

Samuel Merritt University is a school of health science with three campuses in northern California and the largest provider of physical and occupational therapists in the East Bay. SMU is home to five undergraduate degree programs and four doctorate...

“…If you are detail-oriented and want a fast-track degree, then SMU is for you! SMU has amazing instructors and clinical instructors for a really positive experience.” – Dina from Santa Cruz, CA

The College of Alameda is a 2-year community college in the San Francisco Bay Area. Alameda offers degrees and certificates in 48 academic programs as well as career technical education courses. To provide hands-on demonstrations of classroom lessons...

As part of the largest theater company in San Francisco, the American Conservatory Theater features an actor training conservatory program. ACT’s conservatory offers a 3-year immersive MFA program in acting that culminates in a showcase for casting...

California State University Maritime Academy is located on a waterfront campus in Vallejo, one of seven degree-granting maritime academies in the US and the only one on the west coast. All students are part of the Corp of Cadets and are required to...

“…I think the school deserves at least a nine for two main reasons. One being that the campus is beautiful and enjoyable, especially considering it is right on the water but also close to other cities such as San Francisco. The other reason is that...”

The California Institute of Integral Studies fuses new age concepts such as consciousness and spirituality into all of its academic offerings. The Institute’s San Francisco campus is made up of three schools and also houses a branch of the American...

“…CIIS offers progressive educational practices, formats, and courses of study that suit both traditional and non-traditional students. Faculty expertise coupled with honoring student experience allows the learner to be an explorer as meaningful...” – Kristen from Harrisonburg, VA

Patten University is a for-profit institution that confers online bachelor’s degrees in Leadership, Management, and Psychology as well as an associate degree in General Studies. Through an initiative called the International Pathways Program, online...

John F. Kennedy University is a nonprofit private university dedicated to training its students to serve their community and country. JFKU offers programs in five departments on its Pleasant Hill, California, campus with several programs also...

“…It is great for a graduate program. Everything is very personal and at your finger tips. There is nothing that the staff and professors can not help you with.” – Laura from San Jose, CA

From its campus in downtown Oakland, California, Lincoln University is a private institution with an emphasis on education for working adults. Lincoln offers two bachelor’s degrees in Business Administration and Diagnostic Imaging as well as two...

With campus a short walk from the Napa River and San Pablo Bay, Touro University California is a graduate school of health science in the San Francisco Bay Area with an emphasis on Jewish values and culture. Touro offers Doctor of Osteopathic...

Established in 1878, the University of California, Hastings College of the Law is a public law institution located in San Francisco. Hastings offers a three-year Juris Doctor program, as well as two multiple-degree programs in collaboration with UC...

Golden Gate University is a 4-year private university in San Francisco. GGU’s 13 departments of academic programs are focused on business and management, with many programs available entirely online. GGU provides tutors with master’s degrees in their...

Saybrook University is a progressive graduate school that combines online learning with low-residency study. Saybrook is comprised of two colleges in Social Sciences and Integrative Medicine & Health Sciences, with offer master’s degrees and PhDs in...

“…Saybrook University is five star school. Teachers are great and adviser is nice. ” – Sachiko from Shoreline, WA

Diablo Valley College is a 2-year public institution located in Pleasant Hill and San Ramon, California. DVC boasts high transfer rates, with many of its students continuing their college careers at CSU and UC. The campus features a number of...

“…dvc has a wide selection of available majors and the faculty is amazing. the campus is large and when its not under construction is very beautiful. with one of the highest transfer rates to four year universities i think that dvc is an excellent...” – Kearston from Fairfield, CA

Life Chiropractic College West is a chiropractic training school with a campus on the east side of the Bay Area. Life West confers a postgraduate Doctor of Chiropractic degree featuring training in 13 techniques and the program can be completed in 12...

“…A fantastic school which stays true to the Philosophy, Science, and Art of Chiropractic. A lot of dedication and determination to help the world through Chiropractic is needed to stay focused on the goal and get through school. The curriculum is...” – Lila from San Francisco, CA

With a campus located in Berkeley, Zaytuna College is a Muslim liberal arts college and the first Islamic undergraduate institution of higher learning in the United States. Zaytuna confers a Bachelor’s Degree in Islamic Law and Theology featuring...

Headquartered in a Bay Area English Tudor-style mansion, The Wright Institute is a graduate school of psychology in Berkeley. The Wright Institute offers a 2-year master’s degree program in Counseling and a 3-year doctorate in Clinical Psychology. To...

The Graduate Theological Union is a non-denominational graduate center for the study of religion comprised of eight member schools, five academic centers, and four affiliates. GTU is home to four interdisciplinary departments of Sacred Texts, Ethics,...

Affiliated with the Presbyterian Church, San Francisco Theological Seminary is a Christian graduate school with a focus on social justice ministry and a founding member of the Graduate Theological Union. SFTS offers two master’s degree programs in...

Established in 1866, Pacific School of Religion is a private, Christ-centered institution located in Berkeley, California. The college offers 15 graduate degree and certificate programs, featuring a curriculum that combines traditional, theological...

A member of the Graduate Theological Union, Starr King School for the Ministry is a Christian seminary in Berkeley affiliated with the Unitarian Universalist Church. Starr King offers three master’s degree programs in Divinity, Arts, and Social...

One of the first colleges founded in the state of California, American Baptist Seminary of the West is a Christian graduate school in Berkeley and a charter member of the Graduate Theological Union. Affiliated with the American Baptist Churches USA,...

Utilizing an academic foundation in traditional Chinese medicine, the Acupuncture and Integrative Medicine College is a school of healthcare in Berkeley. AIMC offers a 3-year master’s degree and a 4-year doctorate in Acupuncture & Integrative...

A member of the Graduate Theological Union, the Church Divinity School of the Pacific is a Christian graduate school in Berkeley and the west coast’s only Episcopal seminary. CDS offers master’s degree programs in Divinity, Arts, and Theological...

From its campus in the Berkeley Arts District, the California Jazz Conservatory is the only institution of higher education in the United States dedicated entirely to jazz. The conservatory offers a Bachelor of Music degree in Jazz Studies with...

Founded as the first Roman Catholic seminary in the western United States, Saint Patrick’s Seminary and University is a Catholic institution in Silicon Valley. With a focus on training future Roman Catholic priests, Saint Patrick’s confers a bachelor...

Part of the Graduate Theological Union, the Dominican School of Philosophy & Theology is a Roman Catholic graduate school dedicated to preparing students for apostolic and academic vocations. Grounded in the teachings of St. Thomas Aquinas, DSPT...

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