The second largest city in the country, Los Angeles is a patchwork of diverse neighborhoods that sprawl from the ocean to the mountains. Despite L.A.'s reputation as a car town, there is a widespread public bus system and an expanding subway/light rail network. Major industries in the area include entertainment, digital and environmental technology, fabricated metal production, international trade and tourism. Los Angeles is home to three public universities, nine community college campuses, and numerous private colleges as well as vocational schools.
Los Angeles Colleges and Universities
The most prestigious of the three public Los Angeles universities is the University of California, Los Angeles. UCLA's 419-acre campus is in Westwood, five miles from the Pacific Ocean. UCLA offers 130 undergraduate majors in addition to master's and doctoral degrees. Thirty-one of the school's academic programs are ranked among the Top 20 in their fields. U.S. News & World report ranked the university No. 25 among national universities. California State University, Los Angeles, and California State University, Northridge, are both part of the California State system, which encompasses 23 campuses throughout the state. CSULA offers more than 60 undergraduate and graduate degree programs; CSUN offers bachelor's degrees in more than 60 fields, master's degrees in some 40 areas and a doctoral degree in educational leadership.
The community college system in Los Angeles consists of nine campuses, including Los Angeles City College and Los Angeles Trade-Technical College.
Los Angeles' most prominent private university is the University of Southern California, in downtown L.A. It awards a full range of undergraduate majors, master's and doctoral degrees, and its graduate students outnumber its undergraduate students. USC is also well known for its Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism, its highly esteemed School of Cinematic Arts and its football team, the Trojans.
Vocational and Trade Schools in Los Angeles
The city's numerous vocational schools cover a wide range of subjects. For the study of medicine, there is the Charles R. Drew University of Medicine and Science, which conducts education, patient care and research. For the study of law, the private Southwestern Law School offers two-, three- and four-year J.D. programs. The Fuller Theological Seminary is an evangelical, multi-denominational institution with schools of intercultural studies, psychology and theology. The Fashion Institute of Design & Merchandising is a private college preparing students for the fashion, graphics, interior design and entertainment industries. The Southern California Institute of Architecture is an independent architecture school offering graduate and undergraduate degrees.
Los Angeles Film School is an entertainment media school in Hollywood awarding degrees in film, computer animation, game production and recording arts. The accredited American Musical and Dramatic Academy offers conservatory studies and Bachelor of Fine Arts degrees.
Schools in the Greater Los Angeles Area
Because the Los Angeles region is so expansive, it contains several additional schools. The California Institute of Technology, often referred to as Caltech, is located in Pasadena and considered a top research facility. Faculty and alumni there have received 32 Noble prizes. Enrollment at the school is small, but students can seek a variety of degrees from the bachelor's to doctoral levels and in subjects as varied as biology, chemistry, geology, planetary science, physics and more. California State Polytechnic University, in Pomona, offers degrees up to the master's level and enrolls about 21,000 students. It's known for its engineering and architectural programs, which are selective and nationally ranked.
California State University's nearby colleges includes Cal Poly Pomona, east of L.A., which is one of seven polytechnic universities nationwide. In the same area, the Claremont Colleges constitute a cluster of seven private colleges offering undergraduate liberal arts, science and engineering programs along with graduate education. They include the all-female Scripps and Pomona College, both top-ranked liberal arts schools.
Santa Monica College is considered a top transfer college to schools like UCLA, USC and more. Programs of study are available in fields as varied business, dance, fashion design, the theatre arts and more.
Some of the private colleges and universities in Los Angeles County include Biola University, Loyola Marymount University, Pepperdine University, and Whittier College. Acting and entertainment schools outside of L.A. include the California Institute of the Arts in Valencia, which provides undergraduate and graduate study in the visual and performing arts. CalArts was founded by Walt Disney, who envisioned it as a "Caltech of the arts." The Art Center College of Design, in Pasadena, is another prominent art school with strengths in advertising, publishing and industrial design.
No matter what type of career interests you, be sure to make the most of your options by perusing our complete list of colleges and universities to help you in your Los Angeles search.