List of Liberal Arts Colleges in California

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California is home to over a dozen accredited liberal arts colleges. The schools include top ranked colleges such as Harvey Mudd, Claremont McKenna, Occidental, Thomas Aquinas, and Scripps. Liberal arts colleges are private institutions providing students will a well-rounded, holistic curriculum for undergraduate and graduate programs. Schools with a liberal arts pedagogy place emphasis on personal and professional skill development couched within the nexus of a broad-based set of courses. Even though students will eventually focus on an area of study, the purposeful curricular design helps students think differently about the world around them given the array of classes they will take in humanities and social sciences.

Advantages of Attending a Liberal Arts College in California

Students considering a liberal arts education with a California college will have several things to consider that may not be found at other private institutions. The top five reasons to consider a California liberal arts college include the following:
  1. Student Focused: Liberal arts schools are student focused instead of emphasizing research, grants, or innovation.
  2. Class Size: The class sizes at a liberal arts college in California will be noticeably smaller than public universities and most other private colleges. Smaller class sizes provide a great degree of interaction with peers and collaboration along with access to professors.
  3. Preparation: Liberal arts schools have been proven to be exceptional training grounds for students seeking to continue their education in graduate school.
  4. Value: Employers throughout the country seek students with a liberal arts education to fill vital roles within their organizations. In fact, in a recent report by the NACE, survey respondents indicate that employers highly value teamwork, communication and analytical skills in employees. These skills are abilities in which liberal arts colleges in California can impart.
  5. Financial Aid: The overall financial aid packages at California liberal arts colleges can be very generous, making highly ranked liberal arts schools within reach for more students.

Listed Below are 14 Liberal Arts Colleges in California

Click on the school names below to visit each school's profile page where you can see even more details.

Ashford University in San Diego, CA

Visit the website for Ashford University at ashford.edu

Program Details

  • Around 42,500 students enrolled
  • Estimated tuition & fees are about $11,000 per year

Visit the website for California State University - Monterey Bay at csumb.edu

Program Details

  • Around 7,100 students enrolled
  • Estimated tuition & fees are about $6,000 per year

Visit the website for Claremont McKenna College at cmc.edu

Program Details

  • Around 1,300 students enrolled
  • Estimated tuition & fees are about $51,000 per year

Visit the website for Harvey Mudd College at hmc.edu

Program Details

  • Around 800 students enrolled
  • Estimated tuition & fees are about $53,000 per year

Mills College in Oakland, CA

Visit the website for Mills College at mills.edu

Program Details

  • Around 1,400 students enrolled
  • Estimated tuition & fees are about $46,000 per year

Occidental College (Oxy) in Los Angeles, CA

Visit the website for Occidental College at oxy.edu

Program Details

  • Around 2,000 students enrolled
  • Estimated tuition & fees are about $52,000 per year

Pitzer College (Pitzer) in Claremont, CA

Visit the website for Pitzer College at pitzer.edu

Program Details

  • Around 1,100 students enrolled
  • Estimated tuition & fees are about $51,000 per year

Pomona College in Claremont, CA

Visit the website for Pomona College at pomona.edu

Program Details

  • Around 1,700 students enrolled
  • Estimated tuition & fees are about $50,000 per year

Visit the website for San Diego Christian College at sdcc.edu

Program Details

  • Around 900 students enrolled
  • Estimated tuition & fees are about $30,000 per year

Scripps College in Claremont, CA

Visit the website for Scripps College at scrippscollege.edu

Program Details

  • Around 1,000 students enrolled
  • Estimated tuition & fees are about $52,000 per year

Thomas Aquinas College in Santa Paula, CA

Visit the website for Thomas Aquinas College at thomasaquinas.edu

Program Details

  • Around 400 students enrolled
  • Estimated tuition & fees are about $26,000 per year

Westmont College in Santa Barbara, CA

Visit the website for Westmont College at westmont.edu

Program Details

  • Around 1,300 students enrolled
  • Estimated tuition & fees are about $43,000 per year

Whittier College in Whittier, CA

Visit the website for Whittier College at whittier.edu

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Program Details

  • Around 2,200 students enrolled
  • Estimated tuition & fees are about $45,000 per year

Notes: Tuition & fee amounts are for both California in-state residents and out of state students, unless noted otherwise. The tuition information displayed is an estimate, which we calculated based on historical data and should be solely used for informational purposes only. Please contact the respective school for information about the current school year.

Source: IPEDS Survey 2012-2015: Data obtained from the US Dept. of Education's Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS). Data may vary depending on school and academic year.