Colleges in Los Angeles: A Complete List

Dreaming of a glamorous life in LA? Many start their LA journey as a student — where LA colleges offer robust educational and career opportunities.
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Updated on October 18, 2023
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Renowned as America's entertainment hub, Los Angeles attracts millions of students from all over the world. In addition to plenty of sunshine and beaches, LA County has buoyant industries such as healthcare, tech, finance, and manufacturing.

The City of Angels also has a strong higher education system with some of the country's top institutions. LA colleges offer a rigorous education amidst a unique social, cultural, and economic backdrop.

Explore if Los Angeles' popular colleges, career opportunities, and quality of life are right for you.

5 Popular LA Colleges

We've spotlighted what makes these five universities in LA and LA County some of the most popular colleges in the country.

The following school data comes from the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) and is updated for 2022.

1. University of California, Los Angeles

  • Avg. Undergraduate Tuition & Fees: $13,401 (in-state), $43,473 (out-of-state)
  • Acceptance Rate: 9%
  • Total Student Enrollment: 46,430

Established in 1882, UCLA is an academic powerhouse with an enrollment of about 46,000 students.

The school's research has led to discoveries and breakthroughs in cancer treatment, robotics, and neuroscience. The UCLA Medical Center is home to the latest medical advancements and world-class patient care.

UCLA's excellence is evident in nonacademic areas, too. Alumni have earned about 30 Oscars, and a strong sports program has resulted in 120 NCAA championships and many Olympic medals.

2. University of Southern California

  • Avg. Undergraduate Tuition & Fees: $64,726
  • Acceptance Rate: 12%
  • Total Student Enrollment: 48,945

USC attracts high-achieving students from around the globe. Its vast medical system makes USC a leader in healthcare research and patient care. USC also manages a strong athletics program and tech startup hub.

The school's 48,000 students enjoy a rich campus life with over 1,000 student organizations and 3,000 events each year. Undergraduate students live, study, and play on the 15-acre USC Village — complete with its own Target and Trader Joe's.

3. California Institute of Technology

  • Avg. Undergraduate Tuition & Fees: $60,864
  • Acceptance Rate: 3%
  • Total Student Enrollment: 2,401

CalTech specializes in top-tier science and engineering programs. The school enrolls just 2,400 students, who enjoy a 3:1 student-to-faculty ratio, one of the lowest in the nation.

The institute is responsible for managing NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory and owns a network of astronomical observatories.

CalTech's six academic divisions focus on engineering, applied science, biology, and biological engineering. The school celebrates forty-six Nobel Prize winners among faculty and alumni.

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4. Loyola Marymount University

  • Avg. Undergraduate Tuition & Fees: $55,926
  • Acceptance Rate: 41%
  • Total Student Enrollment: 10,165

Founded in 1911, LMU is a private Catholic college in the Jesuit and Marymount traditions. Students study on three LA campuses in classes with an 11-to-1 student-to-faculty ratio.

At LMU, you can pursue one of 55 undergraduate majors and 46 master’s programs. Popular majors include business, social sciences, and the visual and performing arts.

Once enrolled, you can participate in more than 200 student organizations offering diverse extracurricular activities to keep you engaged.

5. Pepperdine University

  • Avg. Undergraduate Tuition & Fees: $63,142
  • Acceptance Rate: 49%
  • Total Student Enrollment: 10,030

Pepperdine is a Christian college in Malibu. Learners study on a scenic 830-acre campus 29 miles from downtown Los Angeles.

Popular majors include business, psychology, and biology. Pepperdine operates several campuses overseas and is one of the top schools for undergraduate study abroad programs.

Students at Pepperdine have many opportunities to engage in service in the community, compete on athletics teams, join student ministries, and create campus groups.

List of All Los Angeles Colleges

Here is a complete list of all four-year nonprofit universities in Los Angeles and the greater Los Angeles County. Use the table below to compare data on student population, average net cost, acceptance rate, and number of applicants.

All data comes from NCES. Note that colleges with less than 500 enrolled undergraduates were not included in this list.

Colleges in Los Angeles County
School Total Student Enrollment Avg. Annual Net Price Acceptance Rate Number of Applicants
Art Center College of Design 2,420 $53,617 71% 1,285
Azusa Pacific University 7,169 $26,666 87% 3,438
California Institute of Technology 2,401 $20,755 3% 16,626
California Lutheran University 3,615 $30,416 87% 5,150
California State Polytechnic University, Pomona 27,503 $12,480 55% 49,079
California State University, Long Beach 38,973 $9,346 40% 74,718
California State University, Los Angeles 26,460 $5,801 87% 33,939
Claremont McKenna College 1,389 $28,701 10% 5,709
Harvey Mudd College 922 $39,850 13% 4,440
Loyola Marymount University 10,165 $52,815 41% 21,695
Mount Saint Mary's University 2,440 $28,717 76% 2,405
Occidental College 1,942 $44,853 39% 6,305
Otis College of Art and Design 1,312 $48,198 83% 2,083
Pepperdine University 10,030 $47,804 49% 11,466
Pitzer College 1,212 $39,809 18% 3,500
Pomona College 1,716 $19,962 7% 10,666
Scripps College 1,099 $43,923 28% 3,099
University of California, Los Angeles 46,430 $16,999 9% 149,801
University of Southern California 48,945 $36,808 12% 69,062
Whittier College 1,192 $28,368 75% 3,014
Woodbury University 943 $32,182 63% 1,460
Source: NCES

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The 10 Fastest-Growing Careers in LA

LA's fastest-growing careers represent the diversity of industries in the city. Everything from entertainment to healthcare to tech is projected to grow.

We've compiled a list of the fastest-growing jobs that require a bachelor's degree based on data provided by the California Employment Development Department. Pursuing your degree at one of the many colleges in Los Angeles can set you up for a career in the city.

The fastest-growing job is logistician, with an $82,405 median annual wage and a 37.5% projected growth rate. Music directors and composers come in second, with a $79,693 median annual wage and a 36.5% projected growth rate.

Rounding out the top five are information security analysts, medical and health services managers, and meeting, convention, and event planners.

LA County Fastest-Growing Careers 2020-2030
Job Projected Growth Median Annual Wage
Logisticians 37.5% $82,405
Music Directors and Composers 36.5% $79,693
Information Security Analysts 36.3% $124,625
Medical and Health Services Managers 35.1% $123,314
Meeting, Convention, and Event Planners 34.8% $62,159
Market Research Analysts and Marketing Specialists 33.4% $70,354
Agents and Business Managers of Artists, Performers, and Athletes 32.7% $102,957
Operations Research Analysts 28.1% $101,426
Software Developers and Software Quality Assurance Analysts and Testers 28% N/A
Coaches and Scouts 27.9% $50,285
Source: California Employment Development Department

Cost of Living in LA

Los Angeles offers many career opportunities, recreational activities, and pleasant weather. But life in LA isn't cheap.

According to Redfin, the cost of living in Los Angeles is 50% higher than the national average. Housing alone costs 140% more than the national average, and groceries will cost you 11% more.

Fortunately, students can reduce their costs by living with roommates and using some of the services that colleges typically provide. This includes free or subsidized transportation and healthcare and student discounts for insurance and travel.

Average Cost of Living in LA
Cost of Living Category Average Price
Home Price $1,000,000
Apartment Rent $3,198
Energy Bill $214.52
Gasoline $5.28
Phone Bill $193.44
Doctor Visit $131
Dentist Visit $129.03
Haircut $83.75
Movie Ticket $17.26
Coffee $6.34
Bread Loaf $4.21
1 Dozen Eggs $4.11
Pizza $12.82
Beer $10.27
Wine $8.63
Veterinarian Services $10.27
Source: Redfin

Frequently Asked Questions About Colleges in LA

How many colleges are in LA?

Los Angeles is home to over 20 nonprofit four-year universities — more than some states have. The greater Los Angeles County area is also home to a large number of community colleges and trade schools.

Is UCLA or USC better?

UCLA and USC are both prestigious research institutions that enroll high-achieving students. While USC is a private college, UCLA is a publicly funded school that is a lot cheaper than USC because of its tuition and financial aid packages.

Both schools have an acceptance rate between 9%-12%, making them selective in admissions.

What Ivy League colleges are in Los Angeles?

There are no Ivy League colleges in Los Angeles. However, UCLA is considered one of the Public Ivies — colleges that provide an Ivy League education at a public school price. Public Ivies enjoy prestige because they match Ivy League schools in terms of strong academics and student outcomes.

USC has also been called a Hidden Ivy.

What is the biggest college in LA?

USC is the largest college in LA with approximately 48,000 students, followed by UCLA with 46,000 students. USC's student enrollment consists of about 21,000 undergraduates and 28,000 graduate and professional students. In comparison, UCLA has a much larger undergraduate population compared to graduate students.

What is the cheapest college in LA?

The cheapest four-year university in Los Angeles is Cal State Los Angeles. According to the NCES, Cal State LA has the lowest average annual net price. For the 2022-2023 school year, Cal State LA's in-state tuition was $6,805, and its out-of-state tuition was $18,685. is an advertising-supported site. Featured or trusted partner programs and all school search, finder, or match results are for schools that compensate us. This compensation does not influence our school rankings, resource guides, or other editorially-independent information published on this site.

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