25 Best Christian Colleges In California To Prepare Students For A Path To Success

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Published by Shannon Jacobs



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Although California is not commonly associated with any specific religion, it is home to several Christian universities. The majority of Californian adults (63%), according to the Pew Research Center, identify as Christians of some stripe (Baptists, Episcopalians[1], Latter-day Saints, Orthodox Christians, Catholics, Protestants, and so on). It’s no surprise that the Christian colleges in California reflect the state’s wide variety.

Christian colleges in California may be found all around the state, allowing students to attend classes everywhere, from the beach to the forest to a tiny hamlet to a major metropolis.

25 Best Christian Colleges In California

Here are some of the finest Christian colleges and universities in California to consider if you’re a prospective student seeking a place to study that is both spiritually and academically enriching.

1. American Jewish University

The American Jewish University in Los Angeles, California, is a private Jewish institution. It strives to enhance and uplift the Jewish experience of individuals, organizations, and the community through the pursuit of academic excellence, impactful teaching, meaningful dialogue, and outreach efforts. Here, you can also find the Miller Introduction to Judaism Program, which helps interfaith couples and families learn about Judaism.

2. Azusa Pacific University

Located in the rolling hills of southern California, Azusa Pacific University is a Christian evangelical university on 103 acres. At present, APU is home to over 4,500 undergraduate students, with a 94% admission rate. The graduation rate is now 68%, and the most popular majors are nursing, psychology, and business.

3. Biola University

Located in La Mirada, California, Biola University is a nonsectarian, private, evangelical Christian institution of higher learning. In 1908, the Bible Institute of Los Angeles was established. More than 150 undergraduate, graduate, and doctoral programs are available across nine distinct academic divisions. The annual Missions Conference held at the institution is the largest event of its kind in the United States and the second-largest such gathering globally.

4. California Baptist University

Established in 1950 and located on 160 beautiful acres in Riverside, California, California Baptist University is closely associated with the Southern Baptist denomination. This university has campuses in several locations besides Riverside, offering 75 bachelor’s degree programs with 159 majors and 50 minors.

It has 30 master’s degree programs with 46 specializations and two doctorate programs for advanced students. Majors in nursing, psychology, and business are popular options.

5. California Lutheran University

Cal Lutheran University, located in Thousand Oaks, was founded in 1959 and is a private university focusing on liberal arts education. Evangelical Lutheran doctrine is the sole basis for CLU’s operations.

Undergraduate programs at California Lutheran University may be found in the visual and performing arts, as well as the social sciences, business, education, science, and technology. California Lutheran University’s graduate offerings include the fields of business and education, as well as theology at the Pacific Lutheran Seminary.

6. Chapman University

In 1861, Chapman University was established in Orange, California. Nearly 8500 students are currently enrolled, and the admission rate is 57%. At the undergraduate level, students can choose from 42 different concentrations; some of the most common are psychology, business administration and management, and film and video production. A total of 68 distinct graduate-level degree options are available to students.

7. Concordia University Irvine

Located in Irvine, California, Concordia University Irvine is a Lutheran-affiliated private institution of higher education. It was founded in 1976 as a college for the Pacific Southwest region of the Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod to satisfy the region’s need for pastors, teachers of religion, and administrators of Christian schools.

8. Fresno Pacific University

Fresno Pacific University is a Christian institution of higher education. The Pacific District Conference of the United Mennonite Brethren Churches launched the school in 1944 under the Pacific Bible Institute. The school gave out its very first Bachelor of Arts degree in 1965. In 1975, universities across the country started awarding master’s degrees.

9. Hope International University

Hope International University, established in 1928 as a Christian college with no affiliation to any one religion, is located on 18 suburban acres in Fullerton, California. There are now 1,232 students enrolled at this institution (with a 38% admission rate), including 580 full-time and 290 part-time undergraduates.

10. John Paul the Great Catholic University

John Paul the Great University is a Roman Catholic institution of higher learning located in Escondido, California. The school grants both Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Science degrees. Formerly known as the New Catholic University, John Paul the Great Catholic University opened in 2003. The board of trustees renamed the institution following Pope John Paul II’s death in April 2005. The term “Catholic” was kept in the new name to stress the school’s commitment to the Catholic faith.

11. La Sierra University

La Sierra University, a Seventh-day Adventist institution located in Riverside, California, was established in 1922 and has a campus of 150 acres. In particular, the school’s popular programs include safety studies, criminal justice, business, and pre-med programs.

12. Loma Nazarene University

Founded in 1902 by members of the Church of the Nazarene, the San Diego-based Point Loma Nazarene University is a Christian institution with deep ties to the Nazarene faith. The campus has 90 acres of prime oceanfront real estate in the heart of the city. Nursing, psychiatry, and other health professions are among the most popular majors, but the institution offers over 60 graduate degrees and 40 minors.

13. Notre Dame de Namur University

Belmont, California, has a private Catholic university known as Notre Dame de Namur. In addition to being the first institution in California to award baccalaureate degrees to women, it also holds the distinction of being the state’s third-oldest college. The institution has said that beginning in 2021, it will solely serve graduate students.

14. Pacific Union College

Angwin, California, is home to Pacific Union College, a private liberal arts institution that maintains ties to the Seventh-day Adventist Church. It is California’s 12th oldest college or university and the only four-year school in Napa County. Most of the student body comprises first-years and sophomores, making the college a residential four-year institution open to both genders.

15. Pepperdine University

Pepperdine Institution is a private research institution in Los Angeles County, California, that is associated with the Churches of Christ. In 1937, businessman George Pepperdine opened Pepperdine University in South Los Angeles. By 1972, the institution had moved to Malibu. Pepperdine also maintains campus locations in Buenos Aires, Beijing, Shanghai, Rome, Milan, Munich, and Zurich, among other far-flung European and Asian countries.

16. Saint Mary’s College Of California

Moraga, California, is home to Saint Mary’s College, a private Catholic university. The De La Salle Brothers have run the university, a Catholic institution, since its founding in 1863. The university has an overall enrollment of under 4,000, which includes both undergraduate and postgraduate students.

17. San Diego Christian College

In 1970, Scott Memorial Baptist Church provided financial backing for establishing San Diego Christian College. Without straying from its Christian roots, the institution has expanded over the past half-century to encompass more than 35 undergraduate majors, four graduate degree options, and 600 students. The spectrum of degrees available in San Diego is extensive, from aerospace engineering to kinesiology.

18. Santa Clara University

The Santa Clara University campus dates back to 1851, making it the state’s oldest continuously functioning university. Founded in 1777, the historic Mission Santa Clara de Ass is located on the outskirts of the university’s campus. The Mission’s architectural style was adopted for the campus, making it one of the best collections of Mission Revival and other Spanish Colonial Revival buildings worldwide. The institution is a “Doctoral/Professional” university.

19. Simpson University

Simpson University, located on 85 suburban acres in Redding, California, has been closely affiliated with the Christ and Missionary Alliance Church. Simpson University has a little over 700 undergraduates and an admission rate of 52%. Business, nursing, and psychology are highly sought-after fields of study.

20. The Master’s University And Seminary

The Master’s University and Seminary is located in the suburbs of Santa Clarita, California. Since its inception in 1927, the institution has had a close relationship with the conservative Baptist denomination. The acceptance rate for master’s programs is around 60%, and there are currently around 1,600 students enrolled. The university’s 13 departments offer many programs, including master’s degrees in biblical studies and counseling.

21. Thomas Aquinas College

Ventura County, California, is home to Thomas Aquinas College, a private Roman Catholic liberal arts institution. Northfield, Massachusetts, saw the debut of a second campus in 2018. Seminars and the Great Books form the backbone of its educational system. The Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC) Senior College and University Commission has approved it.

22. University Of San Diego

San Diego’s private Roman Catholic University of San Diego is a major research institution in the city. Separately, San Diego College for Women and San Diego University were chartered in July 1949 and amalgamated in 1972.

23. Vanguard University Of Southern California

Vanguard University of Southern California, affiliated with The Pentecostal (Assemblies of God Church), was founded in the 1920s in Costa Mesa, California. Twenty master’s degrees are available, including those in education, theology, nursing, and psychology.

24. Westmont College

As a Christian liberal arts college, Westmont has been open to students of all faiths since 1937. Located on 111 scenic suburban acres on the coast of Santa Barbara, this college is a sight to behold.

Because of the small size of the classes at Westmont, students can get individualized attention from their teachers and flourish in a supportive and close-knit community. Almost a hundred different academic concentrations and pre-professional programs are available to enrollees here.

25. William Jessup University

William Jessup University is a private, Christian university founded in 1939 on 126 suburban acres in the heart of Rocklin, California. There are over 1,300 students enrolled, with a 65% admission rate. There are now 68% of students who graduate. Along with several options for off-campus evangelism and cross-cultural engagement, Jessup also offers students the chance to participate in the Air Force Reserve Officer Training Corps (ROTC).

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Application Requirements For Christian Colleges In California

College entrance requirements vary. However, most Christian colleges have comparable admission standards and ask students to submit information.

  • School grades
  • GPA
  • Major-related GPA
  • GPA on core subjects
  • SAT/ACT scores
  • Individual statement
  • Personal history
  • Counselor or pastor recommendations
  • HS transcripts
  • Application fee

Students must apply to a school, not a program. Some Christian institutions accept major applications directly. Students are encouraged to visit their campus and talk to personnel.

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Christian Colleges in California provide a well-rounded education. These educational institutions often rank among the best in the country.

Colleges in California provide a rich environment for students to develop intellectually and spiritually, making them ideal for those who place a premium on spiritual development. Finding the ideal Christian school is crucial for students who want to be immersed in a spiritual community while they study. College life is easier when one enrolls at an institution that shares one’s core beliefs.

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