Long known as one of the cultural capitals, Los Angeles is also celebrated as a hub for some of the best universities and colleges throughout the world. From top private colleges boasting research facilities, world renowned sports programs and education that rivals ivy league schools out east to public schools part of the University of California system, there is no shortage of best universities to choose from in Los Angeles. We’ve narrowed down the best of the best:
The University of Southern California (USC)
3551 Trousdale Pkwy
Los Angeles, CA 90089
Extremely well-known and respected world wide, USC or The University of Southern California is undoubtedly one of Los Angeles’ premiere academic institutions. With elite sports, academic programs that compete for the smartest students and professors in the world, this private school boasts an impressive #25 ranking among U.S. News & World Reports Top National Universities and a #9 ranking among U.S. News & World Reports best undergraduate business schools. In addition, the college, which is California’s oldest private research university, has historically educated and molded some of the world’s top business leaders and professionals in all areas. Established in 1880, USC’s main campus is in Downtown Los Angeles and has roughly 18,000 undergraduate and 21,000 graduate students. Known as the Trojans, the nationally acclaimed sports program has been at the forefront of college football’s top honors throughout the years as well as for basketball and baseball. It holds a well documented rivalry with the cross-town school (UCLA) as well. The school is also very well known for not only its business school (Marshall School of Business), but also for their School of Cinematic Arts which has held more respected film and TV professionals than any other school. Other top educational programs at the school include their law school which is rated #20 in the country as well as their economics, communications and medical schools.
University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA)
405 Hilgard Ave
Los Angeles, CA 90095
Founded in 1919, UCLA is one of the world’s top public institutions which attracts students from all over the world. With a total undergraduate enrollment of around 30,000 and a beautiful campus that sits on 420 lush acres in one of the nicest areas of Los Angeles, it is ranked #23 out of all the national colleges throughout the country, right behind the likes of Dartmouth, Cornell, Brown and other top universities. In addition to offering more than 160 academic programs through top-rated schools such as the school of theater, film and television, their architecture school, as well as their first rate business and law schools, UCLA offers a top-notch research department. The school boasts well-known graduates in all areas of life such as former NBA star Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, singer-songwriter Sara Bareilles, actor Sean Astin and many more. In addition, the sports programs for both basketball and football are hailed as some of the most historic franchises in college sports. The basketball program in particular has a rich and storied history, having claimed John Wooden, Bill Walton, and others as part of the club.
Loyola Marymount University
1 Loyola Marymount University Dr
Los Angeles, CA 90045
A private, co-educational university in the Jesuit and Marymount traditions, Loyola Marymount is located in the Playa Del Rey section of Los Angeles and is just about 2 miles from the Pacific Ocean and the same distance from LAX Airport. Founded in 1911, the school has a much smaller undergraduate enrollment than UCLA or USC at just around 6,200 students. Set in a suburban environment, the 142 acre campus holds seven schools and colleges for both graduate and undergraduate students including the graduate programs of the College of Business Administration, the Loyola Law School, and the School of Education as well as undergraduate programs for liberal arts, science and engineering, business administration, communication and film and television. The law school in particular is one of the best in California and the country and holds high rankings for its trial advocacy and tax law specialties. Located in downtown L.A., the law school is close to many of the top law firms, which helps put students close to powerhouse players in the industry.
A consortium made of of five undergraduate liberal arts colleges, and two graduate institutions, The Claremont Colleges lay just outside of Los Angeles in Claremont, California. Founded between 1887 to 1963, the colleges were established to provide the specialization, flexibility and personal attention which is commonly found in smaller institutions, yet with the resources of a larger university. Pomona College is a small, liberal arts college offering studies in humanities, social sciences and natural sciences and is the founding member of the Claremont Colleges. Scripps College, founded in 1926, is also a smaller liberal arts college although it is women only and it offers majors in the humanities as well as sciences. Claremont McKenny College, home to the well-known Robert Day School of Economics and Finance, was founded in 1946 and is also a small, coeducational, liberal arts school focusing on economics, international relations, public policy, political science as well as natural sciences and humanities. As a college specializing in engineering, mathematics, computer science and the physical and biological studies, Harvey Mudd College was founded in 1955 with a mission to educate scientists, engineers and mathematicians. Pitzer College, the last of the 5 undergraduate colleges, is also another small liberal arts college, but it offers an alternative curriculum of behavioral sciences, international programs, media studies and social sciences. The Claremont Colleges also offer 2 graduate programs through the Claremont Graduate University (founded in 1925) and the Keck Graduate Institute of Applied Life Sciences.
24255 Pacific Coast Hwy
Malibu, CA 90263
Located in Malibu along a picturesque stretch of the Pacific Coast Highway, Pepperdine University at first seems like an unlikely spot for a university. Situated near Malibu’s famed area of multi-million dollar celebrity hideaways, and sitting atop a large hill on 830 acres, Pepperdine University is a private institution with top academics, particularly in the fields of law and business administration. Ranked as a more selective national university by the U.S. News and World Report lists, Pepperdine was founded in 1937 against the backdrop of the great depression. It originally sat in South Central L.A. but moved to Malibu in the 1960’s due to crime and urban decay. Today, the university sits on the top of many students lists of where to go for both undergraduate and graduate studies.