Governed by the Catholic church, Catholic colleges are private institutions that generally admit any student regardless of religious affiliation. These selective institutions offer smaller classes and individualized attention along with opportunities to attend daily mass. Thirteen of the 246 private Catholic institutions of higher education in the United States are Catholic schools in California.

Learning Through Service at Dominican University

Located in San Rafael, the Dominican University of California offers a wide variety of undergraduate and graduate programs. Service learning is a mainstay of this institution, with 29 designated service classes and more than 8,645 “learning through service” hours logged each year.

A Diverse Community at Holy Names University

One of the smaller Catholic colleges in California, Holy Names University has a total enrollment of 961 students and is located in Oakland. This college offers a specialized scholarship program that provides talent-based funding for nearly 100 percent of its undergraduate students. Diversity is a value of Holy Names University as evidenced by a campus community that is 80 percent students of color.

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Loyola Marymount University Is Top Ranked

In 2019, the Wall Street Journal named Loyola Marymount University in the top 15 percent of all institutions nationally. Enrolling 9,695 students, Loyola Marymount is located in Los Angeles and offers undergraduate, graduate and doctoral programs.

Marymount Is a Picturesque Campus

Around 1,000 students enjoy ocean views while going to class at Marymount College. Unlike other Catholic colleges in California, Hollywood gravitates to this campus for television, film and commercial shoots.

Located in Palos Verdes, students have their pick of nine undergraduate programs or a Masters of Business Administration. The Marymount Master’s Pathway program paves the way for students to earn an undergraduate and graduate degree in five years.

Learn About Social Justice at Notre Dame de Namur

Notre Dame de Namur University was founded in 1868 by the sisters of Notre Dame de Namur as a school for women. The third-oldest institution in California, it’s nationally known for an exemplary art therapy graduate program. Almost 1,500 undergraduate and graduate students learn about social justice through a community-based learning curriculum at Notre Dame de Namur University.

Saint Mary’s College Is Highly Ranked

Saint Mary’s College is one of the Catholic colleges in California that’s located near San Francisco in Moraga. With just over 3,700 students, this institution offers 43 undergraduate and seven graduate program. Students can also pursue a doctorate in educational leadership. In 2018, U.S. News & World Report ranked St. Mary’s College as one of the top 10 Western regional universities.

Success Is Evident at Santa Clara University

Earning first place honors by U.S. News & World Report, Santa Clara University is nestled in the middle of the Silicon Valley. Founded in 1851, Santa Clara has an undergraduate enrollment of 5,520 students. Other notable achievements include a 95 percent retention rate of returning first-year students and a ranking as the fifth-best Catholic university in the United States.

Pursue One Degree at Thomas Aquinas College

Founded in the late 1960s, Thomas Aquinas College offers a B.A. in liberal arts. Uniquely organized to offer just one program, students take the same classes throughout their college career. Thomas Aquinas College is located in Santa Paula, California and is building a second campus in Northfield, Massachusetts.

Service Is important at USD

Beaches and mountains are close to the University of San Diego. Just over 9,000 students study at this private, Catholic institution and can choose from 42 bachelor’s programs, 30 master’s program, three doctorates or a law degree. The University of San Diego is among other Catholic schools in California that embrace service learning. The Carnegie Foundation has recognized this college as a community engagement institution.

USF Is a Diverse Campus

Almost 11,000 students go to school at the University of San Francisco. Founded in 1855, this Catholic university has five schools, including arts and sciences, management, education, nursing and law. In 2018, the Chronicle Of Higher Education ranked the University of San Francisco third for student diversity.

About the Author

Dr. Kelly Meier earned her doctorate from Minnesota State Mankato in Educational Leadership. She is the author and co-author of 12 books and serves as a consultant in K-12 and higher education. Dr. Meier is is a regular contributor for The Equity Network and has worked in education for more than 30 years.