Top Undergraduate Business Schools in California [2023]

2022-2023 Business Colleges of Distinction

Published: September 1, 2022

By: Colleges of Distinction Staff

Jump to: Cal Poly Humboldt | California Polytechnic State University | California State University, Fullerton
California State University, Long Beach | Chapman University | Loyola Marymount University
San Francisco State University | San José State University | Santa Clara University | University of California, Irvine
University of Redlands | University of Saint Katherine | Woodbury University | Frequently Asked Questions

Every school on this list has already gotten our stamp of approval for the way they enrich every students’ education through the Four Distinctions. And with the addition of the business badge, you can be sure that these institutions offer hands-on business programs that produce experienced, responsible leaders for the booming corporate world.

We have thoroughly researched the business programs at these California Colleges of Distinction and verified that they exhibit all of the following characteristics:

  • Multidisciplinary exposure across all aspects of business
  • Real-world experience through internships and other forms of engagement with actual firms
  • Industry connections that help students build their network and access to professional growth
  • Business ethics that emphasize how a firm’s obligations extend beyond its shareholders
  • Collaborative learning, in both business and general education courses, that stress the nuances of an efficient team
  • Dedicated advisors and counselors who have a clear understanding of students’ academic and post-graduate milestones

Student success is the primary focus of our Colleges of Distinction, and these business degree-granting CoDs are no exception. With different types of business degrees to help students pursue their desired industry, the 2022-2023 California Business Colleges of Distinction provide a stable foundation for entrepreneurial minds.


cal poly humboldt logo

Cal Poly Humboldt

Arcata, CA ‧ Public ‧ 4-year

Cal Poly Humboldt students enjoy an extraordinary college experience, taking small classes taught by professors who know them by name as they live and learn in one of the world’s most beautiful places—near ancient redwood forests, mountains, and beaches. Cal Poly Humboldt is located 275 miles north of San Francisco in the town of Arcata, which is recognized as one of the West’s best college towns.

Acceptance rate 85%      •      Net price $15,015      •      SAT Range 970-1190      •      Students submitting SAT scores 91%
Total Undergrad Population 6,008      •      Setting Town      •      Public 4-year
Graduation rate (6 year) 49%      •      Retention rate 73%      •      Student-to-faculty ratio 17:1
Total undergrad business degrees granted last year 143

Business Majors Offered

Business Administration, Management and Operations


California Polytechnic State University  logo

California Polytechnic State University

San Luis Obispo, CA ‧ Public ‧ 4-year

Cal Poly’s Guiding Philosophy, “Learn by Doing,” pushes students to take responsibility over their individual academic journeys. Thanks to California Polytechnic State University’s rigorous, success-oriented academic environment, the University ensures that students are actively involved in unique educational experiences.

INTERNSHIPS
Students are highly encouraged to complete an internship before they take on the postgraduate world. Not only do interns gain hands-on experience, but they also learn the ins and out of the field they have chosen to pursue. Often times, industry professionals serve as their mentors, giving them insider information that is sure to be valuable in the future.

Acceptance rate 38%      •      Net price $20,491      •      SAT Range 1220-1410      •      Students submitting SAT scores 80%
Total Undergrad Population 21,456      •      Setting Suburb      •      Public 4-year
Graduation rate (6 year) 83%      •      Retention rate 94%      •      Student-to-faculty ratio 21:1
Total undergrad business degrees granted last year 748

Business Majors Offered

Business Administration, Management and Operations
Construction Management


California State University, Fullerton logo, Titans, CSU

California State University, Fullerton

Fullerton, CA ‧ Public ‧ 4-year

As part of the world-class California State University system, Cal State Fullerton prepares its diverse student body for success in a global society. Its mission to provide high-impact immersive learning ensures personal, fulfilling experiences for every student. Located in Orange County, CSUF is near Los Angeles, Disneyland, Universal Studios, and the beautiful California coastline.

Mihaylo College of Business and Economics (MCBE) Housing: Pre-business students can join the MCBE community to build their network and develop professional skills from the very first day they step on campus. Career-focused workshops are continually hosted for future business professionals to learn more about how they wish to lead and thrive in the competitive marketplace.

Acceptance rate 68%      •      Net price $8,322      •      SAT Range 1000-1180      •      Students submitting SAT scores 97%
Total Undergrad Population 36,975      •      Setting Suburb      •      Public 4-year
Graduation rate (6 year) 69%      •      Retention rate 89%      •      Student-to-faculty ratio 27:1
Total undergrad business degrees granted last year 2,368

Business Majors Offered

Business Administration, Management and Operations
International Business


California State University, Long Beach

Long Beach, CA ‧ Public ‧ 4-year

California State University, Long Beach is dedicated to providing a high-quality education founded on the principles of superior teaching, research, and service for the people of California and the world. Motivated by the values of diversity, integrity, and service, CSU Long Beach strives to make its world-class education accessible and inclusive. The university looks to change lives by expanding educational opportunities, fostering creativity, and preparing future leaders.

CSU Long Beach is proud of the tight-knit community it has cultivated over the years. With a population of 37,000—and even its own zip code!—the 323-acre campus beckons those who are ready to learn, explore, and succeed. CSU Long Beach boasts a beautiful campus with state-of-the-art research facilities, performing arts centers, and the Earl Burns Miller Japanese Garden. Students and members of the surrounding community are encouraged to experience all of the beauty and inspiration the campus has to offer.

Acceptance rate 42%      •      Net price $10,568      •      SAT Range 1020-1240      •      Students submitting SAT scores 95%
Total Undergrad Population 34,216      •      Setting City: Large      •      Public 4-year
Graduation rate (6 year) 73%      •      Retention rate 89%      •      Student-to-faculty ratio 24:1
Total undergrad business degrees granted last year 1,463

Business Majors Offered

Business Administration, Management and Operations
Business/Managerial Economics
Hospitality Administration/Management


Chapman University logo

Chapman University

Orange, CA ‧ Public ‧ 4-year

Chapman University offers the best of both worlds: a classic liberal arts foundation and pre-professional programs of distinction with strong ties to their industries. The university is known for providing a uniquely personalized education and extraordinary learning experiences that begin right at the first day a student arrives on campus.

ORANGE COUNTY OPPORTUNITIES
Orange County is America’s sixth-largest county with more than 3 million people. Chapman’s location provides students with valuable connections for internships and job opportunities. Many of America’s largest corporations such as Allergan, Disney, Ford Motor Co., and Blizzard Entertainment call Orange County their home or U.S. headquarters. Furthermore, most of the Fortune 500 companies also have an Orange County office, providing ample opportunities for students seeking internships or employment.

Acceptance rate 58%      •      Net price $44,327      •      SAT Range 1170-1350      •      Students submitting SAT scores 68%
Total Undergrad Population 7,404      •      Setting City: Midsize      •      Private 4-year
Graduation rate (6 year) 80%      •      Retention rate 85%      •      Student-to-faculty ratio 12:1
Total undergrad business degrees granted last year 664

Business Majors Offered

Business Administration, Management and Operations
Accounting and Related Services
Business/Corporate Communications
Business/Managerial Economics
Human Resources Management and Services


Loyola Marymount University logo

Loyola Marymount University

Los Angeles, CA ‧ Catholic ‧ 4-year

Loyola Marymount University is rooted in its Roman Catholic tradition—a relationship that is directly connected to the school’s personal and academic goals and success. LMU promotes both the intellectual and personal growth of each student. The University’s commitment to Catholicism drives a socially conscious mindset and students are taught to become contributing members of the global community.

LIVING LEARNING COMMUNITIES
Living Learning Communities synthesize academics and residence life into one shared experience. Students that participate in an LLC enjoy academic support from their peers, as well as frequent interaction with faculty. LLCs bring together students that share similar interests and areas of study. Included here is The Global City: The Global City is the newest living learning community at LMU. Members of The Global City must take a community related seminar, of which there are two options: A Critical Approach to Globalization or Islam and the Building of America. Faculty from both sections collaborate and connect students through themes and ideas.

Acceptance rate 50%      •      Net price $48,758      •      SAT Range 1210-1390      •      Students submitting SAT scores 65%
Total Undergrad Population 6,673      •      Setting City: Large      •      Private 4-year
Graduation rate (6 year) 83%      •      Retention rate 83%      •      Student-to-faculty ratio 10:1
Total undergrad business degrees granted last year 430

Business Majors Offered

Business/Commerce General
Business Administration, Management and Operations
Accounting and Related Services
Entrepreneurial and Small Business Operations
Finance and Financial Management Services
Management Sciences and Quantitative Methods
Marketing


San Francisco State University

San Francisco, CA ‧ Public ‧ 4-year

San Francisco State University, part of the California State University system is a public institution in northern California. Over 23,000 undergraduates explore opportunities inside and outside of the classroom.

Acceptance rate 84%      •      Net price $14,757      •      SAT Range 930-1130      •      Students submitting SAT scores 89%
Total Undergrad Population 24,024      •      Setting City: Large      •      Public 4-year
Graduation rate (6 year) 55%      •      Retention rate 82%      •      Student-to-faculty ratio 22:1
Total undergrad business degrees granted last year 1,530

Business Majors Offered

Business Administration, Management and Operations
Hospitality Administration/Management
Human Resources Management and Services


san jose state university logo

San José State University

San José, CA ‧ Public ‧ 4-year

SJSU graduates business majors who understand the ins and outs of business with the ability to reason critically and articulate persuasive ideas. Students naturally grow to embrace change with a sense of adaptability, teamwork, and an understanding of global business and commerce.

Acceptance rate 67%      •      Net price $15,995      •      SAT Range 1010-1240      •      Students submitting SAT scores 93%
Total Undergrad Population 27,701      •      Setting City: Large      •      Public 4-year
Graduation rate (6 year) 66%      •      Retention rate 86%      •      Student-to-faculty ratio 25:1
Total undergrad business degrees granted last year 1,617

Business Majors Offered

Business Administration, Management and Operations
Hospitality Administration/Management
Human Resources Management and Services


Santa Clara University logo

Santa Clara University

Santa Clara, CA ‧ Catholic ‧ 4-year

Santa Clara University, a comprehensive Jesuit, Catholic university, offers its students rigorous undergraduate curricula in arts and sciences, business, and engineering as well as engineering Ph.D.s and master’s and law degrees. Distinguished nationally by one of the highest graduation rates among all U.S. master’s universities, SCU strives to educate citizens and leaders who will build a more just, humane, and sustainable world.

INTERNSHIPS & FELLOWSHIPS
Over 70% of SCU students engage in at least one internship before they graduate. These work or volunteer experiences engage students in the process of exploring career goals and fields of interests. SCU also offers undergraduate students several paid fellowships that involve local and international projects justice, ethics, and technology.

Acceptance rate 51%      •      Net price $48,284      •      SAT Range 1270-1450      •      Students submitting SAT scores 68%
Total Undergrad Population 5,608      •      Setting City: Midsize      •      Private 4-year
Graduation rate (6 year) 92%      •      Retention rate 93%      •      Student-to-faculty ratio 11:1
Total undergrad business degrees granted last year 400

Business Majors Offered

Business/Commerce General
Accounting and Related Services
Business/Managerial Economics
Finance and Financial Management Services
Human Resources Management and Services
Management Information Systems and Services
Marketing


University of California, Irvine

Irvine, CA ‧ Public ‧ 4-year

University of California, Irvine is home to 29,000 undergraduate students. With over 85 bachelor’s degrees offered UCI students have many academic options.

The Paul Merage School of Business equips students with strong tools for effective business management that can be applied in countless fields. Its team-based program helps students understand the importance of collaboration in the context of the increasingly globalized market. The Merage School develops competitive leaders in a diverse, collaborative, student-centric community where academic excellence and practical application coalesce.

Acceptance rate 30%      •      Net price $13,106      •      SAT Range 1230-1430      •      Students submitting SAT scores 91%
Total Undergrad Population 29,638      •      Setting City: Large      •      Public 4-year
Graduation rate (6 year) 85%      •      Retention rate 94%      •      Student-to-faculty ratio 18:1
Total undergrad business degrees granted last year 1,045

Business Majors Offered

Business Administration, Management and Operations
Business/Managerial Economics
Management Information Systems and Services


university of redlands logo

University of Redlands

Redlands, CA ‧ Private ‧ 4-year

A private liberal arts and sciences institution in the heart of Southern California, University of Redlands is committed to educating the hearts and minds of its students through an emphasis on personalized education, service, and experiential learning.

University of Redlands’ main residential campus sits on 160 green acres centrally located near the beaches, mountains, and desert. Part of a diverse and active student body from California and around the world, Redlands students are engaged in the world around them.

POSTGRADUATE EMPLOYMENT
In a recent poll, more than 90 percent of Redlands graduates were satisfied with their overall undergraduate experience, and more than 90 percent were employed or pursuing an advanced degree one year after graduation. Employers include Apple, Google, Esri, Deloitte, Tesla, Disney, Microsoft, NPR, and many others.

Acceptance rate 69%      •      Net price $30,240      •      SAT Range 1030-1250      •      Students submitting SAT scores 78%
Total Undergrad Population 2,842      •      Setting City: Small      •      Private 4-year
Graduation rate (6 year) 71%      •      Retention rate 75%      •      Student-to-faculty ratio 12:1
Total undergrad business degrees granted last year 243

Business Majors Offered

Business/Commerce General
Business Administration, Management and Operations
Accounting and Related Services
Business/Managerial Economics
International Business


University of Saint Katherine seal

University of Saint Katherine

San Marcos, CA ‧ Private ‧ 4-year

Saint Katherine is an independent, coeducational university of arts and sciences that emphasizes an interdisciplinary approach to Composition, English Language and Literature, American Government, History, Economics, Business, and the Sciences. Students can complete BA/BS programs in eleven concentrations.

BUSINESS MANAGEMENT
Saint Katherine’s strong interdisciplinary core gives students a competitive edge in the business world. Faculty who work in the field they’re teaching about offer fresh, real-world perspectives to the curriculum. The business management program prepares future leaders for the workforce by developing communication skills to present clear and direct solutions to corporate problems; critical thinking; and analytical abilities to quickly and correctly interpret key business metrics.

Acceptance rate 64%      •      Net price $24,661      •      SAT Range 1000-1110      •      Students submitting SAT scores 75%
Total Undergrad Population 238      •      Setting Suburb      •      Private 4-year
Retention rate 78%      •      Student-to-faculty ratio 14:1
Total undergrad business degrees granted last year 23

Business Majors Offered

Business Administration, Management and Operations


Woodbury University

Burbank, CA ‧ Private ‧ 4-year

Woodbury University’s programs transform students into innovative professionals who also learn the value of social responsibility as both local and global citizens. Academic excellence is achieved by its purposeful student engagement, external partnerships, and enriched, active student experiences. Students who choose Woodbury reflect the cultural diversity of Southern California and, through the university’s transformative educational programs, are empowered to put their talents to work and do extraordinary things.

PROBLEM- AND PROJECT-BASED LEARNING
At Woodbury University, the student experience is at the center of learning. Problem- and project-based learning strategies are integrated throughout Woodbury University’s curriculum, often in community settings where individual and collaborative contributions make a significant difference. Business students, for example, work with corporate partners to help with marketing strategy and management.

Acceptance rate 70%      •      Net price $32,591
Total Undergrad Population 1,020      •      Setting City: Large      •      Private 4-year
Graduation rate (6 year) 60%      •      Retention rate 72%      •      Student-to-faculty ratio 10:1
Total undergrad business degrees granted last year 63

Business Majors Offered

Business Administration, Management and Operations
Accounting and Related Services
Marketing
Specialized Sales Merchandising and Marketing Operations


What it’s like to attend business schools in California and other FAQ:

What are average tuition costs in California?

The average undergraduate tuition & fees for colleges in California is $8,200 for in-state students at public institutions, $32,200 for out-of-state students at public institutions, and $37,000 for students at private institutions.

What are average salaries for business majors in California?

The average salary for business graduates in entry-level positions is $43,000, with top earners earning around $59,500 annually.

Most popular business degree programs in California

Business Administration, Management and Operations – 25,925 degrees awarded in 2020
Business/Managerial Economics – 1,363
Accounting and Related Services – 1,221
Finance and Financial Management Services – 1,010
Marketing – 1,010

Cheapest business degree program in California

California State University, Fullerton has an average net price of $8,322 making it the least expensive business degree program in California that made our list.

Easiest business degree program to get into in California

Cal Poly Humboldt has an acceptance rate of 85%, with an SAT range of 970-1190, making it the least exclusive college with a business program on our list.

Business degree program with lowest student debt in California

California State University, Fullerton has a median total debt after graduation of $14,000. This is the typical debt for a student who completed their undergraduate degree.

See The Top Business Colleges of Distinction of 2022-2023

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