Los Angeles Area 4-Year Colleges and Universities

Learn About the Colleges and Universities In and Around Los Angeles

The greater Los Angeles area is home to some of the best colleges and universities in the country. California's system of public universities is particularly strong, and the Los Angeles area is home to several excellent choices in both the University of California and the California State University systems. For this article, I included four-year non-profit colleges and universities that were within a 20-mile radius of downtown Los Angeles.

Note that 30 miles from LA, the Claremont Colleges offer many more excellent options. You can also explore my complete list of California colleges.

Some small and highly specialized schools are not included in this article, nor are schools that do not admit new first-year undergraduate students.

01
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Art Center College of Design

The Art Center College of Design
The Art Center College of Design. seier+seier / Flickr
  • Location: Pasadena, California
  • Distance from Downtown Los Angeles: 10 miles
  • School Type: private art school
  • Distinguishing Features: two architecturally noteworthy campuses; highly regarded industrial design programs; opportunities for the community through the Art Center at Night and Art Center for Kids
  • Learn More: Art Center College of Design Profile
02
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Biola University

Biola University
Biola University. Alan / Flickr
  • Location: La Mirada, California
  • Distance from Downtown Los Angeles: 16 miles
  • School Type: private Christian university
  • Distinguishing Features: 145 academic programs; active student life with over 50 clubs and organizations; award-winning speaking and debate teams; 17 to 1 student/faculty ratio; NAIA intercollegiate sports programs
  • Learn More: Biola University Profile 
03
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California Institute of Technology (Caltech)

Beckman Institute at Caltech
Beckman Institute at Caltech. smerikal / Flickr
04
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California State University Dominguez Hills

CSU-Dominguez-Hills-Introduction.jpg
Cal State Dominguez Hills. Photo Credit: Marisa Benjamin
05
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California State University Long Beach

Walter Pyramid at CSULB
Walter Pyramid at CSULB. Photo Credit: Marisa Benjamin
06
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California State University Los Angeles

California State University Los Angeles
California State University Los Angeles. Justefrain / Wikimedia Commons
07
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California State University Northridge

Cal State Northridge
Cal State Northridge. Peter & Joyce Grace / Flickr
08
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Loyola Marymount University

Sacred-Heart-Chapel-Loyola-Marymount.jpg
Sacred Heart Chapel at Loyola Marymount. Photo Credit: Marisa Benjamin
09
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Mount St. Mary's College

Mary Chapel at MSMC
Mary Chapel at MSMC. MSMC Public Relations Office / Wikimedia Commons
  • Location: Los Angeles, California
  • Distance from Downtown Los Angeles: 14 miles
  • School Type: private Catholic liberal arts college
  • Distinguishing Features: 12 to 1 student/faculty ratio; largely female student population; 56-acre campus in the foothills of the Santa Monica Mountains; popular programs in nursing, business, and sociology
  • Learn More: Mount St. Mary's College Profile
10
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Occidental College

Occidental College Student Center
Occidental College Student Center. Geographer / Wikimedia Commons
11
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Otis College of Art and Design

Otis College of Art and Design
Otis College of Art and Design. Maberry / Wikipedia
  • Location: Los Angeles, California
  • Distance from Downtown Los Angeles: 10 miles
  • School Type: private art school
  • Distinguishing Features: impressive 7 to 1 student / faculty ratio and small classes; first professional art school in Southern California; unusual programs such as toy design; students can pursue interdisciplinary interests
  • Learn More: Otis College of Art and Design Profile
12
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UCLA

UCLA Powell Library
UCLA Powell Library. Photo Credit: Marisa Benjamin
13
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University of Southern California

USC Doheny Memorial Library
USC Doheny Memorial Library. Photo Credit: Marisa Benjamin
14
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Wittier College

Whittier College
Whittier College. LesterSpence / Flickr
  • Location: Whitter, California
  • Distance from Downtown Los Angeles: 13 miles
  • School Type: private liberal arts college
  • Distinguishing Features: 13 to 1 student / faculty ratio; students from 40 states and 25 countries; active student life with over 60 clubs and organizations; NCAA Division III athletic programs
  • Learn More: Whittier College Profile 
15
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Woodbury University

Woodbury University
Woodbury University. Dizzyprizzy / Wikipedia
  • Location: Burbank, California
  • Distance from Downtown Los Angeles: 11 miles
  • School Type: small private university
  • Distinguishing Features: scenic campus in the heart of the entertainment industry facilities; strong programs in design and business; 10 to 1 student / faculty ratio; active Greek life
  • Learn More: Woodbury University Profile