West Coast Conference

Learn About the 10 Colleges in the West Coast Conference

The West Coast Conference is an NCAA Division I athletic conference with members coming from California, Oregon and Washington.  The conference headquarters are located in San Bruno, California. All members have religious affiliations, seven of them Catholic. The West Coast Conference has a stronger academic profile than the majority of Division I athletic conferences. The WCC sponsors 13 sports (not football).

Brigham Young University, Provo, Utah
Brigham Young University, Provo, Utah. Ken Lund / Flickr

Owned by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Brigham Young University is the largest religious university and the second largest private university in the United States.

  • Location: Provo, Utah
  • School type: Private, Latter-Day Saints
  • Enrollment: 30,484 (27,163 undergraduates)
  • Team: Cougars
  • For admissions and financial data, see the Brigham Young University profile.
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Gonzaga University—Foley Center Library
Gonzaga University—Foley Center Library. SCUMATT / Wikimedia Commons

Gonzaga University, named after 16th-century Italian Jesuit saint Aloysius Gonzaga, sits on the banks of the Spokane River. Like most Catholic universities, Gonzaga's educational philosophy focuses on the whole person -- mind, body and spirit. The university ranks highly among master's institutions in the West, and the school made my list of top Catholic colleges and top Washington colleges.

  • Location: Spokane, Washington
  • School type: Private Catholic university
  • Enrollment: 7,352 (4,837 undergraduates)
  • Team: Bulldongs
  • For acceptance rate, test scores, costs and other information, see the Gonzaga University admissions profile.
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Hannon-Library-Loyola-Marymount.jpg
Hannon Library at Loyola Marymount. Photo Credit: Marisa Benjamin

Located on a beautiful 150 acre campus, Loyola Marymount University (LMU) is the largest Catholic university on the West Coast. The average undergraduate class size is 18, and the school boasts a 13 to 1 student / faculty ratio. Undergraduate student life is active at Loyola Marymount with 144 clubs and organizations and 15 national Greek fraternities and sororities. Loyola Marymount made my list of top Catholic colleges.

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Center for Communication and Business at Pepperdine University
Center for Communication and Business at Pepperdine University. Matt McGee / Flickr

Pepperdine University's 830-acre campus overlooks the Pacific Ocean. The university is made up of five different schools with the majority of undergraduate programs housed in the Seaver College of Letters, Arts and Sciences. Business Administration is by far the most popular undergraduate major, and programs relating to communications and the media are also popular. Pepperdine made my list of top California colleges.

  • Location: Malibu, California
  • School type: Private university affiliated with Churches of Christ
  • Enrollment: 7,417 (3,451 undergraduates)
  • Team: Waves
  • For acceptance rate, test scores, costs and other information, see the Pepperdine University admissions profile.
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Romanaggi Hall at the University of Portland
Romanaggi Hall at the University of Portland. Visitor7 / Wikimedia Commons

The University of Portland is committed to teaching, faith and service. The school frequently ranks well among the best western master's universities, and it also earns high marks for its value. The school has a 13 to 1 student / faculty ratio, and among undergraduates nursing, engineering and business fields are all popular. The engineering programs frequently place well in national rankings. The University of Portland made my list of top Catholic colleges.

  • Location: Portland, Oregon
  • School type: Private Catholic university
  • Enrollment: 4,143 (3,674 undergraduates)
  • Team: Pilots
  • For acceptance rate, test scores, costs and other information, see the University of Portland admissions profile.
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A statue at Saint Mary's College of California
A statue at Saint Mary's College of California. Franco Folini / Flickr

Saint Mary's College of California is located about 20 miles east of San Francisco. The college has an 11 to 1 student / faculty ratio and an average class size of 20. Students can choose from 38 majors, and among undergraduates business is the most popular program. One of the defining features of the Saint Mary's curriculum is the Collegiate Seminar, a series of four courses that focus on the major works of Western civilization. All students, including those in pre-professional fields, take these seminars -- two in the first year, and two more before graduation. 

  • Location: Moraga, California
  • School type: Private Catholic liberal arts college
  • Enrollment: 4,112 (2,961 undergraduates)
  • Team: Gaels
  • For acceptance rate, test scores, costs and other information, see the Saint Mary's College admissions profile.
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University of San Diego
University of San Diego. john farrell macdonald / Flickr

The University of San Diego has a stunning 180-acre campus defined by its Spanish Renaissance architecture style and views of Mission Bay and the Pacific Ocean. Beaches, mountains, desert and Mexico are all within an easy drive. The University of San Diego was awarded a chapter of Phi Beta Kappa for its strengths in the liberal arts and sciences. 

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University of San Francisco
University of San Francisco. Michael Fraley / Flickr

Located right in the heart of San Francisco, the university of San Francisco takes pride in its Jesuit tradition and emphasizes service learning, global awareness, diversity and environmental sustainability. USF offers students numerous international opportunities including 50 study abroad programs in 30 countries. The university has an average class size of 28 and a 15 to 1 student / faculty ratio. The sciences, social sciences and business fields are extremely popular among undergraduates. 

  • Location: San Francisco, California
  • School type: Private Catholic university
  • Enrollment: 10,689 (6,845 undergraduates)
  • Team: Dons
  • For acceptance rate, test scores, costs and other information, see the University of San Francisco admissions profile.
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Santa Clara University
Santa Clara University. Omar A. / Flickr

Santa Clara University frequently ranks among the best master's universities in the country, and the school made my list of top Catholic colleges. This Jesuit, Catholic university has impressive retention and graduation rates. The university also wins high marks for its community service programs, alumni salaries, and sustainability efforts. Programs in business are the most popular among undergraduates, and the Leavey School of Business ranks highly among the nation's undergraduate B-schools. 

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Morris Chapel at the University of the Pacific in Stockton, California
Morris Chapel at the University of the Pacific in Stockton, California. Buyenlarge / Getty Images

The University of the Pacific's attractive 175-acre campus is an easy drive to San Francisco, Sacramento, Yosemite, and Lake Tahoe. The most popular undergraduate majors are in business and biology, but education and the health sciences are also strong. The University of the Pacific was awarded a chapter of the prestigious Phi Beta Kappa honor society for its accomplisments in the liberal arts and sciences. The university offers an unusual breadth of disciplines for a school its size. Pacific also has a School of Law in Sacramento and a School of Dentistry in San Fransisco.

  • Location: Stockton, California
  • School type: Private university
  • Enrollment: 6,304 (3,810 undergraduates)
  • Team: Tigers
  • For acceptance rate, test scores, costs and other information, see the University of the Pacific admission profile.
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