The 29 Best Christian Colleges in California for 2024


The editors at Lord’s Library have compiled this list of the best Christian colleges in California to save you the search.

Searching for the best Christian colleges in California can involve a fair bit of research with a number of options across the state. According to Pew Research Center’s 2014 Religious Landscape Study, the religious composition of Christian adults in the state is 63 percent. California’s Christian higher learning landscape includes colleges and universities with varying degrees of religious study, as well as dedicated Bible colleges for a scripture-first approach.

Choosing the institution that is right for you will largely depend on your spiritual and educational goals. It’s with this in mind that our editors assembled this list of the best Christian colleges in California to consider. Each entry includes the school’s location and a brief “From the institution” description to give you a high-level overview of the college and save you time. Simply click the college name or logo to go direct to the institution’s website if you want to learn more.

Note: The best Christian colleges in California are ranked in alphabetical order.

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The Best Christian Colleges in California

Azusa Pacific UniversityAzusa Pacific University

Location: Whitter, CA

From the institution: “Azusa Pacific University is a comprehensive Christian university located 26 miles northeast of Los Angeles, California, that offers more than 150 degree options from bachelor’s to doctorate. A leader in the Council for Christian Colleges & Universities, APU is committed to excellence in higher education. Offering bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral programs on campus, online, and at seven regional locations across Southern California, APU continues to be recognized annually as one of America’s Best Colleges by U.S. News & World Report.”

Biola UniversityBiola University

Location: La Mirada, CA

From the institution: “Biola University is a nationally ranked Christian university in the heart of Southern California. Founded in 1908, Biola offers biblically centered education, intentional spiritual development and vocational preparation within a unique learning community where all faculty, staff and students are professing Christians. Biola’s nine schools offer more than 150 academic programs at the bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral levels, enrolling more than 6,000 students at the La Mirada campus, online and in distance programs throughout the world.”

California Baptist UniversityCalifornia Baptist University

Location: Riverside, CA

From the institution: “California Baptist University (CBU) is one of the top private Christian colleges and universities in Southern California. CBU offers bachelor’s, master’s and credential programs in Riverside, San Bernardino and online. California Baptist University believes each person has been created for a purpose. CBU strives to help students understand and engage this purpose by providing a Christ-centered educational experience that integrates academics with spiritual and social development opportunities. Graduates are challenged to become individuals whose skills, integrity and sense of purpose glorify God and distinguish them in the workplace and in the world.”

California Christian CollegeCalifornia Christian College

Location: Fresno, CA

From the institution: “The constituency and ownership of California Christian College, the California State Association of Free Will Baptists, and CCC alumni have clearly articulated their desire for CCC to establish Christian ministry programs for the purpose of developing capable Christian leaders to serve Christ both in the Church and in society. The college seeks Christian students who are serious about Christian education, doing the will of God, and preparing for church-related ministries, either on the lay or professional level.”

California Lutheran UniversityCalifornia Lutheran University

Location: Thousand Oaks, CA

From the institution: “California Lutheran University embodies a vital and long-standing educational tradition. As part of that 500-year-old Lutheran tradition, we believe that understanding our purpose as individuals will help us make our best possible contribution to the world. We encourage students to follow their own passion to uncover their purpose. This prepares them for a life of success in which they always offer their very best to others—family, community, and the world. This happens as part of a diverse, open-minded, and challenging academic environment.”

Chapman UniversityChapman University

Location: Orange, CA

From the institution: “We are related to two churches: for 150 years throughout the formation of the academic institution, we have been connected with The Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), and since 2011, also with The United Church of Christ. These particular churches give us a proud religious heritage, and value the dignity of all people and all religions.”

Community Christian CollegeCommunity Christian College

Location: Redlands, CA

From the institution: “For the past 25 years, Community Christian College has been serving students and their parents by offering an affordable associate degree presented in a safe Christian worldview environment.  Our liberal arts associate degree program provides you with most, if not all, of the lower-division courses needed for the bachelor’s degree.”

Concordia University IrvineConcordia University Irvine

Location: Irvine, CA

From the institution: Concordia University Irvine, guided by the Great Commission of Christ Jesus and the Lutheran Confessions, empowers students through the liberal arts and professional studies for lives of learning, service and leadership. Concordia University Irvine prepares students for their vocations—their various callings in life. CUI offers undergraduate, graduate, and online bachelor’s degrees in a beautiful Southern California location, with online and regional cohort options. Concordia’s undergraduate program is distinctive among universities in California because of its nationally recognized Enduring Questions & Ideas (Q&I) Core program, and its Lutheran heritage that provides a thoughtful and caring Christian community that lives out the theology of “Grace Alone. Faith Alone.”

Emmanuel UniversityEmmanuel University

Location: Los Angeles, CA

From the institution: “At Emmanuel University, it is our mission to be a biblically centered institution of higher learning that is committed to the advancement of spiritual, intellectual, personal and professional growth of its students. The university extends the knowledge and truth of the Bible to all of its educational and spiritual programs and activities so that our students will benefit from the highest standard of scholarship.”

Epic Bible CollegeEpic Bible College and Grad School

Location: Sacramento, CA

From the institution: “Here at Epic Bible College, we make every effort to follow the same model as we partner with the Church to train lives and build character. After all, students aren’t seeking a piece of paper, they are seeking a relationship with God. That’s the Epic difference. It’s personal. Life-changing. Barrier free.”

Fresno Pacific UniversityFresno Pacific

Location: Fresno, CA

From the institution: “Fresno Pacific University is the Valley’s only accredited Christian university, connecting every student’s untapped potential with unlimited opportunity for professional, personal and ethical growth. Nonprofit and independent, FPU offers more than 100 areas of study to about 4,000 traditional undergraduate, adult degree completion, graduate and seminary students at the main campus in Southeast Fresno and throughout the Valley at regional campuses in North Fresno, Visalia, Bakersfield and Merced as well as online.”

Holy Names UniversityHoly Names University

Location: Oakland, CA

From the institution: “Holy Names University, founded by the Sisters of the Holy Names of Jesus and Mary (SNJM), is rooted in Catholic intellectual and spiritual traditions. A rigorous and inclusive intellectual community, HNU is committed to continuous improvement and provides professional and liberal arts undergraduate and graduate degree programs. The University empowers a diverse student body to think critically and imaginatively, to understand and employ the various modes of knowledge, to communicate clearly and persuasively, to pursue leadership opportunities, and to promote the common good.”

Horizon UniversityHorizon University

Location: Diamond Bar, CA

From the institution: “Horizon University is an evangelic Christian institution that offers undergraduate and graduate degree programs. Its mission is to educate the next generation of strong Christian leaders who will selflessly serve their Church, communities, and beyond with their diverse skills and vital knowledge gained during their studies at HU.”

Hope International UniversityHope International University

Location: Fullerton, CA

From the institution: “Hope International University is a private Christian university founded in 1928. HIU’s mission is to empower students through Christian higher education to serve the Church and impact the world for Christ. HIU is regionally accredited and offers bachelor’s degrees, master’s degrees, certificate programs, and credential programs to more than 2,000 students world-wide. As a Christ-centered private university in California, Hope is committed to the integration of faith, service and learning.”

Life Pacific UniversityLife Pacific University

Location: San Dimas, CA

From the institution: “Life Pacific University is a WSCUC and ABHE accredited institution of biblical higher education existing for the transformational development of students into leaders prepared to serve God in the Church, the workplace, and the world. The university has been educating leaders since 1923 and enrolls nearly 700 students in traditional undergraduate, non-traditional, and graduate programs.”

Notre Dame De Namur UniversityNotre Dame de Namur University

Location: Belmont, CA

From the institution: “Founded more than 165 years ago, we are the third oldest college in California. NDNU is a fully accredited, private, Catholic, co-educational master’s university, located on the San Francisco Peninsula in Silicon Valley. With approximately 1,700 students from 29 states and 32 different countries, NDNU broadens the perspective and outlook of its students by exposing them to peers with very different backgrounds, cultures and world views.”

Pepperdine UniversityPepperdine University

Location: Malibu, CA

From the institution: “Pepperdine is a Christian university committed to the highest standards of academic excellence and Christian values, where students are strengthened for lives of purpose, service, and leadership. Consistently ranked as one of the most beautiful places to study, Pepperdine is where you’re inspired to learn as you learn to inspire.”

Point Loma Nazarene UniversityPoint Loma Nazarene University

Location: San Diego, CA

From the institution: “As a Christian liberal arts university, PLNU is committed to shaping students’ academic, personal, and spiritual growth. Our mission isn’t simply to prepare you for a career after you graduate — though that’s part of it — but to shape you into a thoughtful, service-minded, and engaged member of your community and world. In short, we are committed to helping you become who you are fully called to be.”

Providence Christian CollegeProvidence Christian College

Location: Pasadena, CA

From the institution: “The mission of Providence Christian College as a Reformed Christian institution is to equip students to be firmly grounded in biblical truth, thoroughly educated in the liberal arts, and fully engaged in their church, their community, and the world for the glory of God and for service to humanity.”

Saint Mary's CollegeSaint Mary’s College

Location: Moraga, CA

From the institution: “Saint Mary’s is a selective, comprehensive university that engages the intellect and the spirit with exceptional academics. This is an education that changes lives and inspires the desire to transform society. Saint Mary’s has a strong tradition of service, that is built upon the solid rock of Catholic social justice and the pioneering work of John Baptist de La Salle, founder of the Christian Brothers, who insisted on education for all, regardless of their ability to pay.”

San Diego Christian UniversitySan Diego Christian College

Location: Santee, CA

From the institution: “San Diego Christian College (SDCC) is a nationally ranked Christian college in the located in Southern California. SDCC provides an unrivaled education that challenges students and builds their faith in Jesus Christ. Founded in 1970, SDCC offers traditional, non-traditional and graduate programs, and strives to shape students through the integration of faith, service, and learning inside and outside the classroom.”

Santa Clara UniversitySanta Clara University

Location: Santa Clara, CA

From the institution: “Located in the heart of Silicon Valley, Santa Clara University blends high-tech innovation with a social consciousness grounded in the Jesuit educational tradition. We are committed to leaving the world a better place. We pursue new technology, encourage creativity, engage with our communities, and share an entrepreneurial mindset. Our goal is to help shape the next generation of leaders and global thinkers.”

Shasta Bible CollegeShasta Bible College

Location: Redding, CA

From the institution: “The institution’s origins date back to 1970 when God laid it upon the heart of Dr. Royal D. Blue to investigate the possibility of initiating an evening Bible institute extension from Multnomah School of the Bible, utilizing the facilities of North Valley Baptist Church. [The School’s Mission is] to educate and equip Biblically committed Christian leaders who will impact the world for Jesus Christ.”

Simpson UniversitySimpson University

Location: Redding, CA

From the institution: “Simpson University, a school of the Christian and Missionary Alliance, is a Christ-centered learning community with an enduring commitment to world service and faith-infused education in professional studies and liberal arts. Simpson University is a Christ-centered learning community committed to developing each student in mind, faith and character for a lifetime of meaningful work and service in a constantly changing world.”

The Masters UniversityThe Masters University

Location: Santa Clarita, CA

From the institution: “Since 1927, The Master’s University has transformed young people to have an impact for Christ in the world. Committed faculty and staff pour their lives into students, teaching every subject with a biblical worldview. We hold firm to the sufficiency, inerrancy, and authority of Scripture in our uncompromising commitment to Christ and Scripture. Master’s not only compels students to academic achievement and professional excellence, but we develop wisdom, establish convictions, and produce leaders in every student. Each graduate is set on the path to success with the skills and perspective to do all they do for the honor of our great God.”

Thomas Aquinas CollegeThomas Aquinas College

Location: Ventura County, CA

From the institution: “Thomas Aquinas College is unique among American colleges and universities, offering a faithfully Catholic education comprised entirely of the Great Books and classroom discussions. Thomas Aquinas College came into being in the late 1960s and early 1970s, during a time of great tumult in the United States that deeply affected the country’s institutions and its mores. The College’s founders, a seasoned group of lay Catholic educators, were concerned about the declining condition of higher education and, in particular, Catholic higher education.”

Vanguard UniversityVanguard University

Location: Costa Mesa, CA

From the institution: “Vanguard University is a private, Christian, comprehensive university of liberal arts and professional studies equipping students for a Spirit-empowered life of Christ-centered leadership and service. Since 2010, the U.S. News & World Report has ranked Vanguard in the top 10 among the best baccalaureate colleges in the west in their rankings of colleges and universities and The Princeton Review named VU a 2014 “Best in the West” College. Vanguard is accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC).”

Westmont CollegeWestmont College

Location: Montecito, CA

From the institution: “Westmont College is an undergraduate, residential, Christian, liberal arts community serving God’s kingdom by cultivating thoughtful scholars, grateful servants and faithful leaders for global engagement with the academy, church and world. Equip yourself to be a grateful servant and faithful leader in God’s kingdom by serving alongside Westmont students in a number of ministry opportunities.”

William Jessup UniversityWilliam Jessup University

Location: San Jose, CA

From the institution: “As a nationally-ranked Christian university, William Jessup University seeks to develop the whole person by developing skills in communication, quantitative reasoning, and critical thinking and by exposing students to a broad cross-section of knowledge in science, social science, and the humanities. Jessup has more than 70 programs on campus and online. We maintain high academic standards while guiding students towards fulfilling careers and authentic relationships with Christ.”

NOW READ: The Ultimate List of Christian Colleges and Universities in America by State

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Timothy Andrew

Timothy Andrew

Tim is the Founder of Lord's Library. He believes the Bible commands us to minister "as of the ability which God giveth" (1 Peter 4:11). Tim aspires to be as The Lord's mouth by "taking forth the precious from the vile" (Jeremiah 15:19) and witnessing The Gospel of Jesus Christ (1 Corinthians 15: 1-4) to the whole world.

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