Most would be surprised to find out that there are more than 50 Christian colleges in California.

And in fact it’s true.

And since California makes up one of the largest states in the US, it’s only natural that this third largest state in the US would boast of the most Christian Colleges in America. This leaves many people interested in faith based higher learning institutions with so many options.

You may also be surprised that places like the University of San Diego and San Francisco are faith based colleges – but this fact is also true, and both schools have numbers of students enrolled being fewer than 10,000, which is surprising in and of itself.

So look a little deeper when encountering a school that is named after a city followed by University, there is a chance based on its age and history that it could in fact be a Christian higher learning institution and not a state school.

Christian Colleges in CaliforniaCredit: Morgue File

What Are Really the Advantages to Going to a Christian College in California?

Speaking from a person who graduated from a Catholic college, I can tell you that the advantages are many.

Firstly, the average Christian college in California (and even nationally) is below 10,000 students. This means that because the campus is smaller, you end up developing deeper and more meaningful relationships not just with fellow students but also with faculty.

The likelihood of a faculty member knowing and remembering your name is also extremely high. Secondly, let’s face it if you had to pick a faith based school in the US, most people would likely pick California not only because of the beautiful weather, but also because of the options. There are a wide variety of denominational schools to choose from including: Catholic, Seventh Day Adventist, Lutheran, and Mennonite and even non-denominational. The fact that California is so large as a state truly works in your favor.

Thirdly, most of these types of schools in this state are not only well accredited, but some are also rather prestigious as well and remain on the top higher education schools in the country. Some of the most prestigious Christian colleges in California: Pepperdine University and Loyola Marymount University.

Additionally, some findings are pointing to the fact that employers appreciate an employee with a Christian college education. Some even suggest that the hiring company usually regards an employee from a college like this as having high moral standards and an ethical approach to business and life. This is really telling because most of what a person is hired for is largely due to perception.

Lastly, and probably one of the best is the level of education. Most people would believe that religious colleges are dogmatic and closed minded. This really isn’t the case. Many faith based higher education curriculum is not only rigorous but there is a big push to challenge status quo, even in the curriculum of faith.

And typically, one doesn’t just have to choose from the faith in which the college was founded in. You’ll find Islamic studies at Catholic Colleges or Buddhist studies at Baptist colleges and even a large focus on general philosophy if you choose to opt out on a religion class. And this is a little known fact when it comes to Christian schools and colleges, which encourage out of the box focus, thinking and debate.

What Are the Disadvantages of a Christian College Education?

The reason why I left out the aspect of California in the disadvantages section is because the draw backs of a faith based college education is broader than the state of California. It’s really true for all Christian colleges across the country.

Really the only down side to a Christian college education boils down to one thing: money. These schools are typically very expensive to attend. In California alone, the range goes from around $6,000 to near $40,000 a year.

Pepperdine is the most expensive private Christian college in California. And the reasons for Christian schools being expensive is obvious, these schools don’t rely on state funding. So it really is left up to the school and associated faith based order to do the funding. And since most of these schools are quite small in size in comparison to larger state schools, these colleges really rely on the higher tuition to meet its needs.

There you have it, the pros and cons of faith based schools generally and even in California. See below the complete list of Christian Colleges in California.

American Baptist Seminary West Berkley, CA

Azusa Pacific University Azusa, CA

Bethany University -Scotts Valley

Bethel Seminary -San Diego

Bethesda Christian University - Anaheim

Biola University - La Mirada

Booker T. Crenshaw Christian Leadership University Inc - San Diego

California Baptist University – Riverside

California Christian College - Fresno

California Lutheran University – Thousand Oaks

Chapman University – Orange

Chapman University College – Orange

Church Divinity School of the Pacific – Berkley

Concordia University – Irvine

Defense Language Institute – Monterey

Dominican School of Philosphy and Thelogy - Berkely

Domincan University of California - San Rafael

Fresno Pacific University – FresnoFranciscan School of Theology – Berkeley

Fuller Theological Seminary- Pasadena

Holy Names University – Oakland

Hope International University – Fullerton

Jesuit School of Theology at Berkeley – Berkeley

King’s College and Seminary – Van Nuys

La Sierra University – Riverside

Life Pacific College – San Dimas

Loma Linda University – Loma Linda

Loyola Marymount University – Los Angeles

Marymount College – Rancho Palos Verdes

Mennonite Brethren Biblical Seminary – Fresno

Mount St. Mary’s College- Los Angeles

Notre Dame de Namur University – Belmont

Pacific Baptist College – Pomona

Pacific School of Religion – Berkeley

Pacific Union College – Angwin

Patten University – Oakland

Pepperdine University – Malibu

Point Loma Nazarene – San Diego

Saint Mary’s College of California – Moraga

Pacific Lutheran Theological Seminary – Berkeley

San Diego Christian College – El Cajon

San Francisco Theological Seminary – San Anselmo

Santa Clara University – Santa Clara

School of Urban Missions – Oakland CA

Shasta Bible College and Graduate School – Redding CA

Simpson University – Redding

St. John’s Seminary- Camarillo

Starr King School of Ministry – Berkeley

The Master's College and Seminary – Santa Clarita

Thomas Aquinas College – Santa Paula

Trinity Law and Graduate School – Sacramento

Trinity Life Bible College – Sacramento

University of San Diego – San Diego

University of San Francisco – San Francisco

Vanguard University of Southern California – Costa Mesa