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2021 Best Value Colleges for Liberal Arts / Sciences & Humanities in California

33 Colleges
6,043 Bachelor's Degrees
$28,509 Avg Cost*

Finding the Best Value Liberal Arts / Sciences & Humanities School for You

Best Value Colleges for Liberal Arts / Sciences & Humanities in CaliforniaIn 2018-2019, 6,043 bachelor's degrees were awarded to liberal arts / sciences and humanities students who went to a California college or university. This makes it the #11 most popular major in the state. This means that of the 45,514 bachelor's that were awarded in the country, 13.3% were from a college or university in the state.

This year's Best Value Colleges for Liberal Arts / Sciences & Humanities in California ranking analyzed 33 colleges that offered a bachelor's degree in liberal arts / sciences and humanities. Note that the phrase 'best value' does not mean the absolute lowest-priced. Instead, we are looking at those liberal arts / sciences and humanities schools that offer a high quality educational experience at a price lower than expected.

Average cost figures start with estimating tuition, fees, room and board, books, and other related expenses. We then subtract the average amount of financial aid that a student receives. You can use this as a gauge to estimate how much you may need to pay out of pocket to cover costs when financial aid isn't enough. Keep in mind that the net cost for you may be higher or lower, depending on your income and other factors.

One Size Does Not Fit All

Since picking the right college can be one of the most important decisions of your life, we've developed the Best Value Liberal Arts / Sciences & Humanities Schools ranking, along with many other major-related rankings, to help you make that decision.

To further help you make the college decision, we've developed a unique tool called College Combat that allows you to compare schools based on the factors that matter the most to you. Go ahead and give it a try, or bookmark the link so you can check it out later.

2021 Best Value Liberal Arts / Sciences & Humanities Schools in California

The following schools top our list of the Best Liberal Arts / Sciences & Humanities Colleges for the Money.

Top 10 Best Value Liberal Arts / Sciences & Humanities Schools

#1

Soka University of America

Aliso Viejo, CA

The #1 spot in this year's ranking belongs to Soka University of America. Located in the suburb of Aliso Viejo, Soka University is a private not-for-profit college with a fairly small student population. As a testament to the quality of education offered at Soka University, the school also landed the #1 rank in our Best Colleges for Liberal Arts / Sciences & Humanities in California ranking.

At Soka University, the average time it takes a student to graduate is 4.1 years, and it costs about $16,398 per year to attend the school. This makes the estimated cost of a bachelor’s degree from Soka University be around $66,412. When students graduate in a lesser amount of time, they can save thousands of dollars.

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#2

Thomas Aquinas College

Santa Paula, CA

Our rankings recognize Thomas Aquinas College as the #2 school in this year's rankings. TAC is a small private not-for-profit school located in the rural area of Santa Paula. In addition to being on our best value list, TAC has also earned the #2 rank in our Best Colleges for Liberal Arts / Sciences & Humanities in California ranking.

It takes the average student at TAC about 4.2 years to graduate, and the yearly average cost to attend the school is $24,861. Putting this cost and the average time to graduate together, we find that the average amount you’ll pay to get a bachelor’s degree from TAC is $103,670. The sooner a student graduates, the more money they can save.

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The Master's College and Seminary comes in at #3 in this year's ranking. Located in the suburb of Santa Clarita, The Master's College is a private not-for-profit school with a small student population.

The average amount of time it takes for a student to receive their degree at The Master’s College is 4.3 years, and on average, the annual cost to attend the school is $25,094. This means that the average student pays around $108,155 to get a bachelor’s degree from The Master’s College. The sooner a student graduates, the more money they can save.

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The #4 spot in this year's ranking belongs to California State University - Monterey Bay. California State University - Monterey Bay is a medium-sized public school located in the medium-sized suburb of Seaside.

The average amount of time it takes for a student to receive their degree at California State University - Monterey Bay is 4.7 years, and on average, the annual cost to attend the school is $24,223. This means that the average student pays around $112,637 to get a bachelor’s degree from California State University - Monterey Bay. The sooner a student graduates, the more money they can save.

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Our rankings recognize California State University - Northridge as the #5 school in this year's rankings. Located in the large city of Northridge, California State University - Northridge is a public school with a very large student population.

At California State University - Northridge, the average time it takes a student to graduate is 5.0 years, and the estimated yearly cost for the school is $22,577. When we combine these numbers, we estimate that the cost to get a bachelor’s degree from California State University - Northridge is $111,982. Graduating sooner can prevent you from having to pay more money out of pocket.

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The #6 spot in this year's ranking belongs to California State University - Long Beach. Cal State Long Beach is a fairly large public school located in the large city of Long Beach. As a testament to the quality of education offered at Cal State Long Beach, the school also landed the #8 rank in our Best Colleges for Liberal Arts / Sciences & Humanities in California ranking.

It takes about 5.0 years for the average student at Cal State Long Beach to complete their degree, and the estimated yearly cost for the school is $24,708. Thus, the average cost to get a bachelor’s degree from the Cal State Long Beach is $122,552. When you graduate sooner, you can save a lot of money.

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California Polytechnic State University - San Luis Obispo comes in at #7 in this year's ranking. Located in the small suburb of San Luis Obispo, Cal Poly San Luis Obispo is a public school with a fairly large student population. As a testament to the quality of education offered at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo, the school also landed the #5 rank in our Best Colleges for Liberal Arts / Sciences & Humanities in California ranking.

It takes about 4.5 years for the average student at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo to complete their degree, and the estimated yearly cost for the school is $32,197. Looking at these numbers together, we estimate that the average cost of a bachelor’s degree from Cal Poly San Luis Obispo is about $143,921. If you can shave even one term off your degree, you can save a substantial amount of money.

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Our rankings recognize Saint Mary's College of California as the #8 school in this year's rankings. Located in the large suburb of Moraga, SMC is a private not-for-profit college with a small student population. SMC also took the #3 spot in our Best Colleges for Liberal Arts / Sciences & Humanities in California rankings.

It takes about 4.1 years for the average student at SMC to complete their degree, and the average full-time cost to attend the school is around $42,053. This makes the estimated cost of a bachelor’s degree from SMC be around $173,679. When students graduate in a lesser amount of time, they can save thousands of dollars.

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The #9 spot in this year's ranking belongs to California State University - Fresno. Fresno State is a fairly large public school located in the large city of Fresno.

The average student at Fresno State graduates in less than 5.0 years, and the yearly average cost to attend the school is $20,188. When we combine these numbers, we estimate that the cost to get a bachelor’s degree from Fresno State is $100,132. The sooner a student graduates, the more money they can save.

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Azusa Pacific University landed the #10 spot in our 2021 rankings for best value liberal arts / sciences and humanities schools. Located in the suburb of Azusa, Azusa Pacific is a private not-for-profit school with a moderately-sized student population. In addition to being on our best value list, Azusa Pacific has also earned the #6 rank in our Best Colleges for Liberal Arts / Sciences & Humanities in California ranking.

It takes the average student at Azusa Pacific about 4.3 years to graduate, and it costs about $35,709 per year to attend the school. This means that the average student pays around $154,263 to get a bachelor’s degree from Azusa Pacific. When you graduate sooner, you can save a lot of money.

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Best Liberal Arts / Sciences & Humanities Colleges in the Far Western US Region

Explore all the Best Liberal Arts / Sciences & Humanities Colleges in the Far Western US Area or other specific states within that region.

State Degrees Awarded
Washington 1,066
Hawaii 107
Oregon 317
Alaska 4
Nevada 76

Liberal Arts / Sciences & Humanities Majors to Study

Major Annual Graduates
Liberal Arts General Studies 6,043

View All Liberal Arts / Sciences & Humanities Related Majors >

Related Major Annual Graduates
Visual & Performing Arts 12,569
English Language & Literature 4,276
Foreign Languages & Linguistics 2,979
Philosophy & Religious Studies 1,452
Theology & Religious Vocations 547

View All Liberal Arts / Sciences & Humanities Related Majors >

Notes and References

*These averages are for the top 25 schools only.

  • The Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS) from the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), a branch of the U.S. Department of Education (DOE) serves as the core of the rest of our data about colleges.
  • Some other college data, including much of the graduate earnings data, comes from the U.S. Department of Education’s (College Scorecard).
  • Credit for the banner image above goes to Jacques Sablet (Switzerland, Morges, 1749-1803).

More about our data sources and methodologies.

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