For Winter and Spring quarters 2021, all instruction will remain online. Students will be unable to enter the U.S., but can continue to study with UCR University Extension from the comfort of their own home. We have temporarily suspended the issuance of I-20 forms until we are able to resume face-to-face instruction. At this time, students can apply for our professional certificate and Online University Programs for Winter and Spring 2021 quarters.  Download Informational Flyer

For current coronavirus (COVID-19) information and resources, click here.

California Universities & Colleges

Get to Know California's University and College Systems

California has over 140 public and over 12 private universities and colleges. Each has its own distinct mission, structure, and available degrees. The first step to choosing the right pathway is to know the differences between each type of university and college available to you.

University of California (UC) System

California's top research university system includes 10 campuses: Berkeley, Davis, Irvine, Los Angeles, Merced, Riverside, San Diego, San Francisco, Santa Barbara, and Santa Cruz.

The UC campuses offer degrees at the undergraduate (Bachelor's) and graduate (Master's or Doctoral) levels. The UC fosters world-class educational and research opportunities, and generates a wide range of benefits and services that touch people's lives around the world every day.

University of California, Riverside (UCR) is one campus in the UC system.

California State University (CSU) System

The U.S.'s largest university system includes 23 campuses all over California. CSU campuses offer primarily undergraduate education (B.A. or B.S.), though several of the larger campuses also offer Master's degrees, and since 2007, Doctoral degrees in Education (Ed.D.)

To find out more information about CSU campuses, visit one of their websites.

California Community College (CCC) System

The largest system of higher education in the world includes 112 campuses all over California. Colleges in the California Community College (CCC) system offer a wide range of first- and second-year courses, Associate of Arts (A.A.) or Associate of Science (A.S.) degrees, professional training, and vocational programs.

Degree-seeking students often study for up to two years at a community college and then transfer to a CSU or UC to complete their 3rd and 4th years for a Bachelor's degree.

Learn more about our International Transfer Track.

You can find a California community college by address, academic program or area here.

Universities, Colleges, & Community Colleges

What is the difference between a "university", college" and "community college"?

In the U.S., a college can offer full degree programs, but community colleges can only offer two-year Associate's degrees. Some community college coursework may apply towards a Bachelor's degree, but a California community college cannot grant a Bachelor's degree.

Although the terms are often used interchangeably, universities are normally larger than colleges. Some universities may be organized with multiple "colleges" or "schools."

UCR is a university with three colleges and four schools.

Private Colleges & Universities

What makes a college or university private?

"Private" means that the institution does not normally receive federal and state funding. It is funded by student tuition. Often private colleges or universities have religious affiliations or special purposes.


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