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Key Universities

"San Diego is a very interconnected town in a way that many big cities are not, and it has aspirations to continue to make progress and move forward, aspirations that San Diego State embodies."

Elliot Hirshman, 10th President of San Diego State University
June 10, 2016

San Diego's higher education institutions conduct groundbreaking research, train the region's workforce, and provide a talent pipeline that enables the region to compete for investment and jobs on a global level. The University of California San Diego has become one of the top ten public universities in the country in a span of only 50 years. San Diego State University has educated more of San Diego’s civic leaders than any other institution. Together, higher education in San Diego employs hundreds of thousands of people and provides a lasting economic impact through the creation of new companies based on research and technologies coming out of the universities.

University Highlights

  • University of California San Diego
    • 35,821 students as of fall 2016
    • Total research funding more than $1.01 billion
    • Graduates more women in STEM than any other university; three times the national average
    • $32.4 billion total estimated annual sales of active UCSD-related companies in San Diego County, including those utilizing licensed technology
    • Second largest employer in San Diego County
    • More than 650 companies launched by and/or utilizing technology produced by UC San Diego faculty, staff and alumni, including many San Diego biotech and technology firms
  • San Diego State University
    • 33,778 students as of fall 2016
    • 60 percent of graduates stay in San Diego to pursue careers
    • More than $35 million in grant funding for community and outreach programs
    • One in seven adults in San Diego who holds a college degree attended SDSU
    • Innovative programs for veterans including on-campus housing
    • U.S. News and World Report ranked SDSU #7 nationally for ethnic diversity
  • University of San Diego
    • Private, coeducational, independent institution
    • More than 8,000 students
    • Carnegie classification of “Doctoral/Research University”
    • Best Choice Schools ranked USD as the #1 "Most Beautiful" campus in the nation
    • Offers unique master of arts program in peace and justice studies
    • 94 percent of 2015-16 graduated student respondents are employed or in graduate school
  • California State University San Marcos
    • More than 14,179 students and 276 faculty
    • Curriculum focus on writing, critical thinking and collaboration
    • More than 50 percent of the student population are from diverse ethnic backgrounds
    • $10.2 million in external funding to support research, creative activities and programs
    • 85 percent of CSUSM alumni stay in the local community
  • Point Loma Nazarene University
    • More than 3,500 students
    • 60 undergraduate areas of study
    • Graduate program regional centers in San Diego and Bakersfield
    • 30 percent of graduating seniors have studied abroad
    • 15:1 student to faculty ratio
  • National University
    • Second-largest private, nonprofit institution of higher education in California, founded to meet the needs of working professionals and adult learners
    • 30,000 students and more than 150,000 alumni
    • Includes four schools and two colleges – the College of Letters and Sciences; the School of Business and Management; the College of Education; the School of Engineering and Computing; the School of Health and Human Services; and the School of Professional Studies
    • Has prepared more credentialed teachers than any other single institution of higher education in the state for more than a decade, according to the Commission on Teaching Credentialing
    • Offers 100 undergraduate and graduate degrees, as well as 30 certificates and 22 credential programs



  • Association of Independent Research Institutes