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Best 15 Music Colleges in California in 2021

August 12, 2021 | Staff Writers

Music Colleges in California
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The pursuit of music is one for artists, musicians, and any student who has a passion for music. It is also an educational pursuit that offers many routes toward earning a degree in music. To help narrow your search, and to provide students seeking music colleges in California with some direction, we have compiled a list of the top programs in the State. (Please note that where applicable, the in-state tuition rates were used for each program’s yearly tuition rate).

Top 5 Music Colleges in California

Rank School Location
1California State University – Fresno Fresno, California
2The Master’s UniversitySanta Clarita, California
3Pacific Union CollegeAngwin, California
4Humboldt State UniversityArcata, California
5Simpson UniversityRedding, California

Students will notice that the private post-secondary institutions on our list of the top music colleges also typically have considerably higher tuition rates compared to their public college counterparts. It is worth noting too, however, that these same private colleges also generally offer better student-to-faculty ratios. Good luck in your music career and in all of your educational pursuits.

Best 15 Music Colleges in California

1

California State University – Fresno

  • Fresno, California
  • Points: 88

The California State University Fresno branch is one of three campuses representing this University’s music program on our list. The Fresno branch is also the most affordable program on our list of the top music colleges in California, although its student-to-faculty ratio leaves a little to be desired.

School Overview

Tuition: $6,589 per year
Student-of-Faculty Ratio: 23 to 1
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2

The Master’s University

  • Santa Clarita, California
  • Points: 87

This lesser-known educational institution offers an excellent music program and is located in Santa Clarita. Competitive tuition rates and strong student/faculty ratios help this program to earn high marks and should earn a look for students seeking the top music colleges in California too.

School Overview

Tuition: $25,350 per year
Student-of-Faculty Ratio: 12 to 1
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3

Pacific Union College

  • Angwin, California
  • Points: 87

The music program at Pacific Union College in Angwin is another excellent program for students seeking a music degree. This school offers competitive tuition rates along with very strong student-to-faculty numbers.

School Overview

Tuition: $30,813 per year
Student-of-Faculty Ratio: 11 to 1
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4

Humboldt State University

  • Arcata, California
  • Points: 86

For students looking for good music programs, Humboldt State University has a tuition rate that makes it worthy of a look. While less than ideal student-to-faculty numbers don’t help this program’s ranking, it isn’t enough to prevent this school from a good showing on our list of the top music colleges in California.

School Overview

Tuition: $7,864 per year
Student-of-Faculty Ratio: 19 to 1
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5

Simpson University

  • Redding, California
  • Points: 85

In Redding, CA, students seeking good music colleges need to look no farther than Simpson University. Along with competitive tuition rates, this program also offers good student-to-faculty numbers.

School Overview

Tuition: $31,910 per year
Student-of-Faculty Ratio: 12 to 1
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6

California State University, Sacramento

  • Sacramento, California
  • Points: 84

The second of the three California State University campuses, the Sacramento campus is another excellent choice for students in pursuit of a good music degree. Like its fellow campuses, this program gets in on the strength of attractive tuition rates.

School Overview

Tuition: $7,368 per year
Student-of-Faculty Ratio: 26 to 1
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7

California State University, Chico

  • Chico, California
  • Points: 84

Rounding out the three California State University campuses to make our list, the Chico campus is also worthy of a look for students wanting a good and affordable music degree program. Along with the other two California State University campuses on our list of the top music programs, any of these CSU programs offer students respected and recognized music degrees.

School Overview

Tuition: $7,806 per year
Student-of-Faculty Ratio: 24 to 1
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8

Sonoma State University

  • Rohnert Park, California
  • Points: 84

Another affordable music program to find a solid showing on our list of the top music colleges in California is Sonoma State University in Rohnert Park. The program’s strong tuition rates make it worth considering for students looking for good music colleges in California.

School Overview

Tuition: $7,880 per year
Student-of-Faculty Ratio: 22 to 1
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9

The University of California, Riverside

  • Riverside, California
  • Points: 83

The Department of Music at UC Riverside offers undergraduate majors leading to the B.A. in Music and the B.A. in Music and Culture, as well as an M.A./Ph.D. in Music with a specialization in three areas: musicology, ethnomusicology, and digital composition.

The Department features a distinctive and supportive environment for study in music. It emphasizes close interaction between its students and faculty and provides for a continuously expanding range of musical and intellectual pursuits. Faculty interests range from traditional Western art music (offering foundational study in traditional musicology, theory, and composition) and ethnomusicology (music ethnography) to cultural studies, gender/sexuality, critical theory, free improvisation, digital and electronic music composition, popular music, and the culture industry (including television and film as well as computer gaming), area studies, and many others. The entire faculty shares a belief in the importance of musical performance, an activity in which many are regularly engaged, and students receive individual attention in both research and creative projects.

School Overview

Tuition: $13,853 per year
Student-of-Faculty Ratio: 22 to 1
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10

California State Polytechnic University – Pomona

  • Pomona, California
  • Points: 82

Students who want to earn a music degree shouldn’t overlook the California State Polytechnic University music program in Pomona. Being one of the more affordable programs on our list of the top music colleges in California also helps this program’s ranking.

School Overview

Tuition: $7,396 per year
Student-of-Faculty Ratio: 28 to 1
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11

California Baptist University

  • Riverside, California
  • Points: 80

The music program at California Baptist University in Riverside should be another school on the shortlist for students seeking a good music program. Competitive tuition rates in addition to a middle-of-the-road student/faculty ratio are enough to earn this program a spot on our list.

School Overview

Tuition: $34,882 per year
Student-of-Faculty Ratio: 16 to 1
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12

Westmont College

  • Santa Barbara, California
  • Points: 80

This private post-secondary institution in Santa Barbara offers a wonderful music program and would be a good choice for any student seeking a top music program. Although considerably higher tuition rates come attached, this program also offers very good student-to-faculty numbers.

School Overview

Tuition: $46,594 per year
Student-of-Faculty Ratio: 11 to 1
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13

Loyola Marymount University

  • Los Angeles, California
  • Points: 80

This esteemed University is an excellent option for students who are looking for the top music programs in California. Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles will typically require financial assistance to assist with stout tuition rates, but also offers an attractive student-to-teacher ratio.

School Overview

Tuition: $50,683 per year
Student-of-Faculty Ratio: 10 to 1
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14

Point Loma Nazarene University

  • San Diego, California
  • Points: 80

In southern California, students wanting a good music program should put Point Loma Nazarene University on their list of schools to consider. Reasonable tuition rates and solid student-to-faculty ratios also bode well for this San Diego program’s ranking.

School Overview

Tuition: $36,950 per year
Student-of-Faculty Ratio: 14 to 1
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15

University of California Santa Cruz

  • Santa Cruz, California
  • Points: 79

Closing out our list is the second of the University of California’s campuses to earn a place on our list of the top music colleges in California. The Santa Cruz campus also offers very good tuition rates and is one more good option for students who are pursuing a music degree.

*Their music BA in Western Art Music has an average instructor to student ratio of 1 faculty to 15 students in most of the major courses (1:35 in the largest major required course) and all students take 1:1 lessons.

School Overview

Tuition: $13,991 per year
Student-of-Faculty Ratio: 15 to 1*
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The Ranking System Used to Rate the Schools

We chose to use an equally weighted system to rank the schools and rated the schools on two factors, tuition, and student/faculty ratios. Each factor accounted for one half of the total score, and point totals for each factor were then assigned to each corresponding school. The programs were then ranked according to their point totals.

The information we provide in our lists is always an approximation as the information and data regarding these schools and programs are constantly changing. If you notice an error or information that needs to be updated, please let our team know as we strive to provide accurate and helpful information.

If you have any questions about any of the programs or schools on the list, then contact us, and we will be happy to help. We hope that the data and information about these institutions help with your search for music colleges in California, and we wish you all the best in your future endeavors.

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