California has 485 colleges and universities, representing 10% of all degree-granting higher education institutions in the United States. The Golden State prides itself on innovation and growth, boasting a tradition of well-known, reputable business schools such as Stanford University, UC Berkeley, and UC Los Angeles. In 2015, 9.4% of California's student population was enrolled in online programs -- significantly lower than the national average of 14.3%.

Among California's online students, 73% attended in-state schools, demonstrating an upward trend from 2012 through 2015. Out-of-state enrollment for California's online students reached 26% in 2015.

Online MBA Programs in California

With the presence of massive employers in the fields of healthcare and information technology, California online MBA programs impart the skills and knowledge necessary for students to secure employment in these and many other industries. The following is a list of accredited online MBA programs in California.

Rank School Location Cost Toggle Logo Tuition % Receiving Financial Aid Student Population School Type Description
Ashford University
Location San Diego , CA Tuition $$$$$ % Receiving Financial Aid 84 Student Population 42,452 Tuition $27,594 School Type Private

The master of business administration at Ashford University, one of the best online MBA programs in California, runs six-week courses, permitting students to work toward their degrees quickly. Students take one course at a time, allowing them to focus on one particular topic. Overall, students must complete 42 credits, including 33 credits of core coursework. Ashford's MBA program also holds accreditation from the International Accreditation Council for Business Education.

In addition to the standard MBA, Ashford offers 13 specializations, including media management, public administration, business economics, entrepreneurship, and environmental management. All students must complete a capstone course in which they conduct research to help solve business problems.

Applicants must submit an undergraduate transcript with a minimum GPA of 2.0. Once admitted, students can transfer up to nine prior credits to count toward their MBA. Ashford exempts students with undergraduate business degrees from taking select MBA core courses, like accounting and finance.

View School Profile
Azusa Pacific University
Location Azusa , CA Tuition $$$$$ % Receiving Financial Aid 52 Student Population 9,975 Tuition $26,880 School Type Private

Azusa Pacific University offers a master of business administration program for students who need a flexible school schedule and prefer to complete their degrees online. Before beginning the program, all learners participate in a two-week orientation. Students typically take one or two classes each semester, and they can finish the degree in 15 to 30 months. Azusa Pacific recommends students plan to spend six to 10 hours studying online every week. Students must maintain at least a 3.0 GPA over the course of their MBA studies.

In total, the school expects MBA students to complete 42 credits of coursework before they can graduate. Learners may choose between seven different emphasis areas: accounting, entrepreneurship, finance, international business, marketing, organizational science, and sport management.

Applicants must possess at least a 2.5 undergraduate GPA. They must also submit GMAT scores. Applicants with an undergraduate GPA of 3.25 or higher may be exempt the GMAT requirement.

View School Profile
Brandman University
Location Irvine , CA Tuition $$$$$ % Receiving Financial Aid 56 Student Population 8,004 Tuition $23,040 School Type Private

At Brandman University, master of business administration students learn to develop and evaluate global business strategies. The path to earning an MBA depends on many factors, including previous experience and specializations. Brandman dismisses some core course requirements for learners who earned their bachelor's degrees in business. In addition, learners may decide between several concentration options, including e-business strategic management and business intelligence and data analytics. Students must earn 38-46 credits in order to graduate, depending on their concentration.

At Brandman, the curriculum centers around concepts such as ethical decision making, which crops up in courses including democracy, ethics, and leadership; self, systems, and leadership; and accounting ethics.

To gain admission to Brandman's online MBA in California, applicants must submit entrance exam scores and transcripts demonstrating an undergraduate GPA of at least 2.5. Prospective students whose undergraduate GPAs exceeds 3.0 may not need to take entrance exams.

View School Profile
California Baptist University
Location Riverside , CA Tuition $$$$$ % Receiving Financial Aid 77 Student Population 8,541 Tuition $24,000 School Type Private

Riverside-based California Baptist University began in 1950 with only 42 students. Now, the private liberal arts school enrolls nearly 10,000 students every year. In addition to on-campus programs, California Baptist administers a master of business administration program for online students. Learners earn 36 credits of coursework. On average, they complete the entire program in one year.

CBU expects incoming students to possess a foundational knowledge of business concepts. Students who did not take business courses or who have no prior experience must enroll in extra foundational classes. Learners study topics like marketing management and the legal environment of business. They also dig deep into certain subjects, like quantitative business modeling.

This degree holds accreditation from the Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs. Applicants should submit a bachelor's degree transcript, two recommendations, and a short essay explaining their reasons for applying. CBU does not require applicants to submit GRE or GMAT scores.

View School Profile
California College San Diego
Location San Diego , CA Tuition $$$$$ % Receiving Financial Aid 62 Student Population 931 Tuition $29,160 School Type Private

Offering one of the best master of business administration programs in southern California, California College San Diego teaches students the skills for senior-level executive work. The school runs its online MBA option through its affiliated institution, Independence University, and its primary goal is to prepare graduates for employment. The entire program can last 15-20 months, depending on students' schedules.

Each class counts for four credits, the entire online degree consists of 60 credits of coursework. The curriculum covers topics such as the dynamics of companies and other organizations, communication skills for managers, finance at the corporate level, and how information technology fits into businesses and society. Students must also complete a capstone project before graduating.

With accreditation from the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and College, this MBA program allows students to transfer in credits from undergraduate education or previous military experience.

View School Profile
California InterContinental University
Location Irvine , CA Tuition $$$$$ % Receiving Financial Aid - Student Population 473 Tuition $16,020 School Type Private

California InterContintential University operates solely as an online, for-profit school. The school itself possesses a base in Irvine, but all students enroll in distance learning courses they can complete at their own convenience. The university, which holds accreditation from the Distance Education Accrediting Commission, offers 21 programs, including an online master of business administration.

This online MBA in California consists of 36 credits, which students complete over four semesters, or two years. Learners take classes like entrepreneurial finance, economics for decision making, and strategic management and global competition. These courses equip students with skills they need to succeed as managers in technology-driven businesses.

The application process at California InterContinental does not require prospective students to submit entrance exam scores. The program also does not mandate a minimum GPA for admission. However, applicants do need to turn in their undergraduate transcripts and a resume detailing past professional experience.

View School Profile
California Lutheran University
Location Thousand Oaks , CA Tuition $$$$$ % Receiving Financial Aid 58 Student Population 4,126 Tuition $36,900 School Type Private

At California Lutheran University, students work on their online master of business administration degrees by enrolling in five eight-week semesters. Learners can opt to enroll part or full time, and the program lasts 1-2 years. The school offers six concentration options: enterprise innovation and fellowship, finance, human capital management, international business, information technology management, and marketing.

In addition to their courses, students can take advantage of hands-on capstone experiences. California Lutheran offers credit for internships, and students can also embark on a project or create a business plan. The school offers an executive roundtable, an international travel course, and a consulting project capstone, as well. Undergraduate students in business can participate in the school's "4+1" program, which allows senior undergraduates to take MBA courses their senior year to finish their degrees sooner.

Applicants should submit their undergraduate transcripts and GMAT scores. Candidates with a 3.0 GPA or higher can skip the GMAT requirement.

View School Profile
California State University - Dominguez Hills
Location Carson , CA Tuition $$$$$ % Receiving Financial Aid 38 Student Population 14,635 Tuition $16,560 School Type Public

Students enrolled in the online master of business administration program at California State University, Dominguez Hills can finish their degrees in 18 months. The school's online terms run for 12 weeks, and learners take two courses each term. On-campus classes typically meet once a week, but the online option expects students to log in, learn, and participate in class discussions several times throughout the week.

On top of the core course offerings, the university allows students to take advanced and elective classes. Students can pursue emphasis areas in international business, management, finance, marketing management, information technology management, human resource management, and global logistics and supply chain management. In addition, students may choose to add one of two certificates to their MBA: a certificate in logistics management, or a certificate in marketing.

This online MBA in California does not ask interested candidates to submit GMAT scores. However, applicants must have earned at least a 2.5 GPA during their undergraduate studies. Entering students must also fulfill a graduate writing assessment requirement.

View School Profile
California State University - Fresno
Location Fresno , CA Tuition $$$$$ % Receiving Financial Aid 33 Student Population 24,136 Tuition $24,732 School Type Public

As part of the expansive California State University, Fresno State administers a blended online master of business administration in California. Students complete all their coursework online, but they must also fulfill a few on-campus requirements, including orientation, final exams, and final culminating experience presentations. As a result, students best suited for this online MBA live a short distance from Fresno.

The school offers several seminars in topics like international business and market research and analysis. The culminating experience expects students to either write a thesis or participate in a team or individual project. The MBA consulting project allows learners to analyze and solve problems for actual business owners and general managers. Students can also participate in the summer study abroad program.

To apply, prospective students must submit their undergraduate transcripts with a minimum 2.5 GPA, a statement of purpose, two recommendations, and a GMAT score of at least 550.

View School Profile
California State University - Monterey Bay
Location Seaside , CA Tuition $$$$$ % Receiving Financial Aid 48 Student Population 7,102 Tuition $41,600 School Type Public

At California State University, Monterey Bay, students can apply for an online master of business administration in California, no GMAT required. The school conducts its courses online, but its MBA program caps class sizes at 30 students. This allows students to get in touch with their professors for personalized help if they need it. Incoming students may also take advantage of CSUMB's $3,000 tuition discount.

Overall, the MBA program at CSUMB consists of 48 credits. The curriculum instructs students in both soft skills, like leadership and ethics, and hard skills, such as economics and finance. Students may take six-credit courses over the course of 10 weeks, or three-credit courses over five weeks. They typically enroll in one class at a time. CSUMB also allows students to transfer up to six credits from previous coursework, as long as they received at least a B grade.

CSUMB does not require applicants to submit GMAT scores, but prospective students should have achieved at least a 2.5 undergraduate GPA. Candidates should also submit a resume and personal statement laying out their relevant work experience.

View School Profile
California State University - San Bernardino
Location San Bernardino , CA Tuition $$$$$ % Receiving Financial Aid 45 Student Population 20,024 Tuition $36,000 School Type Public

Offering an online master of business administration in southern California, the public California State University, San Bernardino, located just east of Los Angeles, enrolls more than 20,000 students. Online MBA students can finish the program in 18 months with the flex track. The curriculum requires students to enroll in a couple of foundation courses, plus a zero-credit boot camp, before they begin their second quarter.

Learners must also take two elective courses. Elective options include negotiation and bargaining, global marketing strategies, and project management. Before they graduate, MBA students must create a business portfolio and participate in a four-credit culminating business analysis project.

The MBA program at San Bernardino expects candidates to have worked in a management or leadership role for at least five years. Applicants' past experience must have also included overseeing staff and major projects. In addition, applicants must turn in an undergraduate transcript with a GPA of at least 3.0.

View School Profile
California State University - Stanislaus
Location Turlock , CA Tuition $$$$$ % Receiving Financial Aid 40 Student Population 9,282 Tuition $24,000 School Type Public

California State University, Stanislaus operates as one of the pubic university's smaller campuses, with about 10,000 students. Located in Turlock, not far from San Francisco, Stanislaus State offers an online master of business administration in California.

This MBA offers two areas of focus: a general MBA and a finance concentration. Students working toward their finance concentration typically aim to earn their CFA license upon graduating. In order to satisfy the culminating experience requirement, MBA students at Stanislaus State must pass a comprehensive exam. On this exam, degree candidates must answer an essay question for every core course.

All applicants must submit their undergraduate transcripts from an accredited institution, plus either GRE or GMAT scores. The program expects applicants to have earned at least a 2.5 GPA. Prospective students must also show at least two years of full-time work experience in a leadership or management role.

View School Profile
Golden Gate University - San Francisco
Location San Francisco , CA Tuition $$$$$ % Receiving Financial Aid 67 Student Population 2,735 Tuition $54,810 School Type Private

Golden State University, San Francisco offers an online master of business administration program for working adults. In fact, 95% of the program's students have passed the age of 25 when they enroll. Golden State's boasts an average class size of 14 students, allowing each learner to receive attention from professors as they would in an on-campus setting.

The program runs 13 concentrations, and students may choose one or two areas of emphasis. These specializations include areas like adaptive leadership, public administration, international business, and information technology management. All students must complete a capstone course, in which they create business plans utilizing the knowledge and skills they gained through their degree.

Application requirements vary, depending on candidates' previous experience. Applicants who possess five years of professional experience do not have to submit GRE or GMAT scores. Prospective students without this experience, however, must take an entrance exam.

View School Profile
John F. Kennedy University
Location Pleasant Hill , CA Tuition $$$$$ % Receiving Financial Aid 93 Student Population 1,111 Tuition $31,920 School Type Private

John F. Kennedy University, based in a suburb of San Francisco, operates as a small, private liberal arts college of about 1,400 students. Its online master of business administration in California allows students to study remotely and graduate with 36 credits of coursework. Students may transfer up to six credits from previous master's coursework, allowing them to graduate sooner.

The core curriculum consists of 27 credits, and requires students to take a foundations course covering the basics of business. After students finish the core coursework, they take nine credits of elective or specialization classes. The program provides learners with several concentration options: finance, healthcare, human resources, information technology, management, strategic management, and sales management.

Prospective students may apply for this MBA program with an undergraduate degree from any discipline, as long as the degree comes from an accredited university. However, the admissions department does expect applicants to hold proficiency in college-level math and economics. Candidates do not need to submit GMAT scores.

View School Profile
Marymount California University
Location Rancho Palos Verdes , CA Tuition $$$$$ % Receiving Financial Aid 57 Student Population 1,099 Tuition $27,000 School Type Private

The master of business administration at Marymount California, a private, Catholic-affiliated institution of about 1,000 students, teaches students about ethical leadership in the business world. Comprising 36 credits, this online MBA in California requires students to take core courses in leadership focusing on conscience, ethics, and values. Students also learn about the role of business in community engagement. The program prepares students for management positions in nonprofit, for-profit, and startup organizations.

Before graduating, learners must complete a field project. This project involves two research seminar courses. Graduation candidates conduct research, present it as a business plan proposal, and then actually carry out the business plan. Once finished, they demonstrate their findings and results to the rest of the class.

Prospective candidates can get in touch with admissions counselors or faculty members to learn more about the program. When applying, they should submit transcripts from an accredited undergraduate institution. They should also turn in a resume detailing their professional experience.

View School Profile
National University
Location La Jolla , CA Tuition $$$$$ % Receiving Financial Aid 41 Student Population 17,488 Tuition $26,208 School Type Private

Located near the Pacific beach in La Jolla, California, National University allows anyone to apply, but caters especially to military service members and veterans. Veterans founded the school in 1971. Now, the university operates as a Yellow Ribbon institution, providing tuition discounts to military personnel and their dependents. Among its many online programs, National administers an online master of business administration in southern California.

National runs on a unique schedule. Courses last four weeks, and incoming students may begin their MBAs any time throughout the year. The program also provides learners with several specialization options: mobile marketing and social media, integrated marketing communication, management accounting, human resource management, financial management, international business, marketing, organizational leadership, and supply chain management.

To apply, interested individuals must hold a bachelor's degree from an accredited institution. For more details about the application process, National recommends getting in touch with admissions counselors.

View School Profile
Naval Postgraduate School
Location Monterey , CA Tuition $$$$$ % Receiving Financial Aid - Student Population 2,665 Tuition $34,000 School Type Public

The Naval Postgraduate School, located in Monterey, offers master's programs specifically for people associated with the Navy, including a distance learning master of business administration degree. Students can apply either as Navy civilians or military members. They must submit a letter of enrollment support from their commanding officers. The MBA program requires students to complete coursework part time over the course of 24 months; prospective students must remain based in their duty locations for the duration of the program (typically two years).

Each cohort consists of about 25 students. Although students complete their classes online, they must participate in a one-week orientation in Monterey before the program begins. Learners head back to Monterey for a second residency before their second week. Students virtually attend classes one day each week. They generally spend 15-20 hours per week on reading and other homework. Students must remain in good financial and academic standing throughout all two years in order to graduate.

View School Profile
Notre Dame de Namur University
Location Belmont , CA Tuition $$$$$ % Receiving Financial Aid 68 Student Population 1,855 Tuition $32,256 School Type Private

Notre Dame de Namur University operates as a Catholic institution in the San Francisco Bay Area. Founded in 1851, the school boasts its status as one of the oldest colleges in California. Still, it keeps up with modern technology, and now offers one of the best online master of business administration programs in California.

Comprising 36 credits, the MBA program allows students to enroll part time. Typically, learners graduate in two years or less. After completing their core coursework, students pick between four emphasis areas: finance, human resource management, marketing management, and media and promotion.

Candidates do not need to take the GRE or GMAT entrance exams to submit their applications, but they should have earned a minimum GPA of 2.5 in previous coursework. They should also hold foundational coursework in financial accounting, statistics, macroeconomics, and microeconomics. The program also prefers candidates who possess professional experience.

View School Profile
Pepperdine University
Location Malibu , CA Tuition $$$$$ % Receiving Financial Aid 44 Student Population 7,632 Tuition $89,180 School Type Private

Malibu-based Pepperdine University administers an online master of business administration program in California, prioritizing hands-on work experience. The program holds regional accreditation, plus programmatic accreditation from the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business. Students take 15 courses. The distance learning school's 14-week trimester system allows learners to graduate within two years. Pepperdine allows students to pursue several concentrations: marketing, finance, leadership and managing organizational change, general management, and digital innovation and information systems.

Although Pepperdine runs this MBA program through distance learning courses, students can opt to participate in a residency program in Malibu for credit. This personal and leadership development workshop helps them network with their peers. The integration in business operations course operates as a simulation, in which students make management decisions for real-life business problems.

Applicants may qualify for the Pepperdine Graziadio Business School online MBA merit scholarship program, which offers $12,000-$39,000 in financial aid. Program applicants must submit GRE or GMAT scores, unless they qualify for a entrance exam waiver.

View School Profile
Point Loma Nazarene University
Location San Diego , CA Tuition $$$$$ % Receiving Financial Aid 62 Student Population 3,663 Tuition $34,650 School Type Private

A Christian liberal arts college located in San Diego, Point Loma Nazarene University instructs MBA students with a focus on ethics. The university's online master of business administration in California requires students to complete 42 credits of coursework through distance learning classes. Learners typically graduate in 24 months.

After completing their core courses, students can opt to pursue one of Point Loma's four specialization options, which include organizational leadership, innovation and entrepreneurship, project management, and healthcare management.

Applicants must submit GMAT scores. Point Loma runs a free, four-week GMAT preparation course for prospective students who want to apply but feel intimidated by the entrance exam. In some special cases, the university may waive the GMAT requirement. Students should also submit an undergraduate transcript with a GPA of 3.0 or higher. The application process also involves an interview with the associate dean of graduate business education at Point Loma.

View School Profile
Saint Mary's College of California
Location Moraga , CA Tuition $$$$$ % Receiving Financial Aid 51 Student Population 4,030 Tuition $67,000 School Type Private

Students enrolled at the St. Mary's School of Economics and Business Administration can take advantage of the school's online professional master of business administration program. They can also enroll in the executive MBA program and complete courses through a hybrid format, both online and in-class.

Those pursuing a professional MBA must complete both foundational and core courses. St. Mary's also requires these students to participate in professional development workshops and a global trip, which involves traveling for 10 days in Asia. Candidates of the executive MBA may choose concentrations in either entrepreneurship or business analytics.

This MBA program requires applicants to submit a bachelor's degree transcript from an accredited university. Prospective students may need to submit GRE or GMAT scores, depending on their undergraduate major. In contrast, the executive MBA program does not require students to submit GRE or GMAT scores. However, the admissions department prefers candidates with professional experience in the management level.

View School Profile
Santa Clara University
Location Santa Clara , CA Tuition $$$$$ % Receiving Financial Aid 76 Student Population 8,642 Tuition $41,545 School Type Private

The MBA program at Santa Clara University is in the heart of Silicon Valley. Students come from diverse backgrounds, such as biotechnology, finance and marketing, and alumni include C-level professionals in a variety of Silicon Valley tech companies.

The online MBA program at Santa Clara University combines this prestigious reputation with the convenience and flexibility of online learning. Students can complete the program part-time in just two years. Courses are delivered fully online with two required on-campus intensive sessions.

Applicants to the MBA program are preferred to have three years of work experience to ensure proper preparation and success in the rigorous program. A strong academic record and test scores can be considered in place of work experience. The business school accepts both GMAT and GRE test scores for consideration in the MBA program. MBA students are eligible for a merit-based scholarship. Additionally, federal and private student loans may be available to help students fund their studies at Santa Clara University.

View School Profile
The Master's College and Seminary
Location Santa Clarita , CA Tuition $$$$$ % Receiving Financial Aid 52 Student Population 1,713 Tuition $16,200 School Type Private

The Master's University operates as a Christian institution of higher education in Santa Clarita, California. Among its many region and Bible-related academic programs to its approximately 1,000 students, the school also offers an online master of business administration in California.

Professors teach much of the curriculum from the viewpoint of Christian theology. Students take 12 courses as they pursue their MBAs; one of these courses must fall within the university's Biblical curriculum. The remaining 11 classes cover topics like enterprise, public policy, organizational behavior, corporate finance, and operations management. In addition, students without an academic background in business must complete foundational courses in microeconomics, macroeconomics, and business strategy. Learners can finish the program in 1-2 years, depending on how many courses they take on each semester.

The Master's University expects applicants to submit their undergraduate transcripts with GPAs of at least 2.75. The admissions requirements also requires students to believe in the Christian faith.

View School Profile
Touro University Worldwide
Location Los Alamitos , CA Tuition $$$$$ % Receiving Financial Aid 13 Student Population 880 Tuition $18,000 School Type Private

As its name suggests, Touro University Worldwide allows students from all over the globe to enroll in its online academic programs. The nonprofit university offers an online master of business administration in California with several benefits. Students may begin the degree at six different starting points, and they can finish within one year. Prospective students do not need to take an entrance exam in order to apply.

Learners can also choose between several concentrations: accounting, artificial intelligence management, cybersecurity management, finance, global management, health administration management, human resources management, marketing, nonprofit management, and physicians and healthcare executive management. Courses focusing on artificial intelligence and cybersecurity prepare students for information technology and business trends of the future.

Program candidates do not need to submit GRE or GMAT scores, but Touro does require applicants to hold an undergraduate GPA of at least 2.75.

View School Profile
United States University
Location San Diego , CA Tuition $$$$$ % Receiving Financial Aid 54 Student Population 365 Tuition $15,600 School Type Private

At United States University, a private, for-profit college based in San Diego, students can pursue one of several on-campus and online degrees. The school's online master of business administration in California comprises 36 credits. The program lasts six eight-week terms, or three typical semesters, allowing students to graduate in 12-16 months.

Core courses cover the fundamentals of business education: accounting, business information systems, financial management, and marketing strategy, for instance. Students must also enroll in four upper-level graduate courses, including cross-cultural management, international business environments, and project management essentials. Before graduating, learners must take a capstone course. This class allows them to demonstrate the skills and knowledge they've gained through a culminating experience.

Applicants should submit their undergraduate transcripts. The university prefers applicants with GPAs of 2.5 of higher. Candidates can also apply to transfer from outside graduate programs.

View School Profile
University of California, Los Angeles
Location Los Angeles , CA Tuition $$$$$ % Receiving Financial Aid 33 Student Population 41,908 Tuition $122,400 School Type Public

The UCLA Anderson School of Management at the University of California in Los Angeles offers a flex master of business administration option for working professionals who need flexibility in their graduate studies. The hybrid program combines on-campus and online elements. Students finish most of their classwork online, but they must visit campus every three weeks. Learners typically need three years to complete this degree. However, students who fast-track the program can graduate in 27 months.

As one of the best online MBA programs in Southern California, UCLA's flex MBA lets learners specialize in entrepreneurship, finance, marketing, real estate, entertainment management, global management, sustainable leadership, or social impact. In their last six months, students complete a capstone project. They may choose between the global access program, which allows them to work with an international technology company, or the business creation option.

To apply, students must submit their undergraduate transcripts with a major from any field, plus their GMAT or GRE scores and a resume showing professional and leadership experience.

View School Profile
University of La Verne
Location La Verne , CA Tuition $$$$$ % Receiving Financial Aid 67 Student Population 8,334 Tuition $27,390 School Type Private

At the University of La Verne, located east of Los Angeles, students can enroll in the online master of business administration program full or part time. Learners complete 36 credits of coursework, which includes eight core courses, three concentration courses, and one graduate business seminar. Concentration areas include accounting, finance, information technology, international business, management and leadership, marketing, supply chain management, and health services management.

La Verne's online MBA in California welcomes students from diverse academic backgrounds, but candidates should hold a bachelor's degree from an accredited university. However, students from nonbusiness backgrounds must take additional foundation courses to review basic concepts like micro and macroeconomics. Prospective students with work experience may choose to pursue a separate MBA for experienced professionals, or the MBAX. Only applicants with three years of full-time work experience can apply for this degree option.

View School Profile
University of Redlands
Location Redlands , CA Tuition $$$$$ % Receiving Financial Aid 66 Student Population 5,071 Tuition $29,880 School Type Private

Originally established as a Baptist institution in 1907, the University of Redlands now operates as a private liberal arts school, without any religious affiliation. Now instructing about 4,500 students each year, Redlands offers both on-campus and online programs at the undergraduate and graduate level.

The 48-credit master of business administration program at Redlands allows three specialization options: finance, marketing, and location analytics. Students usually complete the program within 24 months. They can also transfer credits from two previous graduate classes, speeding up the program. Redlands' MBA courses focus on teaching students how to approach business from a managerial standpoint. Students take courses like management and organizational behavior, marketing management, and investment theory and analysis. On top of students' core courses, they must complete a four-credit capstone.

Applicants to this online MBA in California must apply with an accredited undergraduate degree. Prospective students should reach out to Redlands to learn more about admissions requirements.

View School Profile
University of Southern California
Location Los Angeles , CA Tuition $$$$$ % Receiving Financial Aid 37 Student Population 43,401 Tuition $95,603 School Type Private

One of the largest institutions of higher education in California, the Los Angeles-based University of Southern California offers an online master of business administration program. Students can complete coursework online, but they must first undergo a one-week on-campus residency.

The distance learning classes involve 2-3 live video lectures that students view online. Students then read, finish homework, and participate in discussion board conversations with their classmates at their convenience. After learners finish core coursework, they can choose whether to emphasize in areas like project management or entrepreneurship. They might also opt to pursue a graduate certificate in optimization and supply chain management. Finally, learners may decide on a dual degree program, pairing their MBA with a master's in engineering, gerontology, or social work.

Applicants must have completed a bachelor's degree from an accredited institution and at least two years of work experience. The school also requires prospective students to take the GMAT or GRE.

View School Profile

Why Consider an Online MBA in California?

California offers approximately 46 online MBA programs. Top-ranked programs include the Marshall School of Business at the University of Southern California, the Graziadio School of Business and Management at Pepperdine University, the Anderson School of Management at UC Los Angeles, UC Irvine's Paul Merage School of Business, and the Stanislaus College of Business Administration at CSU Stanislaus.

One of the most valuable benefits of distance education is that students can complete their studies anytime, anywhere

The high cost of living in cities like San Francisco, San Diego, and San Jose make online learning in California beneficial to students pursuing their MBA. College attendance in smaller towns and rural areas would require significant commuting time and expense, making an online education more advantageous and affordable.

Number of Students Enrolled in Distance Education (2015)

Undergraduate Graduate
Any Distance 216,880 37,003
Exclusively Distance 299,213 77,545
On-Campus 2,199,947 236,450
Source: Distance Education California Almanac 2017

Distance Enrollment by Institution Type (2015)

All Students Graduate Students Enrolled in Any Distance
Private for-profit 28,201 16,180
Private not-for-profit 137,274 31,923
Public 107,978 9,455
Source: Distance Education California Almanac 2017

MBA Concentrations for California Students

California's economy features a wide array of career opportunities. Students pursuing an online MBA can specialize their studies to align with one of California's top industries, which include transportation, military and defense, healthcare, and computer and information security. MBA graduates with a specialization in computer and information security, for example, enjoy job security in California because the state's industries rely on online infrastructure and operating systems, which makes information security vital.

As California's largest employer, Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) hires graduates who specialized in homeland security and computer and information security. The UCLA healthcare system represents the state's third-largest employer, and MBA graduates with a specialization in healthcare administration can enjoy advantages in this field.

  • Computer and Information Security: Computer security professionals can pursue careers in a variety of industries. This MBA concentration teaches the team and project leadership skills graduates need to address online security threats.
  • Homeland Security: A homeland security concentration considers law enforcement, public safety, emergency medical care, and disaster preparedness in its business curriculum, preparing graduates for management careers in government.
  • Healthcare Administration: Business instruction specialized in healthcare considers legal and ethical concerns and healthcare policies. This concentration enables graduates to pursue careers in hospitals, health insurance agencies, government agencies, public health agencies, and social services.

Accreditation in California

Accredited institutions offer the best online MBA programs in California. These schools meet strict academic and ethical standards set by quality control organizations, known as accrediting bodies. Depending on the accrediting body in question, a school may obtain either regional or national accreditation. National accreditation usually applies to for-profit vocational or technical institutions, while nonprofit schools usually receive regional accreditation. Of the two types of accreditation, regional is generally considered more prestigious.

Credits earned at nationally accredited schools are less likely to transfer than those earned at regionally accredited institutions. If you want to improve your career prospects with an online MBA, consider one of California's many regionally accredited institutions.

California Economy, Career, and Job Outlook for MBA Graduates

California's economic landscape is shaped by industry growth and the career opportunities available to the state's workforce. The information industry relies on the production and distribution of data, and provides the channels for processing data, as well. In California, Silicon Valley represents information industry's main hub, boasting 3.5% industry growth for April 2019.

The education and health services industries, on the other hand, are concentrated in the Central Sierra and Upstate California regions, including Sacramento. These industries should grow by 2.9% in April 2019. The San Francisco Bay Area is home to the professional and business services industries, which should experience a 2.5% growth in April 2019.

California boasts the world's fifth-largest economy. The state's gross domestic product surpassed 2.7 trillion dollars in 2017, and it should continue to grow over the next decade.

California is known for entertainment and tourism, as well, making its leisure and hospitality industries essential to the state's economy. These industries should experience a 2.1% growth in April 2019.

California boasts the world's fifth-largest economy. The state's gross domestic product surpassed 2.7 trillion dollars in 2017, and it should continue to grow over the next decade. Due to climate change; however, California has become particularly susceptible to wildfires and drought. These natural disasters cost the state billions of dollars each year, concerning residents for reasons beyond economic impact.

Company Location Main Industry Number of Employees
LAX Los Angeles Transportation 45,000
32nd Street Naval Station San Diego Military and Defense 42,951
UCLA Health System Los Angeles Health Care 35,543
Source: California State Profile: Largest Employers

Most industries require employees with computer and information security expertise to secure data and protect online systems. Graduates with homeland security and healthcare administration concentrations qualify for employment at LAX and in the UCLA health system. Employees with these specializations require less on-the-job training and prior work experience, giving them leverage on the job market.

Earning Potential with an MBA in the State of California

Earning an online MBA boosts earning potential for graduates in California. The table below lists majors for which an online MBA increases median annual salaries by approximately $20,000 to $30,000. These salaries compensate for California's high cost of living, but positions with higher salaries often require candidates to hold graduate degrees and specialized skills -- all part of an online MBA.

Industry growth in the coming years makes job prospects in California more appealing for career-seeking graduates.

Salary for Graduate Business Majors (2015)

Major Median Annual Salary
Business Economics $107,000
Business Management and Administration $92,000
General Business $103,000
International Business $83,000
Miscellaneous Business and Medical Administration $61,000
Source: Georgetown Center on Education and the Workforce

Careers for MBAs in California

Information Technology Manager

IT managers oversee their employer's online systems, data, and infrastructure. They research and integrate new applications to upgrade existing online operations. IT managers supervise department professionals and manage employee online access, enforcing company rules. Maintaining security represents a primary responsibility in this career, and these professionals earn a median annual salary around $87,200.

Financial Controller

Earning a median annual salary of about $81,500, financial controllers manage company financial operations pertaining to accounting, budgeting, and auditing. These professionals produce profit and loss statements, balance sheets, and required documentation for federal and state regulatory agencies. Financial controllers identify and present financial risk concerns to senior management and maintain tax compliance.

Human Resources Manager

HR managers oversee employee benefits, health insurance, sick leave, open enrollment, hiring guidelines, and vacation time. They research and recommend competitive salary and benefit packages for their employers. HR managers create and maintain an accommodating, safe work environment, and they address workplace complaints. Human resources managers earn a median annual salary of about $65,800.

Financial Analyst

Financial analysts advise corporations in resource investment. They observe market trends to predict short and long-term corporate growth and manage risk. Financial analysts advise their employers in issuing bonds and splitting stock. They report to corporate executives and boards, empowering them with information to make the best financial decisions. Financial analysts earn about a $59,700 median annual salary.

Management Consultant

Management consultants research and analyze data to improve their company's administration, productivity, and public image. They use data to draft reports articulating their company's outlook, and they diagram its processes to solve current problems and anticipate future challenges. Management consultants earn a $87,100 median annual salary.

How to Choose an Online MBA in California

There are many important considerations to make before settling on an online MBA program in California. These include factors discussed above like cost, accreditation, and available specializations. The following list includes some key steps to follow during the program research process for MBA options in any state.

  • Compare student outcomes data

    Student outcomes include graduation rate, year-to-year retention rate, the average debt for a graduate from that school, and overall student satisfaction with their degree program. Student outcomes do not guarantee you will be satisfied with a particular program, but can be useful for pinpointing a school's strengths and weaknesses.

  • Estimate the expected costs of your programs

    Virtually every accredited college or university posts tuition rates online. Additionally, you should research other college-related costs like living accommodations and meal plans (if you plan to live on-campus), administrative fees, and technology fees (for online students). You should also look into scholarships, grants, and other forms of institutional financial aid that can offset some of the costs.

  • Check that classes will fit in with your schedule

    Scheduling is critical for students with other important commitments, such as childcare or full-time employment. Many online programs are asynchronous, or self-paced; students in these tracks are free to complete course requirements on their own schedule. Synchronous programs, on the other hand, require weekly online meetings with teachers and fellow students.

  • Look for partnerships with local businesses

    A large number of online MBA programs include internship and/or capstone practicum requirements ― and in many cases, students are able to gain on-the-job training and real-world office experience. You should look into the school's business partnerships, particularly in regard to the industry you plan to enter after earning your MBA.

  • Make sure the program is accredited

    Accreditation status should always be available and easily accessible on a school's website. In addition to regional or national accreditation, some MBA pathways receive programmatic accreditation. Recognized programmatic accreditors for MBA programs include the Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs (ACBSP) and the International Accreditation Counsel for Business Education (IACBE).

  • Talk to current students and/or recent alumni

    You should contact the alumni office at each school you are considering and ask to be connected with former students. These individuals can be good sources of information about education costs, life on- and off-campus, local business tips, and other important details for aspiring MBA students.

Online MBA Programs in Surrounding States

Top of Page