Study in California (Guide), USA: Top Universities, Courses, Fees

Did you know that California is among the most popular states in the United States for Indian students to study? If you are an Indian student striving to study abroad, particularly in the USA, you can consider studying in California.


The United States of America has consistently been the top choice for Indian students willing to pursue higher education abroad. International students’ enrollment at American colleges and universities has exponentially increased in recent years. Additionally, the spike was driven by 35% more Indian students and all the other international students studying in the United States.


In this blog, we have covered all the essential details regarding the benefits of studying in California, the top courses to study in California, the cost of study in California for Indian students, and other vital things. Let’s begin the blog and get the complete information.

Why Study in California?

A strong reason why so many students are attracted to California is that the state provides excellent academic opportunities. Before getting into the specifics of the city, let’s first discuss why studying in California is so significant.


  1. QS-Ranked Universities: Several QS-ranked universities are in the top 10 in California. Stanford University is third, and California University of Technology is sixth.

  2. Diverse Culture: California is home to many different cultural groups. The city is also known for its great student life, with the best festivals, restaurants, national parks, etc. It is a complete student heaven for Indian students.

  3. Best Student-Friendly Cities: California has many student-friendly places such as LA and San Francisco. According to the QS ranking, LA ranks 30th etc. These have been popular choices among Indian students over the years.

  4. Best Academic Opportunities: The state is home to the School of Medicine, College of Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences, the School of Education, the School of Business, and the School of Public Health, so there is a wide variety to choose from.


If you are looking for information regarding top courses and their fee structure to study in California, you can fill out the application form and connect with our counsellors at Meridean Overseas.


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Best California Universities

Many California universities are well-known, highly regarded, and acclaimed for providing top-notch excellence in diverse fields of study. Even though several are on the list, some have long been well-liked options.


Below, we have given the list of the best California universities for Indian students to consider while shortlisting universities to study in California:

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Top Courses to Study in California

The idea of studying in California is a massive hit because the city offers a range of courses to choose from. Students are free to choose any course they wish to pursue and, in return, expect superior quality education to improve their abilities and knowledge base further:


The top courses to study in California are:

  • Business

  • Management

  • Arts

  • Music

  • Computer Science

  • Law

  • Social Sciences

  • Physical Sciences

  • Engineering


You can pursue these courses in multiple ways, such as:


In California, the course duration is as follows:

  • Undergraduate courses- 4 years

  • Graduate courses- minimum 2 years, maximum 4 years

  • Doctorate courses- minimum 4 years, maximum 6 years


Also, read: Study in USA without IELTS

Eligibility Criteria to Study in California

Students must fulfil the criteria for admission before they can apply to the universities where they desire to study in California. While these requirements may vary from university to university, there are some standard requirements which are as follows:


The student should secure a GPA score of 3.4 or higher to be accepted into their dream university.


Universities use English Language Proficiency (ELP) to assess a student’s level of proficiency in the language. You can take various ELP tests, including the TOEFL, IBT and IELTS. Each has a different score; for example, the IELTS requires 6.5 or above, and the SAT requires 31 for language and writing.


Students must submit academic transcripts, depending on the program they want to enrol in. For example, you need a high school transcript to apply to an undergraduate program and a bachelor’s degree to apply to a graduate program.


You must apply for a student visa to the United States and apply to any university abroad. Students need an F1 visa to enter California and pursue education there. The visa is valid for 60 days after the academic study program chosen is over.


Students must determine whether entrance tests are required to apply for courses. For example, NEET scores are necessary for Indian students applying to study medicine in California.


Admission Process to Study in California

Below are a few points regarding the admission process to study in California for International students.

  • Identify which course you wish to study in California

  • Choose the university that offers your preferred course

  • Go to the official university website to fully understand the entry requirements

  • Check if any entrance exams are required to be undertaken

  • Pay the application fee if required

  • Send the necessary paperwork before the application deadline.

  • Attend any interview if scheduled

  • Once cleared, wait for confirmation

  • Apply for a student visa if accepted, and arrange for funding


Documents Required to Study in California

Students must attach supporting documents to enroll in the best California universities. Below is the checklist:

  • A copy of educational transcripts

  • Letter of recommendation

  • Work experience proof

  • English language proficiency test scores

  • Entrance exam proof (GRE, NEET)

  • Visa proof

  • Application fee payment proof

  • SAT, ACT, IB etc proof

  • Subject wise score proof

  • GPA score proof 

Cost of Study in California for Indian Students

Two factors decide the financial value of studying in California: the cost of living in California for Indian students and the University of California fees for Indian students.


Tuition Fees

The cost of studying in California varies based on your academic level and chosen courses:

Undergraduate studies

13,000 USD- 54,000 USD/year

Graduate studies

8,000 USD- 69,000 USD/year

Postgraduate studies

33,000 USD/year and more

Cost of Living

Indian students’ living expenses in California vary depending on several factors, including where they choose to live and their lifestyle preferences. For example, California’s total monthly living expenses would be 1,500 USD. Health insurance, travel, accommodation, groceries, and other additional expenses are generally expensive in this region.

Scholarships in California for Indian Students

The financial strain can be effectively handled, whether it is the University of California tuition fees for Indian students or the expense of living in California through securing scholarships. These scholarships provide financial options that make it easier for Indian students to attend classes in this beautiful city without any difficulties.


For scholarship application assistance, contact our expert counsellors at Meridean Overseas.


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The following is a list of five such scholarships in California for Indian students:

Scholarship Name


Lyman G. Chaffee Scholarship

CSU IP Scholarship

  • For international students who are accepted into the CSU IP program

  • Award three 1500 USD for semester program, five 750 USD for first-year academic study and one 7500 USD, calendar year

WID Scholar Program

  • For women who wish to pursue UG or Graduate program in core subjects such as history, etc, in any USA universities

  • Support women to pursue their academic degree in the USA

Fulbright Foreign Student Program

  • For foreign students who wish to research and study in USA universities either in UG, Graduate or PG programs

Optimist International Oratorical Contest Scholarship

  • Pursue UG programs in USA universities under any subject

  • The top three winners selected will be paid 2500 USD, 1500 USD and 1000 USD

Also, read: Fall Intake in USA

Career Opportunities After Studying in California

After completing your education in California, you will have a variety of career options. The job descriptions and expected salaries differ according to your education and experience. Here is a summary of common job profiles and average wage expectations to give you a better idea:

Job Profile

Average Annual Salary

Software Engineer

112,769 USD

Operations Manager

74,648 USD

Dentists, General

145,616 USD

Human Resource Manager

77,711 USD

Art Directors

123,537 USD

Part-Time Jobs in California for Indian Students

California allows students to work part-time for less than 40 hours a week. Depending on the work undertaken, students can earn up to 15 USD on an hourly basis. Potential job profiles for part-timers include stylists, freelance tutors, store associates, sales interns, and more.


Here is an overview of the part-time salaries based on the brands in California:

Brand Name

Average Hourly Pay


15-17 USD

Smart & Final

16-17 USD


15-16 USD


18-20 USD


17 USD


To sum up, Indian students choose to study in California for variety of reasons. There is no better place for a student wish to study abroad than California, which is home to the greatest universities in the country, offers high-paying part-time jobs to Indian students, and offers a wide range of postgraduate degrees.


If you want to know more about studying in California, universities, courses, and fees or intend to study in California, we encourage you to speak with our team of expert counsellors at Meridean Overseas Education Consultants (MOEC). Our counsellors will provide you with guidance throughout your study abroad. Get help with the application process, SOPs, and filing for a visa. Visit us and get one-to-one counselling, or avail yourself of free video counselling via our website. We will be happy to help you, so please do not hesitate to contact us at [email protected] or 1800-1230-00011.

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Question: Is California suitable for Indian students?

Answer: Indian students attend California more than any other state in the United States. According to The Los Angeles Times, almost 160,000 Indian students pursued their education in California in 2019. The top universities in California for Indian students are Berkeley, UC San Diego, USC, and UCLA.


Question: How much does it cost to study in California?

Answer: China accounts for almost 42% of California’s international student population, while India accounts for about 12%. Although the state provides excellent education, tuition for out-of-country students is relatively expensive. Renowned public universities charge approximately $44,000 per year for out-of-country tuition, whereas in-state tuition only costs roughly $10,000.


Question: Is California a good place to attend college?

Answer: Yes, California is a good place to attend college. Many colleges offer better academics, pleasant weather, and plenty of recreational activities. The state is a clear choice for those interested in particular career paths involving technology or film. Furthermore, some of the greatest universities in the country are located in California, such as USC, Stanford, Berkeley, and UCLA.


Question: What makes the University of California unique?

Answer: For the first two years of their studies, students enrolled at California community universities are eligible for the California College Promise Program, which offers free tuition. You must be a resident of California and fulfil the program’s requirements to be eligible for the California College Promise Program.


Question: What are the top courses to study in California?

Answer: Business studies, management, law, Arts, and Music are popular courses to consider when studying in California.


Question: Can I study in California for free?

Answer: Indian students must pay tuition fees to enrol in any university. However, there are scholarships in California for Indian students.


Question: Why do Indian students consider studying in the best California universities?

Answer: International students prefer to study in the best California universities because of the high academic standards, good student life, and diverse culture.


Question: Do I have to take IELTS to study in California?

Answer: You must take IELTS with a band score of 7.0 to study in California; other universities will accept 6.5. However, if you can demonstrate that English was your secondary education’s language of instruction, you can attend California State Institution without taking the IELTS exam.


Question: Did I do a part-time job in California?

Answer: Yes, California allows students to work part-time for less than 40 hours a week. Students can earn up to 15 USD hourly, depending on the work undertaken.


Question: What are the benefits of studying in California?

Answer: The benefits of studying in California are that it offers QS-ranked universities, a Student Paradise, a Diverse Culture, and the Best Student City are some of the reasons.

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