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Big West Conference

Learn About the 9 Colleges in the Big West Conference

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The Big West Conference (BWC) is an NCAA Division I athletic conference.  The confernce sponsors 16 sports (football is not sponsored). Currently all members are from California. With the exception of the University of Hawaii at Manoa, all member institutions are part of the Cal State or University of California systems.  The conference's headquarters are located in Irvine, California.  .

Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo

Cal Poly Campus
scrapygraphics / Flickr
Cal Poly, or the California Polytechnic Institute at San Luis Obispo, is consistently ranked as one of the top undergraduate engineering schools in the country. Its schools of architecture and agriculture are also ranked highly. Cal Poly has a "learn by doing" philosophy of education, and students do just that on the sprawling campus of just under 10,000 acres that includes a ranch and vineyard. Cal Poly is the most selective of the Cal State schools.
  • Location: San Luis Obispo, California
  • School type: Public engineering school
  • Enrollment: 18,762 (17,725 undergraduates)
  • Team: Mustangs
  • For acceptance rate, test scores, costs and other information, see the Cal Poly admission profile.

Cal State Fullerton

Cal State Fullerton
bluemodern / Flickr

Cal State Fullerton is one of the largest universities in the California State University system. Established in 1957, this public university now offers 55 bachelor's and 50 master's degree programs. Business is the most popular program among undergraduates. The university's 236-acre campus is located in Orange Country near Los Angeles. The school wins high marks for the diversity of its student body and the number of degrees awarded to minority students. 

  • Location: Fullerton, California
  • School type: Public university
  • Enrollment: 36,156 (30,782 undergraduates)
  • Team: Titans
  • Explore the Campus: CSUF Photo Tour
  • For acceptance rate, test scores, costs and other information, see the Cal State Fullerton admission profile.

Cal State Long Beach

California State University at Long Beach - CSULB
porcupiny / Flickr

California State University at Long Beach, or CSULB, was established in 1949 and has since grown to be one of the largest universities in the CSU system. The 323-acre campus is located in Los Angeles Country and features impressive landscaping and a distinctive pyramid-shaped sporting complex. CSULB often wins high marks for its value, and the university was awarded a chapter of Phi Beta Kappa for its strengths in the liberal arts and sciences. Business administration is the most popular major among undergraduates. 

  • Location: Long Beach, California
  • School type: Public university
  • Enrollment: 34,870 (29,371 undergraduates)
  • Team: 49ers
  • Explore the Campus: CSULB Photo Tour
  • For acceptance rate, test scores, costs and other information, see the Cal State Long Beach admission profile.

Cal State Northridge

Cal State Northridge
College Watch / Wikimedia Commons

Cal State Northridge is one of the larger universities in the California State University System. The school's 365-acre campus is located in Los Angeles' San Fernando Valley. The university is made up of nine colleges that offer a total of 64 bachelor's and 52 master's degree programs. Business Administration and Psychology are the most popular majors among CSUN undergraduates. The university has earned high marks for its programs in music, engineering and business. 

  • Location: Northridge, California
  • School type: Public university
  • Enrollment: 36,911 (31,893 undergraduates)
  • Team: Matadors
  • For acceptance rate, test scores, costs and other information, see the Cal State Northridge admission profile.

Hawaii (University of Hawaii at Manoa)

University of Hawaii at Manoa
hellochris / Flickr
Manoa's strengths are many, including highly ranked programs in astronomy, oceanography, cancer research, and Pacific Island and Asian studies. The university has a diverse student body representing all 50 states and 103 countries. UH at Manoa is the only college in Hawaii to have a chapter of the prestigious Phi Beta Kappa Honor Society.
  • Location: Honolulu, Hawaii
  • School type: Public
  • Enrollment: 20,429 (14,402 undergraduates)
  • Team: Warriors
  • For acceptance rate, test scores, costs and other information, see the University of Hawaii at Manoa profile.

UC Davis

UC Davis Performing Arts
basykes / Flickr

UC Davis, the University of California at Davis, is frequently ranked among the top public universities in the United States. The school's excellent in research and teaching has earned it membership in the Association of American Universities, and strengths in the liberal arts and sciences earned it a chapter of Phi Beta Kappa. The school's 5,300-acre campus, located west of Sacramento, is the largest in the UC system. UC Davis offers over 100 undergraduate majors, and the university's strengths are diverse -- arts, humanities, biological sciences, and engineering. 

  • Location: Davis, California
  • School type: Public research university
  • Enrollment: 31,732 (25,038 undergraduates)
  • Team: Aggies
  • For acceptance rate, test scores, costs and other information, see the UC Davis admission profile.

UC Irvine

UC Irvine
Ned Raggett / Flickr

The University of California at Irvine is located in the heart of Orange County. The 1,500-acre campus has an interesting circular design with Aldrich Park in the center. The park features a network of paths running through the gardens and trees. Like the other top University of California schools, Davis has a chapter of Phi Beta Kappa and membership in the Association of American Universities

  • Location: Irvine, California
  • School type: Public research university
  • Enrollment: 27,189 (22,004 undergraduates)
  • Team: Anteaters
  • Explore the Campus: UC Irvine photo tour
  • For acceptance rate, test scores, costs and other information, see the UC Irvine admission profile.

UC Riverside

UCR Botanic Garden
gtrwndr87 / Flickr

Located 50 miles east of downtown Los Angeles, the University of California at Riverside is one of the ten schools in the UC system. The school is in a period of rapid expansion, and it has been recognized as one of the most ethnically diverse research universities in the country. Business Administration is by far the most popular major among undergraduates, but the university has strengths in the liberal arts and sciences that have earned it a chapter of the prestigious Phi Beta Kappa Honor Society

  • Location: Riverside, California
  • School type: Public research university
  • Enrollment: 20,900 (18,522 undergraduates)
  • Team: Highlanders
  • For acceptance rate, test scores, costs and other information, see the UC Riverside admission profile.

UC Santa Barbara

UCSB
tkramer / Flickr

UCSB has wide ranging strengths in the sciences, social sciences, humanities, and engineering that have earned it membership in the selective Association of American Universities and a chapter of Phi Beta Kappa. The 1,000 acre campus is also a draw for many students, for the university has miles of beach-front property on the California coast. UCSB made one of my lists of top public universities.

  • Location: Santa Barbara, California
  • School type: Public research university
  • Enrollment: 21,685 (18,620 undergraduates)
  • Team: Gauchos
  • Explore the Campus: UCSB Photo Tour
  • For acceptance rate, test scores, costs and other information, see the UC Santa Barbara admission profile.

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