Vanguard University of Southern California

Costa Mesa, CA

Vanguard University of Southern California

Costa Mesa, CA

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Christian Life

Christian Life Profile

A first-tier private Christian university in Orange County, California

Orange County’s first four-year college, Vanguard University of Southern California has been equipping students since 1920 when we welcomed the first graduating class of world changers. Today, we continue to offer a top-rated Christian education combined with practical skills and training in the liberal arts and sciences to prepare you for the next chapter of your life. The mission of the University is to pursue knowledge, cultivate character, deepen faith, and equip students for spirit-empowered lives of Christ-centered leadership and service. 

Located right in Orange County, Vanguard offers exceptional academics, an authentic community, a strong spiritual climate, and endless recreational activities—plus a beach location! Vanguard may be the perfect fit—take a look. We’ve come up with the perfect mix: unbeatable academic training, a caring community where lifelong friendships are born, a beautiful campus near Southern California’s beaches and cultural attractions, and a strong spiritual foundation that puts Christ at the center of it all. We go beyond scholarship, beyond the classroom, and beyond the expected. 

Your story matters. Live it here.

Academic excellence
The combination of outstanding faculty and small class sizes—21 students on average, plus a 16:1 student-faculty ratio—means every diploma we grantis backed by personal attention. In 2017, Vanguard received reaffirmation of regional accreditation through the WASC Senior College and University Commission (WSCUC), and several of our signature programs hold specialized accreditation from the National Association of Schools of Music (NASM), the National Association of Schools of Theatre (NAST), and the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE). Since receiving a Hispanic-Serving Institution designation in 2014, the University has received three five-year federal grants: $2.75 million, $3.75 million, and— most recently in 2020—$2.9 million.  

Spiritual climate
We want students to discover their God-given calling then engage the culture around them from a Christian point of view. Our local and global mission trips, regular chapel meetings, and more than 20 student-led worship teams and ministry opportunities bring faith and service to life. Vanguard University is affiliated with the Assemblies of God denomination, and more than 24 denominations are represented on campus. 

Authentic community
Our authentic community helps students build lifelong relationships. We have 50 campus clubs and intramural sports teams, from Live2Free to volleyball to Asian Pacific Islander Club. We also have strong commuter-life programming and designated staff and student leaders. The University is home to one of the top NAIA Division I athletic programs and offers 18 intercollegiate sports. In 2014, our men’s basketball team claimed the NAIA national championship.  

Cost and financial aid
We make a great education affordable to put the Vanguard experience within reach for all students. Our direct costs are lower than many other private Christian colleges in Southern California, and we also offer generous financial aid. 
• 98% of students receive financial aid. 
• 90% of students receive an academic scholarship.
• Freshmen receive an average of $26,381 in grant or scholarship aid.
• 2020–2021 tuition: $35,850 



Ranked one of the “Best Colleges in the West” | The Princeton Review


Ranked among the top "Regional Universities in the West" | U.S. News & World Report’s, 2021 


Ranked among the top 10% of colleges and universities in the US | Forbes

• 1,700 undergraduates
• 2,200 total enrollment
• 329 days of sunshine a year in Southern California
• 4.6 miles to the beach
• 233 palm trees on campus
• 60% of students living on campus
• 200 types of food available on a typical day in the cafeteria
• Designated as a Hispanic-Serving Institution

Business, Psychology, Kinesiology, Communication, and Biology

Vanguard’s undergraduate college offers the following majors, minors, and concentrations:

Bachelor of Arts

• Accounting
• Business Administration
• Communication
   - Film/Visual Storytelling
   - lnterpersonal/lntercultural Communication Studies
   - Public Relations
   - Technology & Emerging Media
• English
• History/Political Science
• Liberal Studies (Education)
• Marketing
• Music
   - Worship Leadership
• Psychology
• Sociology
• Theatre Arts
   - Musical Theatre
   - Stage & Screen Acting/Directing
   - Technical/Design
• Theology
   - Biblical Studies
   - Christian Formation & Discipleship Studies
   - General Christian Studies
   - Intercultural Studies
   - Pastoral Leadership Studies
   - Youth Leadership Studies

Bachelor of Music
• Pre-teacher Certification

Bachelor of Science
• Actuarial Science
• Biochemistry
• Biology
   - Biomedical Science
   - Biotechnology
   - Neuroscience

• Chemistry
• Data Analysis
• Engineering Physics
• Environmental Sciences
• Kinesiology
   - Health & Human Performance
   - Pre-health Professions

• Mathematics
• Nursing

4-year integrated bachelor’s & teaching credential
• Biochemistry
• Biology
• Chemistry
• English
• Liberal Studies
• Mathematics

Art (Music)
Criminology & Criminal Justice (Sociology)
Journalism & Digital Media (English)
Pre-law Studies (History/Political Science)
• Public Health (Sociology)
Public Policy (History/Political Science)
Social Work (Sociology)
Women’s Studies (Theology) 

An Inside Look