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In 1960 the California Legislature and Governor Pat Brown approved the establishment of the California Master Plan for Higher Education. The Master Plan assigns specific roles to three separate institutions of publicly supported higher education in California.
The University of California (UC) and its 10 campuses are focused on research-oriented careers and theory based teaching. 9 out of the 10 UCs offer undergraduate programs. Over 600 choices for undergraduate and graduate degrees. (Further information on the UC system).
The California State University (CSU) System and its 23 campuses have a pratical application focus on applied majors and careers. The CSU system offers over 4,100 undergraduate and graduate degrees. (Further information on the CSU system).
The third component of the Master Plan is the California Community College (CCC) System. Composed of 116 campuses spread throughout the state, the CCC prepares students for transfer to four-year institutions, offers specialized certificate programs, and awards the A.A. degree in a number of subjects (Further information on the community college system). Specifically, the South Orange County Community College District (SOCCCD) serves the Capistrano Unified School District attendance boundary. SOCCCD has three separate and distinct campuses: Saddleback College, Irvine Valley College, and the Advanced Technology and Education Park (located in Tustin). Saddleback College is the main destination for CUSD students (Further information on Saddleback College).
In addition to the California public university system, the state has over 85 private colleges and universities of varying size and orientation. Some are large campuses—Stanford and the University of Southern California—that compete with UC and CSU for students. Others, like Harvey Mudd, are very small (350 students), highly selective, and specifically focused (physical sciences and engineering).
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