Universities & Colleges near Los Altos

Diploma & CapFamilies move into Los Altos because of the superb quality of life, and overall stunning beauty of the Bay Area. There are opportunities to enjoy day trips to world-class snow-skiing, breathtaking scenery, local vineyards and some of the most beautiful California coastline within a short drive. However, one of the compelling aspects of Los Altos is its close proximity not only to the many of the global companies of Silicon Valley, but also to the intellectual resources found at many of the nearby education institutions.

Universities and Colleges have the ability to nurture and grow entrepreneurial talent. For the past forty years, Silicon Valley has been at the epicenter of new ideas, and new companies. With so many excellent Bay Area educational institutions, we chose to focus on a sample of those located within a short drive from Los Altos. From Nobel Prize winners to undergraduates, all members of these institutions are engaged in creating new knowledge, whether in the sciences, business, or the arts.


Stanford UniversityThe Leland Stanford Junior University commonly referred to as Stanford University or Stanford, is a private research university located just 10 minutes north of Los Altos. The university was founded in 1885 by former California governor and Senator Leland Stanford and his wife, Jane Lathrop Stanford, as a memorial to their son. To the west of the University’s 8,180-acre campus are the Santa Cruz Mountains and Pacific Ocean, and to the east San Francisco Bay.

Today, Stanford enrolls about 6,700 undergraduate and about 8,000 graduate students from the United States and around the world every year. The university is divided into a number of schools such as the Stanford Business School, Stanford Law School, Stanford School of Medicine, and Stanford School of Engineering. The university is in Silicon Valley, and its alumni have founded companies including Nike, Hewlett-Packard, Sun Microsystems, Nvidia, Yahoo!, Cisco Systems, Silicon Graphics and Google.

U.S. News and World Report ranked Stanford’s undergraduate program fourth in the nation, and Stanford is consistently ranked high in other college and university rankings. For example, the Stanford Law School is ranked third in the nation while its Education School and Business School are both ranked second. Stanford School of Medicine is currently ranked sixth in research according to U.S. News and World Report.

Of course, Stanford is more than just a wonderful to earn a degree. The University is a tax-exempt corporate trust owned and governed by a privately-appointed 35-member Board of Trustees. Trustees serve five-year terms and meet five times annually. The Stanford trustees also oversee the Stanford Research Park, the Stanford Shopping Center, the Cantor Center for Visual Arts, Stanford University Medical Center and many associated medical facilities (including the Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital).

Santa Clara University

Santa Clara UniversitySanta Clara University (SCU) is a private, co-educational Jesuit-affiliated university located in Santa Clara, California. Chartered by the state of California and accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges, it operates in collaboration with the Society of Jesus (Jesuits), whose members founded the school in 1851. Santa Clara is the oldest operating institution of higher learning in California and the oldest Catholic university in the American West. It is one of 28 member institutions of the Association of Jesuit Colleges and Universities.

Only 15 minutes south of Los Altos, Santa Clara is civilly chartered and governed by a board of trustees, which appoints the president. Over the last century, the Santa Clara University campus, located along the famed El Camino Real in Santa Clara, has expanded to more than 104 acres. Amid its many mission style academic and residential buildings are the historic mission gardens, rose garden, and palm trees.

The University’s different academic programs are split into six different schools. The Carnegie Foundation classifies Santa Clara as a master’s level university, which denotes that the institution offers only a few, if any, PhD programs. In U.S. News & World Report’s collegiate rankings of 123 master’s universities on the West Coast, Santa Clara consistently ranks second. The same publication ranks its part-time MBA program 13th and its executive MBA program 19th in the nation. Separately, the undergraduate business program of the Leavey School of Business was ranked 27th in the nation by Business Week.

SCU maintains its Catholic and Jesuit affiliation and supports numerous initiatives intended to further its religious mission. All bachelor’s degrees require three religious studies courses as part of the academic core. An emphasis on social justice is furthered through the Pedro Arrupe Partnership and Kolvenbach Solidarity Programs, which offer service opportunities in the community and immersion opportunities throughout the world. Additionally, the Markkula Center for Applied Ethics and the Center for Science, Technology, and Society also have programs that serve the University and its broader community.

San Jose State University

San Jose State UniversitySan Jose State University (SJSU) was founded by the California legislature in 1862 as the California State Normal School, and is the founding campus of the California State University (CSU) system. As a member institution of the CSU System, SJSU falls under the jurisdiction of the California State University Board of Trustees and the Chancellor of the California State University.

Located just 20 minutes south of Los Altos, the university enrolls approximately 30,000 students in over 130 different bachelor’s and master’s degree programs, and is believed to be the oldest public institution of higher education on the West Coast of the United States. The main campus comprises approximately 55 buildings situated on a rectangular area in downtown San Jose. The campus is bordered by San Fernando Street to the north, San Salvador Street to the south, South 4th Street to the west, and South 10th Street to the east. The South Campus, which is home to many of the school’s athletic facilities, is located just south of the main campus

According to U.S. News and World Report, SJSU is ranked 45th among all master’s-level colleges and universities in the Western region of the United States. Among its public peer institutions, U.S. News ranked SJSU 13th in the Western region, and gave the university a top-tier academic ranking overall. On a national level, the university tied for 14th place for the best undergraduate engineering program, placed 5th for the best computer engineering program, and tied for 5th place for the best industrial/manufacturing engineering program out of over 550 master’s-level colleges and universities.

San Jose State University provides Silicon Valley firms with more graduates than any other college or university, and philanthropic support of SJSU is among the highest in the CSU system. Sports are also important to the University, which has participated in athletics since it first fielded a baseball team in 1890. SJSU sports teams are known as the Spartans, and compete in the Western Athletic Conference (WAC) in NCAA Division I. As of last year, SJSU had won more NCAA team championships (10) and produced more NCAA Division 1 individual champions (50) than any other school in the WAC.

Foothill College (2 Year)

Foothill CollegeFoothill College is a community college located just 5 minutes west of Los Altos, and is part of the Foothill-De Anza Community College District. It was founded on January 15, 1957 by its first Superintendent and President Dr. Calvin C. Flint. Since its founding when Time Magazine referred to the campus as a “a mountaintop among U.S. junior colleges,” Foothill has set a high standard in community college education by defining excellence in terms of quality, integrity and the success of its students. Today, Foothill continues that tradition of excellence by offering students a high quality general education curriculum, high-demand career programs, support services and state-of-the-art facilities.

Today, Foothill College is regarded as one of the most beautiful and successful community colleges in the United States. Its unique neo-Japanese architecture is well-known among architects. Traditionally, the college serves the communities of Los Altos, Los Altos Hills, Mountain View, and Palo Alto. Together these communities form the northwest corner of Silicon Valley.

The college sits next to Interstate 280, at the interchange with El Monte Road, and is particularly known for the quality of its teaching. The faculty has won a number of state and national awards for education. For example, Foothill has more winners of the Hayward Award for “Excellence in Education” than any other community college in the state. Foothill’s student government is recognized as one of the most influential, active and involved in decision making process out of all community colleges throughout the United States.



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