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 ten campuses are responsible for conducting intensive research and awarding of the pinnacle of the American collegiate system, the Doctor of Philosophy degree (see http://www.ucop.ed/ucal for further information on the UC system).
The California State University (CSU) System and its 23 campuses have two distinct roles: the training of teachers and high-level career preparation for immediate employment after the baccalaureate degree. The CSU system does offer graduate programs and the M.A. degree. In 2005 the California Education Roundtable and the Intersegmental Commission agreed to permit several CSU campuses, including Fullerton, to offer the Doctor of Education degree (see http://www.calstate.edu for further information on the CSU system).
The third component of the Master Plan is the California Community College (CCC) System. Comprised of 109 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 (see http://www.cccco.edu for 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 (see: http://www.saddleback.edu for further information on Saddleback College).
In addition to the California public university system, the state has over 77 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). Stanford and USC confer doctorates; Harvey Mudd offers baccalaureate degrees, but does have a connection to Cal Tech to achieve a doctoral degree (see the following website for further information regarding California private universities and colleges: http://www.aiccu.edu).
For many years, UC and CSU campuses maintained different entrance/admissions requirements. In an attempt to avoid the confusion, the California Education Roundtable (CER), the California Post Secondary Education Commission (CPSEC), the Board of Admissions and Relations with Schools (BOARS), and the Academic Senates of UC/CSU met in the 1990s to explore the possibility of establishing common entrance requirements to both UC and CSU.