Cal Maritime students graduate ready to hit the high seas. That's due partly to the school's annual training program, in which students live and work aboard a 500-foot ship, the Golden Bear, following an itinerary that might take them through the Panama Canal or across the Atlantic Ocean to Europe. The hands-on experience, plus the rigorous curriculum offerings in the school's seven nautical degree programs, gives graduates the skills and experience to sail smoothly into the job force. Students can pursue majors in marine transportation and oceanography, and where better to do it than at a waterfront campus on the San Francisco Bay?

The university’s cost of attendance is well below national averages and the small average class size helps to foster a sense of community and close interactions with professors. The school, one of seven degree-granting maritime institutions in the U.S. and the only one on the West Coast, places students into high-paying jobs, with alumni earning median salaries of nearly $92,000 per year a decade after they enrolled. (About 8% of students enter the military when they graduate.) Most people live on campus, and all students have to wear a uniform to class. Luckily, as the university's website says, "everybody looks good in khaki."