La Sierra University is a Seventh-day Adventist coeducational institution that began as La Sierra Academy in 1922, on acreage that had been part of an 1846 Mexican land grant known as Rancho La Sierra. It is now part of the city of Riverside. In 1923, with the addition of coursework in preparation for teaching, the school became La Sierra Academy and Normal School. As the offerings continued to grow, it became Southern California Junior College in 1927 and La Sierra College in 1939. Accreditation as a four-year liberal arts college was received in 1946.
In 1967, La Sierra College was merged with Loma Linda University as its College of Arts and Sciences. The School of Education was organized in 1968, followed in 1986 by the School of Business and Management and the Division of Continuing Studies, and in 1987 by the School of Religion.
The Loma Linda and La Sierra campuses of Loma Linda University were reorganized into separate institutions in 1990, and four schools (the College of Arts and Sciences, the School of Education, the School of Business and Management, and the School of Religion) and the Division of Continuing Studies became La Sierra University.