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Best Colleges In Colorado

Last Updated on November 19, 2022 by Ibrahim Agboola

The Colorado lifestyle is appealing to many college-bound students. From sunny days to big mountains to seemingly endless opportunities for outdoor recreation, there’s a lot to love about the Centennial State. Another appealing aspect of Colorado is its Rocky Mountain higher education. The state is home to a variety of excellent colleges and universities, ranging from massive public universities like UC Boulder to small liberal arts colleges like Colorado College. 

Best Colleges In Colorado

1. University of Denver

Location: Denver, CO  

Acceptance Rate: 60%   

Middle 50% SAT: 1180-1350

Middle 50% ACT: 26-31

Undergrad Enrollment: 5,699

The University of Denver was established in 1864—just six years after the founding of Denver itself—and is the oldest independent institution of higher education in the Rocky Mountain region. The University of Denver puts the “high” in higher education: University Halls, the oldest building on campus, sits at exactly 5,280 feet (or a mile) above sea level. The university is well known for study abroad, with more than three-quarters of undergraduates choosing to go abroad sometime during their four years. 

2. Colorado School of Mines | Mines

Location: Golden, CO   

Acceptance Rate: 55%   

Middle 50% SAT: 1280-1430

Middle 50% ACT: 28-33

Undergrad Enrollment:  5,216

The Colorado School of Mines is a highly regarded public research institution focused on science and engineering. Mines is extremely proud of its outcomes—95% of students graduating with a Bachelor’s degree are employed (largely in industry or government), serving in the military, or continuing their education. Mines graduates also rank among the highest-paid in the nation. Payscale ranks the school 19th in the country on its list of colleges with the highest-paid graduates and the 7th best value college in the U.S. 

3. University of Colorado Boulder | CU Boulder

Location: Boulder, CO   

Acceptance Rate: 84%   

Middle 50% SAT: 1140-1340

Middle 50% ACT: 24-31

Undergrad Enrollment: 30,300

Located in one of the U.S.’s best places to live, it’s no wonder so many students dream of attending the University of Colorado Boulder. Most people associate CU Boulder with the outdoors, thanks to its abundance of opportunities for outdoor recreation including parks, bike paths, and scrambling in the Flatirons; however, the university provides ample opportunities inside the classroom as well. CU Boulder offers more than 4,000 courses across 150 fields of study and is one of just 36 public research institutions in the Association of American Universities (AAU), a group of institutions recognized as the leading research universities in the country.

4. Colorado State University | CSU

Location: Fort Collins, CO

Acceptance Rate: 83%   

Middle 50% SAT: 1080-1270

Middle 50% ACT: 23-29

Undergrad Enrollment: 25,186

Located on the northern end of Colorado’s Front Range, Fort Collins—home to Colorado State University—is where the outdoors, industry, and academics converge. The college is within an hour of both Rocky Mountain National Park and Estes Park; major employers like Hewlett-Packard, New Belgium Brewing, and Otterbox call the city home; and CSU continues to climb in esteem. In addition to its top-ranked academics, CSU earns accolades for its sustainability—it ranks tenth on the Sierra Club’s list of Cool Schools, a list of schools committed to protecting the natural world and encouraging environmental responsibility.  

5. University of Colorado Denver | CU Denver

Location: Denver, CO   

Acceptance Rate: 6%   

Middle 50% SAT: 1510-1560

Middle 50% ACT: 34-35

Undergrad Enrollment: 6,989

Originally founded in 1912 as an extension of CU Boulder, the University of Colorado Denver has operated independently since the early 1970s. One of the best colleges in Colorado, CU Denver is Colorado’s only urban public research institution and offers more than 130 areas of study through its seven schools:

  • Business School
  • College of Architecture & Planning
  • College of Arts & Media
  • College of Engineering, Design, & Computing
  • College of Liberal Arts & Sciences
  • School of Education & Human Development
  • School of Public Affairs

Nearly half (49%) of CU Boulder students are first-generation and 42% of students identify as Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC).

6. Regis University

Location: Denver, CO   

Acceptance Rate: 78%   

Middle 50% SAT: 1010-1200

Middle 50% ACT: 21-28

Undergrad Enrollment:  3,197

Founded in 1877, Regis University is the Jesuit university in the Rocky Mountain West. Like other Jesuit schools, the idea of magis is a founding principle of a Regis education—that is the belief in doing more to better yourself, your community, and the world. Regis University has strong ties with the Veteran community. The university commonly ranks among the most military-friendly colleges in the country, and Regis’s Center for the Study of War Experience is committed to preserving stories from war and using them to gain a fuller understanding of the political, social, economic, and cultural costs of war. 

7. University of Northern Colorado | UNC

Location: Greeley, CO  

Acceptance Rate: 90%   

Middle 50% SAT: 980-1190

Middle 50% ACT: 19-26

Undergrad Enrollment: 9,810

Founded in 1889 as the State Normal School of Colorado, today the University of Northern Colorado continues the tradition of training teachers. Education remains one of the most popular majors among the university’s 100+ undergraduate programs. Another program of note is UNC’s School of Theatre Arts and Dance, which was named a Colorado Program of Excellence by the Colorado Commission on Higher Education. About a quarter (24%) of UNC students identify as Latinx/Hispanic and the school is committed to becoming a Hispanic-serving institution. 

8. University of Colorado Colorado Springs | UCCS

Location: Colorado Springs, CO   

Acceptance Rate: 89%   

Middle 50% SAT: 1010-1200

Middle 50% ACT: 20-27

Undergrad Enrollment: 10,119

Outdoor enthusiasts of all backgrounds will love the University of Colorado Colorado Springs—it receives more than 300 days of sunshine annually and is within a few hours of ski resorts like Breckenridge, Arapahoe Basin, Monarch Copper, and Winter Park. Also helping make UCCS one of the best colleges in Colorado is its academics; UCCS offers 53 majors through its six colleges:

  • Helen and Arthur E. Johnson Beth-El College of Nursing and Health Sciences
  • College of Business
  • College of Education
  • College of Engineering and Applied Science
  • College of Letters, Arts & Sciences
  • School of Public Affairs

Included in UCCS’s offerings are some unique programs, such as PGA Golf Management, one of only eight programs in the world to boast both PGA and AACSB accreditation. 

9. Colorado Christian University

Location: Lakewood, CO   

Acceptance Rate: 6%   

Middle 50% SAT: 1080-1260

Middle 50% ACT: 21-27

Undergrad Enrollment: 1,508

With humble beginnings in a one-room schoolhouse, Colorado Christian University has grown to over 9,000 students—with over 5,000 adult undergraduate students. Colorado Christian University is the only evangelical Christian institution of higher education in the Rocky Mountain region. Non-Christian students are welcome at Colorado Christian University, however, all students, regardless of their faith are required to sign a lifestyle covenant and pledge to practice a lifestyle that is pleasing to Christ. Colorado Christian University’s lifestyle covenant prohibits:

  • Sexual relationships outside of marriage
  • Viewing or possessing pornography
  • The use of alcohol, tobacco, or non-medical drugs

Colorado Christian University makes Campus Pride’s list of the absolute worst campuses for LGBTQ Youth. 

Best Engineering Schools In Colorado

To choose the best engineering schools in Colorado for you, you should consider each school’s accreditation, location, and specialization. While there are many more criteria you should also consider when picking the ideal school, the following factors are the most important. Here’s a more detailed explanation as to why:

Accreditation

The first thing you should consider before applying to an engineering school is its accreditation. Being accredited demonstrates that a school’s academic programs have been vetted by an external body that ensures quality standards across educational institutions. Attending an accredited school gives credibility to your education and qualifies you for numerous financial aid opportunities.

Location

A school’s location is important to consider for many reasons. First and foremost, if you can’t afford to live away from home, you should only consider programs outside of where you live if they offer an online program. If moving or living away from home is possible for you, picking a school in an engineering hub can give your career prospects a boost post-graduation.

Specialization

The third most important factor to consider when choosing a good engineering school is its specialization or concentration options. Depending on your interests, you may want to look for a school that can provide you with a specialized educational experience in a field of study such as geological engineering, mechanical engineering, or aerospace engineering sciences.

Colorado Engineering School Rankings: What Schools Have the Best Engineering Programs in Colorado?

Engineering SchoolTop Undergrad ProgramTop Grad ProgramUS News Ranking
University of Colorado, BoulderBachelor of Science in Aerospace EngineeringMaster of Science in Aerospace Engineering23
Colorado School of MinesChemical EngineeringChemical and Biological Engineering55
Colorado State University, Fort CollinsBachelor of Science in Biomedical EngineeringMaster of Science in Bioengineering79
University of Colorado, DenverBachelor of Science in Mechanical EngineeringMaster of Science in Mechanical Engineering126
University of DenverBachelor of Science in Electrical EngineeringMaster of Science in Electrical Engineering146
University of Colorado, Colorado SpringsBachelor of Science in Mechanical EngineeringMaster of Science in Mechanical Engineering152-200
Colorado State University, PuebloBachelor of Science in Industrial EngineeringMaster of Science in Industrial & Systems EngineeringN/A
Colorado Technical UniversityBachelor of Science in Computer Science – Software EngineeringMaster of Science in Computer Science – Software EngineeringN/A
University of Northern ColoradoBachelor of Science in Software EngineeringMaster of Science in Sports and Exercise Science: BiomechanicsN/A
Metropolitan State University of DenverBachelor of Science in Computer EngineeringN/A

Colorado Engineering Schools Ranking Methodology: How We Ranked the Best Engineering Schools in Colorado

To rank the best engineering schools in Colorado, we used US News & World Report’s breakdown of the best engineering program as a guide. We also took into consideration the subject-specific rankings conducted by Times Higher Education, as well as factors such as graduation rate, acceptance rate, and affordability.

Best Engineering Schools in Colorado Explained

In the following section, we take a detailed look at the best engineering schools in Colorado, including information such as each school’s type, accreditation, acceptance rate, graduation rate, and national ranking. Many of these schools have a graduate school of engineering in addition to undergraduate engineering programs.

University of Colorado, Boulder | Boulder

Colorado School of Mines | Golden

Colorado State University, Fort Collins | Fort Collins

University of Colorado, Denver | Aurora

Colorado Technical University | Colorado Springs

University of Denver | Denver

University of Colorado, Colorado Springs | Colorado Springs

Colorado State University, Pueblo | Pueblo

University of Northern Colorado | Greeley

Metropolitan State University of Denver | Denver

Best Undergraduate Engineering Schools in Colorado

The best undergraduate Engineering schools in Colorado offer a wide variety of degree programs for engineering students at the undergraduate level. In the following section, you can find a list of the best engineering schools for associate degrees and bachelor’s degrees.

Best Engineering Associate Degree Schools in Colorado

  1. Red Rocks Community College | Associate of Science in Engineering Graphics Technology: This program can equip you with the skills needed to work as a design drafter. Not only does this program focus on technical skills, but it also trains each student’s soft skills such as communication, leadership, and critical thinking.
  2. Pikes Peak Community College | Associate of Science in Engineering. This program allows you to build a foundation in the engineering field of your choice including Computer Engineering and Electrical Engineering. The school is partnered with multiple universities to ease your transfer to a bachelor’s degree program post graduation.
  3. Front Range Community College | Associate of Engineering Science in Mechanical Engineering. This two-year degree can help you transfer to a four-year university and earn your Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering in just two additional years of study.
  4. DeVry University-Colorado | Associate Degree in Engineering Technology:  The Associate in Engineering Technology program at DeVry University can provide you with a foundation in assessing, measuring, and deploying secured digital systems and devices through practical, hands-on experiences.
  5. Colorado Mesa University | Associate of Applied Science in Mechanical Engineering Technology: This program takes two years to complete when attending full-time and focuses on providing concrete mechanical engineering experience to its studentsGraduates leave with a fundamental understanding of industrial processes.

Best Engineering Bachelor’s Degree Programs in Colorado

  1. University of Colorado at Boulder | Aerospace Engineering: This undergraduate aerospace engineering program’s curriculum is altered each year to keep up with new developments in the industry and incorporate new educational approaches. Students  learn to build innovative technology for commercial aviation and defense applications.
  2. Colorado School of Mines | Petroleum Engineering: Students who graduate from the Bachelor of Science in Petroleum Engineering program at the Colorado School of Mines are prepared to conduct safe and environmentally sound exploration, appraisal, development, and recovery of subterranean oil, gas, and other geothermal fluids.
  3. University of Denver | Mechanical Engineering: This mechanical engineering bachelor’s degree allows you to study areas such as bioengineering, composite materials, fatigue, atmospheric science, mechanisms, and non-destructive assessment alongside experienced teachers.
  4. University of Colorado at Colorado Spring| Electrical Engineering. Graduates of this Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering are equipped with the technical skills needed to work in the industry or pursue a Master’s Degree in Electrical Engineering.
  5. Colorado State University-Fort Collins | Civil Engineering. The civil engineering bachelor’s degree at CSU’s Fort Collins campus provides students with a strong foundation in physical sciences, mathematics, engineering, design, and management.

Best Graduate Schools for Engineering in Colorado

The best graduate schools for engineering in Colorado allow you to earn your master’s degree or PhD and can offer you a wide range of research opportunities supervised by experienced industry professionals. The following section contains a list of the best engineering schools offering master’s degree and PhD programs.

Best Schools for Master’s in Engineering in Colorado

  1. University of Colorado, Boulder | Master of Science in Civil Engineering.  This program aims to develop its students into engineers who can recognize, avoid, and solve building, construction, and environmental issues. Students in this field can also take courses in the rapidly growing field of geoenvironmental engineering.
  2. Colorado State University, Fort Collins | Master of Science in Bioengineering.  As a student in this program, you can build your skills by working on innovative medical technology design, regulatory approval, and healthcare product manufacturing projects.
  3. University of Denver | Master of Science in Mechatronic Systems Engineering. Advanced electrical, mechanical, and computer engineering concepts are the focus of the University of Denver’s Master of Science in Mechatronic Systems Engineering program.
  4. Colorado School of Mines | Masters of Science in Mining Engineering. The Colorado School of Mines’ mining engineering master’s degree is a top-rated, internationally recognized program offering practical research opportunities related to mining, subterranean construction, and tunneling.
  5. University of Colorado, Denver | Master of Science in Civil Engineering. The University of Colorado Denver’s Master of Science in Civil Engineering degree can be taken fully online and is designed to equip the next generation of engineers with the skills they need to work as specialists, managers, and leaders in an evolving industry.

Best PhD in Engineering Universities in Colorado

  1. University of Colorado, Boulder | PhD in Aerospace Engineering Science. CU Boulder is globally known for its research and education leadership in aerospace engineering, earth, and space sciences. The school is tied for 8th place among the best providers of aerospace engineering programs by US News & World Report.
  2. University of Colorado Denver | PhD in Engineering and Applied Science.  This program simulates the current professional research environment to prepare students for the workforce. Students in this program can choose between four primary specialization options including mechanical, electrical, computer science, and civil engineering.
  3. University of Colorado Colorado Springs | PhD in Engineering- Computer Science. This PhD is awarded to students who have achieved mastery across broad range of fields of study. Students in this program have the opportunity to take part in the many professional activities led by the department.
  4. University of Denver | PhD in Electrical and Computer Engineering. This program provides students with the opportunity to create a personalized study schedule based on their prior experience and research interests. The program also encourages students’ efforts to contribute to the progress of science, engineering, and technology.
  5. Colorado State University-Fort Collins | Doctor of Engineering (D.Eng.) in Systems Engineering. This PhD program at Colorado State University can equip you with the vital practical abilities needed to tackle current challenges in the field of systems engineering. The program is available both on-campus and online.

Admission Requirements for Engineering Schools in Colorado

The basic admission requirements for engineering schools in Colorado are different for undergraduate and graduate students. The most common requirements for undergraduate students include having a high school diploma or its equivalent and submitting your official transcripts, SAT or ACT test scores, as well as at least one letter of recommendation.