University of Colorado Denver
We are Denver’s partner in progress and ally in innovation. Our connection to our vibrant city inspires leading research, creative work, and civic engagement. Our collaboration with Denver’s businesses and local government helps set us apart from other universities.
With a history that began in 1912, CU Denver has operated independently since 1973. Our location in downtown Denver serves more than 15,000 students. In Colorado and around the world, our talented graduates form a diverse and growing Lynx family.
We work to create welcoming and respectful learning environments where a culture of inclusion can flourish. At CU Denver, we honor our diversity of experiences and perspectives in the committed belief that they enrich the educational experience for all.
Other reasons why students choose the University of Colorado Denver:
Small class sizes: average undergraduate student-to-teacher ratio is 18:1.
Collaborative culture: Cross-disciplinary learning and research is a core value: programs blend technology with health care, business with public policy, and behavioral health with architecture.
Choices: With seven schools and colleges offering more than 110 degree programs, the University of Colorado Denver | Anschutz Medial Campus is a major university for the coming century.
About Our Students
The diversity of our student body is a source of deep pride. With students of color making up 43 percent of the student body, CU Denver is the most diverse research university in Colorado. Classes are filled with traditional students who enrolled after high school as well as transfer students and those who delayed college entry. Many professionals enroll mid-career to retool and strengthen their skills. The average age of an undergraduate student is 23 years while the average graduate student is 32 years old.
Bringing a rich mix of backgrounds, students travel across the country and the world to attend CU Denver. Domestic students come from 52 states and US territories and international students from 135 countries. All take advantage of convenient courses at times that meet their schedules. An enviable student-to-faculty ratio of 18:1 and a high-tech advising platform means students receive focused attention from professors and a clear path to graduation.
University Quick Facts
CU Denver Quick Facts*
- 14,884 students
- 68% undergraduate, 32% graduate/professional
- 72% full-time students
- 84% from Colorado
- 16% nonresident students of which International students come from 135 different countries
- 43% male, 56% female
- 50% of enrolled students are students of color
- 51% of all new enrolled students are students of color
- Average age of undergraduate students: 23
- Average age of graduate students: 32
- Students from 52 states and US territories and 135 countries
Average entering ACT score
- 23.2 Composite
Average entering SAT score
- 554 Math
- 559 Verbal
Average high school GPA
Schools and Colleges on the CU Denver Campus
College of Architecture and Planning
College of Arts & Media
School of Education & Human Development
College of Engineering, Design and Computing
College of Liberal Arts and Sciences
School of Public Affairs
More than 110 degrees and programs across seven schools and colleges
- First professional
Most-enrolled Undergraduate Degree Programs
- Computer Science
- Fine Arts
Most-enrolled Graduate Degree Programs
- Business Administration
- Public Administration
- Leadership for Education Equity
- Information Systems
More than $400 million in sponsored research annually
- 110,000+ alumni
- 67% live in Colorado
US News and World Report 2022
- #112 among Top Public Schools
- #55 Top Performer on Social Mobility
- #162 for Best Undergraduate Engineering programs
- #23 in Graduate Healthcare Management programs
- #28 among Graduate Public Affairs programs
- #9 in Environmental Policy and Management
- #14 in Nonprofit Management
- #14 in Public Finance and Budgeting
- #22 in Public Management and Leadership
- #32 in Public Policy Analysis
- #30 in Urban Policy
- #85 in Best Graduate Education Schools
*Based on Fall 2021 enrollment
From the Chancellor
Welcome to Colorado’s public urban research university, where a diverse student body through quality academics, ambitious research and creative work, and community engagement in the city we call home. We are CU in the city.
Your success is our #1 priority. At CU Denver, you will benefit from:
Academic choices: More than 100 high-quality, in-demand degree programs in seven schools and colleges, leading to bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees; hands-on learning opportunities, including work in research labs, service learning, study abroad and work-study;
Powerful connections: To partnerships, projects, internships and career opportunities in downtown Denver; to the vibrant arts and culture scene at our front door; and to a network of influential alumni who are leaders in Denver’s civic, nonprofit and business communities;
Outstanding location: Access to a vibrant, safe urban lifestyle; resources and support to develop innovative solutions to complex local and global issues; and opportunities to build your skills in the city ranked by Forbes as the #1 Best Place for Business and Careers.
CU Denver is a place of academic excellence, where you will gain the powerful combination of immersive classroom and project-based experiences that are in demand today. Here you will meet gifted faculty, experts in their field, dedicated to student success, academic excellence and the real-world applications of their research and creative work. You’ll interact with fellow students who are diverse, goal-oriented and energetic. Whether you engage in undergraduate or graduate studies, the University of Colorado Denver degree earns global respect and you can be confident that you will have been well-prepared for the next stage of your work or academic life.
We’re delighted you’ve chosen CU Denver!
Michelle A. Marks, PhD
CU Denver Strategic Priorities
CU Denver 2030 Strategic Plan
CU Denver’s 2030 strategic plan is a profound repositioning of CU Denver to be a public urban research university that works for all: learners of all kinds and at all stages of life, industries and employers that need talent ready to hit the ground running, and communities requiring new solutions and discoveries.
Goals for 2030
Our plan is designed to not only reset the playing field, but to change the game, increase access to an excellent education, and tackle some of the grandest challenges facing our society, all in service of the idea that CU Denver should work for all.
- CU Denver will be the first equity-serving institution in the nation
- Become known as a university for life
- Be internationally known for its research and creative work
- Serve as the anchor institution for an open innovation district in downtown Denver
- Be known as a people-centered "Best Place to Work"
To learn more about CU Denver's Strategic Planning initiatives, please visit our website.
CU Denver is one of four campuses that make up the University of Colorado system. We began in 1912 as an extension of the University of Colorado Boulder. In 1973, we became an independent campus, and the University of Colorado Denver was officially founded. In 2023, we will celebrate CU Denver's 50th anniversary.
CU Denver Timeline
Take a look at where we began, occupying one building in downtown Denver, and where we ended up—we now serve more than 15,000 students a year.
1912 – 1972
The Denver Extension
In 1912, the University of Colorado in Boulder established the Denver extension to offer courses in downtown Denver. By 1969, academic offerings included 34 programs at the undergraduate and graduate levels. In 1971, the current College of Liberal Arts and Sciences was established. These early years made it clear there was a need for quality academic programs in the city of Denver.
1973 – 1979
University of Colorado Denver Established
In 1973, Colorado lawmakers amended the state constitution to establish additional CU campuses, transforming the University of Colorado – Denver Center into the University of Colorado Denver. In its first year as an independent institution, CU Denver founded the School of Education & Human Development and the School of Public Affairs.
In 1977, CU Denver students began taking classes on the Auraria Campus, alongside students from Metropolitan State University of Denver and Community College of Denver. CU Denver students, faculty, and alumni marched on the Colorado State Capitol in 1979—to preserve the university's sovereignty in the face of a potential merger.
1980 – 1990
During the 1980s, CU Denver grew significantly as a university, establishing three additional colleges: the College of Architecture and Planning, the College of Arts & Media, and the College of Engineering, Design and Computing. In 1990, the university acquired a new building at the corner of 14th and Larimer Streets, which became the CU Denver Building. This location east of Speer Boulevard extended the university’s footprint into LoDo (lower downtown).
International College Beijing
In 1994, CU Denver joined forces with China Agricultural University to establish the International College Beijing (ICB). This global collaboration was the first of its kind in China. The cross-cultural exchange of students and faculty increased CU Denver’s reputation as a truly diverse academic community.
2000 – 2010
Colorado’s Public Urban Research University
In 2004, the Board of Regents voted to consolidate CU Denver with the CU Anschutz Medical Campus. The consolidated CU Denver | Anschutz Medical Campus holds R1 status as a research university, the highest rating given by Carnegie Institute. CU Denver claimed its identity as “CU in the City,” Colorado’s only public urban research university.
2011 – 2013
Welcome Milo the Lynx
In 2013, CU Denver unveiled its official mascot, Milo the lynx, who was named for a combination of the Mile High City and the campus' location near Lower Downtown.
2014 – Present
The first part of the new millennium also brought significant change to CU Denver's campus. In 2014, the Student Commons Building opened as the university’s first newly built facility, and in 2018, the Lola & Rob Salazar Student Wellness Center opened as the first named building on campus. In August 2021, a new residence hall named City Heights, which is designed specifically for first-year students, opened.
The University of Colorado Denver is institutionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools.
The commission can be contacted at:
Higher Learning Commission
230 South LaSalle Street, Suite 7-500
Chicago, IL 60604
Many professional organizations have also granted accreditation to specific academic programs, colleges and schools at the Denver Campus, including:
- National Architectural Accrediting Board (NAB)
- Landscape Architecture Accreditation Board (LAAB)
- Planning Accreditation Board (PAB)
- Association for the Advancement of Collegiate Schools of Business - International (AACSB International)
- Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Management Education (CAHME)
- Colorado Department of Education and Colorado Department on Higher Education
- Commission on Accreditation for Marriage and Family Therapy Education (COAMFTE)
- Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP)
- National Association of School Psychologists
- American Psychological Association - Commission on Accreditation
- Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology (ABET)
- ABET - Engineering Accreditation Commission (EAC)
- ABET - Computing Accreditation Commission (CAC)
- American Chemical Society (ACS) approved degree
- American Psychological Association
- National Association of Schools of Public Affairs and Administration (NASPAA)
For more information regarding specialized accreditations for degree programs, please visit this website or contact the school or college.
As Colorado’s only public urban research university, CU Denver is devoted to the needs of the residents of the city and the region. A solid foundation of academic and general education is assured through a comprehensive core curriculum. Students may pursue graduate education through all of the campus’ colleges and schools. Pre-professional training in the fields of education, architecture, law, journalism and health careers is also available. Complete listings of areas of study available on the Denver Campus are available in the Programs section of the catalog.
The colleges and schools sections of this catalog provide information on bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degree programs, policies on requirements for graduation, course requirements, course descriptions and other similar information.
- College of Architecture and Planning
- College of Arts & Media
- Business School
- School of Education & Human Development
- College of Engineering, Design and Computing
- College of Liberal Arts and Sciences
- School of Public Affairs
Continuing and Professional Education
The Division of Continuing and Professional Education offers certificate/certification courses, professional development programs, precollegiate outreach programs and personal enrichment courses across the state of Colorado. Courses are offered in a variety of formats, including traditional on-campus, off-campus, online, hybrid, weekend, evening, short and condensed courses and many others.
Registration and tuition vary by school or college. Contact the specific school or college to learn about current program and course offerings or send an inquiry to email@example.com.