Universities in Northern Colorado

Northern Colorado Universities

There are 132 colleges, universities, community colleges and trade schools in the state of Colorado with nearly sixty of these in Northern Colorado alone. Many of these accredited places for higher education are based in or near major cities which include Fort Collins, Tinmath, Windsor, Loveland, and Wellington, Pueblo, Denver, Aurora, Thornton, and Lakewood. Here are several to choose from for anyone who is contemplating a permanent move to the state or just plans to visit the Northern Colorado region:

University of Northern Colorado (UNC)

UNC has been around since 1889 and is located in the Rocky Mountain area. It is a public university designated as a doctoral research institution. The student population is approximately 13,000 who are studying in one of the 100 undergraduate or 120 graduate programs. It is considered a medium-sized institution.

Front Range Community College (FRCC)

In the Front Range region of Colorado. FRCC has four campuses located in Longmont, Westminster, Brighton, and Fort Collins. It is designated as the largest community college in Colorado with a student population of approximately 25,000 enrolled on all campuses with at least 40% enrolled in at least one online course.

Ames Community College (ACC)

ACC was established in early spring of 1967, and the first students were held in August of that same year. Today, ACC offers 200 degree and certificate programs to its approximate 8,000 students who are enrolled in its four campuses in Windsor, Greeley, Fort Lupton, and Loveland. It is considered one of the most affordable community colleges in the northern region.

Naropa University

This is a private institution and it is located in Boulder. It was uniquely founded in 1974 by Chogyam Trungpa, a Buddhist teacher from Tibet. The name “Naropa” is derived from the Indian Buddhist sage of the same name who lived in the 11th century. Even though it was founded on this religious, the university considers itself to be nonsectarian. Its focus is to teach the approximate 1100 enrolled students to practice non-traditional activities including classes in meditation that complement their traditional classes. It is only a handful of its kind in the United States.

University of Colorado Boulder (CU)

CU is recognized among only 36 public research institutions in the United States. Its focus for the approximate 34,000 students who attend is to develop a realization and practice in the impact that new knowledge in any field can affect change. Their spirit and mission towards innovation have developed into hundreds of local and global community outreach programs for students to become involved in.

Regis University (RU)

This is a private university that was established in 1877 in concert with the Bishop of Denver and the local Jesuit community around Denver, Colorado. It offers its nearly 9,000 students traditional programs in four different schools including business, liberal studies, information technology and sciences, and in the health sciences. It also belongs to a small group of 28 members in the Association of Jesuit Colleges and Universities across the United States.

Community College of Denver (CCD)

CCD’s main campus, Auraria, is located in the city center of Denver, but it has two other campuses in the vicinity. One is the Advanced Manufacturing Center about four miles from Auraria, offers two trade programs, a welding program, and one in machine technology all within a nearly 34,000 sq. ft. facility. The other campus location is the Center for Health Sciences offering CCD’s health science programs to its nearly 8,000 students.

Metropolitan State University of Denver (MSU Denver)

This is also a part of the Auraria area of downtown Denver and offers its nearly 24,000 students over 60 undergraduate programs, 5 graduate programs, and over 30 certification programs. It gained its university status in 2012 after operating as a college since 1965. There are two operating campuses within the same area—Auraria West Campus and Colfax at Auraria.

Rocky Mountain College of Art and Design (RMCAD)

This is a for-profit college that is located in the artists’ district of Lakewood, Colorado has its origins in the vision of artist Philip Steele who founded the college in 1963. The programs focus on both fine arts and design fields that include interior and fashion design, graphic design, gaming art, and animation. Along with these specialized courses, the almost 1200-member student body must take traditional subject-area courses.

University of Colorado Denver (CU-Denver)

Along with its companion university in Boulder, CU-Denver is known throughout the United States and the world for its research. Both universities are part of what is referred to as the University of Colorado system. With a student body of nearly 20,000 students, CU-Denver holds the majority of the graduate and undergraduate courses in Auraria but has satellite buildings nearer the business district. There is also the CU Anschutz Medical Campus in Aurora which has optimal medical technology for students who are studying within the health sciences careers.

Colorado Christian University (CCU)

Originally known as the Denver Bible Institute when it was established in 1914, CCU is still a private, educational institution. Even though it has Christian roots, it is interdenominational and offers 100 traditional programs to its nearly 9,000 students roughly 10 miles outside of Denver. This includes a separate College of Adult and Graduate Studies with satellite locations at other colleges around the Northern Colorado region in Lakewood, Loveland, and Sterling. Additionally, CCU prides itself on being named among the best Christian colleges in Colorado.

Red Rocks Community College (RRCC)

Originally established in 1969 under the umbrella of the Community College of Denver campus, RRCC branched out on its own to its own campus in Lakewood in 1971 and eventually to one in Arvada a few years later. As part of the Colorado Community College System, RRCC offers its 14,000 students traditional programs on campus as well as online in various fields of expertise including speech pathology and audiology, fire science, criminal justice, and health science.

University of Denver (DU)

This is the oldest private university in the northern Colorado region having been established in 1864. The enrollment is nearly 12,000 students in traditional undergraduate as well as graduate programs. It is roughly five miles south of downtown Denver located on 23 acres of private land which was originally a seminary so it has deep roots in religious education. It is known for the Lamont School of Music and its $70 million Robert and Judi Newman Center for the Performing Arts.

Community College of Aurora (CCA)

As its name says, CCA has its main campus located in Aurora, Colorado, and has an enrollment of approximately 10,000 students. It also has satellite locations in Lowry and Denver. It prides itself on being small enough that it can offer smaller classes (the average of 15-20 per course) and a variety of programs including a police academy for both on-campus and online courses.

Morgan Community College (MCC)

MCC was founded in 1970 in Fort Morgan, Colorado. It has a total of five campuses in Bennett, Ft. Morgan, Limon, Wray, and Burlington that accommodate an enrollment of approximately 1400 students. With six buildings on campus, renovations were recently done on their Birch Hall facility for new welding machinery. They have also added a two-year science degree in industrial maintenance for electrical and mechanical specialization.

Northeastern Junior College (NJC)

This public college has one campus located in Sterling, Colorado. Northeastern is the largest two-year residential college in Colorado. It currently offers 80 traditional programs to its 1,600 students along with alternative programs in agriculture, cosmetology, and more recently in wind energy technology. It also offers a unique athletic program in livestock judging.

Arapahoe Community College (ACC)

Located in Littleton since it was founded in 1965 in the Denver region and offers two-year degrees. There is a main campus in Littleton for the bulk of the 20,000 ACC students, with satellite campuses in Parker and Castle Rock. In 2018, ACC announced its plans to begin construction of the ACC Sturm Collaboration Campus. This project is in concert with Colorado State University and the local Douglas County School District to promote dual-enrollment for high school students for both of these higher educational institutions. The opening date for this new facility is scheduled for Fall of 2019.

Colorado State University – Fort Collins (CSU)

With nearly 34,000 students, CSU is considered the anchor within the Colorado State University System. Its history goes back to 1870 when it was created through a land-grant given to it by the state of Colorado. It is known throughout the country for its programs in veterinary medicine, journalism, and its research in the atmospheric sciences which include recent studies in clean-energy technology. CSU also has developed a program called CSU Extension which produces educational programs for all the counties in Colorado including 4-H groups.


Picking the right university has it’s challenges, especially in a state where there are many options for receiving a good education. As part of your search for a university, it’s equally important to consider the types of places and homes of where you would like to live. If you are looking for a home in Northern Colorado as part of your education commitments, checkout this Colorado Property Search