2021 Best Colleges in Colorado Badge

2021 Best Colleges in Colorado by Salary Score

By the GradReports team | Updated 3/1/2021

This list features the best schools in Colorado based on a bachelor's degree Salary Score. A higher Salary Score indicates that alumni from that college tend to have higher salaries when compared to alumni with the same major at other schools. To determine this score, we compared alumni earnings in the first year after graduation for each major at a college to alumni earnings for the same major across all schools. The program scores are then combined to create an overall bachelor's degree Salary Score for the college. Colorado School of Mines ranks first in the state with a score of 70.30, which also places it well above the national median of 50.

To be considered for our state rankings, schools must offer and provide data for at least 8 bachelor's programs. This list includes all eligible schools in Colorado. You can click on a school's name to view individual program scores. Read our methodology to learn more about how schools were ranked.

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Our Salary Score™ is based on data reported by the U.S. Department of Education
Rank School Location Annual Tuition Salary Score
#1 #1 Colorado School of Mines Golden Golden $20,040 70.30
#2 #2 University of Colorado Boulder Boulder Boulder $13,106 68.37
#3 #3 Metropolitan State University of Denver Denver Denver $10,260 66.57
#4 #4 Colorado Christian University Lakewood Lakewood $37,432 66.35
#5 (tie) #5 (tie) Colorado State University - Fort Collins Fort Collins Fort Collins $12,874 59.68
#5 (tie) #5 (tie) University of Denver Denver Denver $56,439 59.68
#7 #7 University of Colorado Denver Denver Denver $9,562 59.13
#8 #8 Regis University Denver Denver $42,220 56.32
#9 #9 University of Northern Colorado Greeley Greeley $11,332 50.76
#10 #10 Colorado Mesa University Grand Junction Grand Junction $9,297 44.59
#11 #11 Colorado State University - Pueblo Pueblo Pueblo $9,245 42.90
#12 #12 University of Colorado Colorado Springs Colorado Springs Colorado Springs $9,129 39.82
#13 #13 Western State Colorado University Gunnison Gunnison $10,813 36.84
#14 #14 Adams State University Alamosa Alamosa $9,776 30.54
#15 #15 Fort Lewis College Durango Durango $9,212 21.68

2021 Best Colleges in Colorado Highlights

Salary Score 70.30
Annual Tuition $20,040
Graduation Rate 82%

Ranked the top university for bachelor’s degrees in the state, Colorado School of Mines holds an average Salary Score of 70. Degrees in petroleum engineering earn both the top Salary Score, at 88, and the highest annual median salary, at $88,790. With a Salary Score of 85, degrees in the fields of geological and geophysical engineering come in second and earn a median annual salary of $57,620. Also performing well at the undergraduate level are bachelor’s degrees in computer science and mining and mineral engineering, all of which earn median annual salaries over $70,000 and a Salary Score higher than the national average.

School Overview

Founded nearly 150 years ago, Colorado School of Mines is a public research university with a focus on the Earth, energy, and environment. Nestled in the foothills of the Rocky Mountains, just west of Denver, the town of Golden offers students a community filled with arts and music, restaurants and farmers markets, breweries and beer festivals, and more. The bicycle-friendly city has 24 miles of trails, plus a park exclusively for mountain biking and the Golden Bike Library bike-sharing system. With more than 300 days of sunshine each year and easy access to hiking trails, ski resorts, and even a whitewater park, Golden is ideal for outdoor enthusiasts. Proximity to downtown Denver and Red Rocks Amphitheatre gives students ample opportunities to experience the arts and culture of Colorado.

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Salary Score 68.37
Annual Tuition $13,106
Graduation Rate 75%

With a Salary Score of 93 and a median annual salary of $73,380, the University of Colorado Boulder’s aerospace, aeronautical, and astronautical engineering bachelor’s degrees are the highest performing at the undergraduate level. The school’s media-related fields also perform well, with journalism degrees earning a Salary Score of 93 and a median salary of $40,680, and communications studies earning a Salary Score of 92 and a median salary of $42,470. Bachelor’s degrees in business-related programs also perform well, with a Salary Score of 90 and a median salary of $54,310.

School Overview

The University of Colorado Boulder offers students immersive experiences in the outdoors, with plenty of biking, hiking, and running trails. Students can also enjoy challenge courses, bouldering, or rent equipment through the school’s Outdoor Program. Just off campus is Pearl Street, a popular area filled with shops, art and music venues, and nearly 300 restaurants. The University of Colorado Boulder offers over 90 degrees across its nine colleges, as well as 400 study abroad programs across 65 countries.

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Salary Score 66.57
Annual Tuition $10,260
Graduation Rate 29%

Metropolitan State University of Denver finds its highest Salary Score, at 96, from its undergraduate biology program; the median annual salary for degrees in this field is $38,170. Tied for the second-highest Salary Score, of 92, are degrees relating to natural resources management and policy, which earn a median salary of $47,730, and rhetoric, composition, and writing, which earn a median salary of $40,140. Also performing well are bachelor’s degrees in linguistics, with a Salary Score of 89, and ethnic and cultural studies, health and fitness, and natural resources conservation, all at 87.

School Overview

Metropolitan State University of Denver is comprised of a diverse student body, with nearly half of its undergraduate population represented by students of color. It is also a designated Hispanic-Serving Institution and hosts a Veteran and Military Student Services Office dedicated to supporting current and former military members. The university is located in the heart of downtown Denver, with the city’s music clubs, restaurants, and theaters within walking distance; students can venture farther to explore the hiking, skiing, rafting, and other outdoor opportunities provided by living near the Rockies.

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