University of Colorado Denver/Anschutz Medical Campus

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Public, 4-year or above
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Doctoral Universities: Very High Research Activity
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The largest public research institution in Colorado, the University of Colorado Denver and the Anschutz Medical Campus have a long and somewhat tangled history of forming and coming together. The University of Colorado Medical School brought its campus to Denver in the late 19th century, the largest Denver population providing more opportunity for learning; in 1995, the UC Health Sciences Center moved to a decommissioned Army medical center in Aurora to become the Anschutz Medical Campus. Meanwhile, the UC academic extension campus in Denver, formed in 1912, had grown into its own independent branch of the University of Colorado system by 1973. The two campuses officially merged in 2004, making CU Denver/Anschutz Medical Campus Colorado’s biggest research university.

Academic Programs

As Colorado’s main urban research university, CU Denver’s most compelling degree programs are concentrated in the fields and disciplines most necessary to modern urban life. The School of Public Affairs, which includes criminal justice, public affairs, and research as the Buechner Institute for Governance, is ranked as one of the best in the nation by U.S. News & World Report, while the School of Business is widely viewed as one of the strongest in the west (as well as one of the 10 largest nationally). The School of Architecture and Planning is the only comprehensive school of its kind in Colorado, bringing excellence to research and learning of the built environment.

The Anschutz Medical Campus, of course, is the most important center for medical and health research and learning in the state, and one of the western region’s leaders. It is home to the only allopathic medical program in the state, as well as the top-ranked School of Medicine, School of Pharmacy, and College of Nursing. The Children’s Hospital Colorado and the University of Colorado Hospital, two of the nation’s leading teaching hospitals, are also located on the medical campus.

Student Life

More than 18,000 students call CU Denver home, while the university’s extensive online degree programs add another 11,000 enrolled students across Colorado and the world. That student body is highly diverse, with nearly half of all students (and more than half of the newest freshman class) made up of ethnic minorities. With CU Denver’s history in nontraditional education, it’s no surprise that more than half of new students are transfers from community college or other colleges, drawn to CU Denver for the robust student life (more than 100 student-led clubs and organizations) and lively urban environment.

CU Denver is also dedicated to community engagement and activity, with a high level of service opportunities for students and faculty. Between community service and economic impact, CU Denver is one of the key components of life in Colorado, adding more than $3 billion to the economy and contributing more than 30,000 jobs. With more than two-thirds of graduates staying in Colorado, CU Denver contributes more to the state’s leadership, professional expertise, and education system than any other single Colorado institution.

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