Best Liberal Arts Colleges in Colorado 2022

Liberal arts colleges are a great option for students seeking a well-rounded education in an intimate campus setting. The best liberal arts colleges in Colorado offer a diverse selection of degree programs with opportunities for a highly individualized educational experience.

Best Liberal Arts Colleges in Colorado 2022

Colleges and Universities in Colorado

Fans of the outdoors will feel right at home in Colorado. With the Rocky Mountains, Colorado River, and even part of the Great Plains, you’re sure to find adventure in The Centennial State. Students looking to balance outdoor adventure with higher education can choose from over 40 colleges and universities offering associate, bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral degrees for an average in-state tuition of $10,800.

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Colorado’s 28 public institutes include junior colleges, universities, the United States Air Force Academy, and the Colorado School of Mines, a research university that specializes in science, technology, engineering, and math. Tuition for Colorado’s public schools ranges from $3,000 to $19,000, with many of the colleges and junior colleges starting at $4,000 and the universities at $8,000. With smaller class sizes and student populations, Colorado’s private institutions, which includes five religiously affiliated campuses, tend to be more expensive, ranging from $4,000 to $55,000 in tuition. The University of Colorado, Boulder, a notable research institute, is ranked as the number one school in the state and has a student population of just over 32,000. Students can earn degrees in computer science and physics and, once graduated, can share alumni status with influential people, such as Steve Wozniak and Robert Redford. Prospective art students can check out Rocky Mountain College of Art + Design, and those desiring a career in the medical field can look into the Institute of Business and Medical Careers.

To learn more, check out the best degree programs and top career opportunities offered in Colorado.


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Related: Differences between research universities and teaching colleges

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Methodology

The people affiliated with a school are ultimately what make it great! If you are serious about finding the best colleges and universities for a bachelor’s degree, you should be asking where the most influential professors are teaching and whether their graduates are themselves advancing the school’s reputation for academic excellence in their fields of study.

Most ranking sites rely on an opaque combination of reputation surveys and arbitrary performance metrics. Concentrated Influence provides a ranking that is freer from bias, insulated from manipulation, and reflective of real-world educational outcomes.

To rank the influence of schools, we first determine the influence of scholars and professionals based on the number of citations and publications they have had over the past 10 years. In addition to publications and citations, we consider the web links to and from these sources, and the page views of those sources. We then match the influential people to their alma maters and institutions of employment, so that their influence is attributed to those schools. Our machine-learning Influence Ranking algorithm produces a numerical score of academic achievements, merits, and citations across Wikipedia, wikidata, Crossref, Semantic Scholar and an ever-growing body of data. If you are interested in exploring how and why we rank by influence, explore our methodology in more depth.

A liberal arts college is a school that puts a premium on undergraduate studies and offers a broad range of subjects for students to study. A college of liberal arts typically provides smaller class sizes, more direct engagement with professors, and, most importantly, the opportunity to sample a wide range of subject areas on the way to a bachelor’s degree. We’ve identified 15 liberal arts colleges in Colorado. To be ranked among the best liberal arts colleges in Colorado, schools must fully accredited institutions.

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Best Liberal Arts Colleges in Colorado 2022

  1. #3

    Aspen University

    Denver , CO
    Other Rankings

    Tuition + fees

    $5K

    Student body

    4K

    What is Aspen University known for?

    Aspen University’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Criminal Justice
    • Computer Science
    • Psychology
    • Education
    • Business
    • Medical

    Most Influential Alumni

  2. #4

    Naropa University

    Boulder , CO

    Tuition + fees

    $35K

    Acceptance

    100%

    Graduation

    31%

    Student body

    <1K

    What is Naropa University known for?

    Naropa University’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Religious Studies
    • Literature
    • Psychology
    • Education
    • Political Science
    • Medical

    Most Influential Alumni

  3. Tuition + fees

    $9K

    Acceptance

    83%

    Graduation

    32%

    Student body

    15K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1000/20

    What is Metropolitan State University of Denver known for?

    Metropolitan State University of Denver’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Social Work
    • Nursing
    • Earth Sciences
    • Biology
    • Engineering
    • Anthropology
    • Criminal Justice
    • Computer Science
    • Sociology
    • Chemistry

    Most Influential Alumni

  4. #6

    Colorado Mesa University

    Grand Junction , CO

    Tuition + fees

    $9K

    Acceptance

    75%

    Graduation

    37%

    Student body

    8K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1050/21

    What is Colorado Mesa University known for?

    Colorado Mesa University’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Criminal Justice
    • Earth Sciences
    • Nursing
    • Business
    • Political Science
    • Physics
    • Biology
    • Communications
    • Computer Science
    • History

    Most Influential Alumni

  5. #7

    Fort Lewis College

    Durango , CO

    Tuition + fees

    $9K

    Acceptance

    92%

    Graduation

    42%

    Student body

    3K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1090/20

    What is Fort Lewis College known for?

    Fort Lewis College’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Biology
    • Anthropology
    • Economics
    • Engineering
    • Earth Sciences
    • Business
    • Literature
    • Physics
    • Philosophy
    • Political Science

    Most Influential Alumni

    REQUEST INFO
  6. Tuition + fees

    $5K

    Graduation

    18%

    Student body

    5K

    What is Community College of Denver known for?

    Community College of Denver’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Nursing
    • Criminal Justice
    • Social Work
    • Computer Science
    • Education
    • Medical
  7. #9

    Western Colorado University

    Gunnison , CO

    Tuition + fees

    $11K

    Acceptance

    88%

    Graduation

    50%

    Student body

    2K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1100/23

    What is Western Colorado University known for?

    Western Colorado University’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Sociology
    • Biology
    • Literature
    • Economics
    • Anthropology
    • Psychology
    • Mathematics
    • History
    • Earth Sciences
    • Education

    Most Influential Alumni

  8. #10

    Adams State University

    Alamosa , CO

    Tuition + fees

    $10K

    Acceptance

    100%

    Graduation

    32%

    Student body

    2K

    Median SAT/ACT

    990/19

    What is Adams State University known for?

    Adams State University’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Sociology
    • Chemistry
    • Earth Sciences
    • Nursing
    • Psychology
    • Medical
    • Biology
    • Education
    • Political Science
    • Mathematics

    Most Influential Alumni

  9. #11

    Colorado Christian University

    Lakewood , CO

    Tuition + fees

    $18K

    Graduation

    61%

    Student body

    9K

    What is Colorado Christian University known for?

    Colorado Christian University’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Religious Studies
    • Psychology
    • Political Science
    • Philosophy
    • Economics
    • Sociology
    • Mathematics
    • Business
    • Criminal Justice
    • Computer Science

    Most Influential Alumni

    REQUEST INFO
  10. #12

    Colorado Mountain College

    Glenwood Springs , CO

    Tuition + fees

    $5K

    Graduation

    25%

    Student body

    3K

    What is Colorado Mountain College known for?

    Colorado Mountain College’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Nursing
    • Computer Science
    • Business
    • Education
    • Communications
    • Medical
    • Criminal Justice
  11. Tuition + fees

    $9K

    Acceptance

    94%

    Graduation

    37%

    Student body

    6K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1035/21

    What is Colorado State University Pueblo known for?

    Colorado State University Pueblo’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Communications
    • Social Work
    • Mathematics
    • Physics
    • Literature
    • Biology
    • Criminal Justice
    • Chemistry
    • Political Science
    • Psychology

    Most Influential Alumni

  12. #14

    Red Rocks Community College

    Lakewood , CO

    Tuition + fees

    $4K

    Graduation

    24%

    Student body

    5K

    What is Red Rocks Community College known for?

    Red Rocks Community College’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Criminal Justice
    • Computer Science
    • Education
    • Medical

    Most Influential Alumni

  13. #15

    Pueblo Community College

    Pueblo , CO

    Tuition + fees

    $5K

    Graduation

    21%

    Student body

    4K

    What is Pueblo Community College known for?

    Pueblo Community College’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Criminal Justice
    • Medical
    • Communications
    • Education
    • Computer Science
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Colorado’s Best Liberal Arts Colleges in Your Area of Interest

Frequently Asked Questions About Research Universities, Liberal Arts Colleges, Online Colleges

In pursuing a bachelor’s degree, you will need to choose between three kinds of schools: research universities, liberal arts colleges, and online colleges.

Research universities are colleges and universities whose faculty are active in research and publishing. These schools offer a wide array of doctoral programs, especially in the sciences. They tend to be big, with tens of thousands of students.

Do you prefer a larger university setting, such as largest public university in your state? Research universities are typically big, offering degrees in many different disciplines. Is a big high-powered research environment the thing for you. If not, you should think about a liberal arts college. In deciding on an undergraduate institution, ask yourself what sort of environment will best help you to be happy and excel.

  • Consider whether you are self motivated enough to be a face in the crowd for some classes and largely unknown on campus at a large university. Of course you can find clubs and friends at a large university, but often liberal arts colleges have a more personal quality to them. If you want the community feel, a research university may not fit you well.
  • Are you interested in STEM fields? Research universities have that name for a reason – real research is happening there. This can create an exciting atmosphere for students interested in STEM. Attending a research university can give you a better chance of getting into better programs for graduate degrees, although a lot of that depends on your performance.
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Often referred to as “teaching colleges” liberal arts colleges put a premium on undergraduate studies and offers a broad range of subjects for students to study. A college of liberal arts typically provides smaller class sizes, more direct engagement with professors, and, most importantly, the opportunity to sample a wide range of subject areas on the way to a bachelor’s degree.

  • Do you want your professors to know you? Liberal arts colleges strive to cultivate campus cultures that encourage tight bonds between professors and students. Professors at these schools will typically conduct original research. Yet the best of these schools offer their faculty reduced teaching loads so that they can both be productive researchers and still have plenty of time for students (both in and outside the classroom).
  • Do you want to feel like you know everybody? One of the most enticing features of a liberal arts college is that in very little time, you can feel like you know who’s who, which can create strong friendships, but also more pleasurable walks across campus. While your sports teams may never be on ESPN, it’s more likely that you’ll know the athletes as your peers. Beyond student and faculty relationships, it’s not unusual for the school president and other administrators to learn who you are. When faced with problems with your student account or the need to switch classes, this can be comforting during a stressful moment.
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Online colleges are typically the same colleges and universities you could attend in-person, but for certain degree programs the college or unviersity has made the degree programs available to be completed online. For over 5 million students, online degree programs allow students to earn their degrees in the most flexible format available. Online degrees are as respected as the on-campus degress you could earn from the same schools. There’s usually no disctinction between the two degrees, and your degree and transcript will not say that the degree was earned online. Online degree programs are offered by a vast majority of colleges and universities, and the number of offering continues to grow. Whehter you are searching for an associate, bachelor’s, master’s, or doctorate, there’s a good chance you can earn your degree online from a respectable online college.

  • Are you a self-driven student? Perhaps the hardest aspect of obtaining an online degree is whether you will be disciplined enough to manage your time and course demands. Many online students report that online college made them more disciplined in all areas of their lives, but the flexible, self-paced learning that makes online colleges attractive can often be the same qualities that make it difficult. If you tend to be a procrastinator, you need to be honest with yourself. You can change your habits and propensities, or you can throw money down the drain.
  • Do you need the flexibility of an online degree program? Most online students study online because of time demands balancing work and life, or becuase the online colleges afford them the chance to attend a better school without moving. If you are serious about earning your degree for career advancement, online colleges make it possible. The most flexible options among online degrees are those that are aynchronous, meaning you don’t have scheduled times to meet with your class online. However, many students seek synchronous online degree programs so that they have some structure – set meeting times, scheduled exams, etc.
  • The good news is that attending an online college doesn’t mean you will miss out on getting to know your professors and classmates. In fact, many online students who have experienced both online and on-campus courses report having easier access to their professors. Since most communication with your professor is expected to be in text – via email or your class learning management system – it makes asking your questions easier. The same students also report that they got to better know the thoughts of their classmates. While in-person course conversations can be dominated by a few extroverts, online courses that require online discussions make it so that you see all of your classmates’ thoughts and questions.

If you interested in an online bachelor’s degree, check out what the best online colleges offer, or search our online degrees for the exact program that interests you. In either case, you will find well respected colleges and universities that offer online degrees.

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Resources for College-Bound Students

2021 Ranking Archive

Many of our 2022 undergraduate focused rankings look considerably different than 2021. That’s because we took a fundamentally different apporach. For 2021 we utiulized our Concentrated Influence algorithm, designed to take away the size advantage larger schools have when we rank their faculty and alumni’s academic influence. Concentrated influence highlights smaller schools that are proportionally as successful as larger universities at cultivating influential alumni and faculty.

  1. Colorado College
  2. United States Air Force Academy
  3. Fort Lewis College
  4. Western Colorado University
  5. Colorado Christian University