Founded in 1870, Colorado State University is the main public university in Colorado. It opened as the Colorado Agricultural College and offered classes in agricultural sciences and farming, which was the main industry in the state at the time. For more than two decades, the college operated under the name of the Colorado State College of Agricultural and Mechanical Arts. That name change reflected the addition of mechanical arts and engineering programs that it added to its curriculum. It became CSU in the late 1950s after introducing even more programs that allowed students to study topics ranging from teaching and nursing to business and technology.

CSU has a strong reputation as a college and for its individual degree programs. ARWU, Washington Monthly, U.S. News & World Report ranked CSU as one America’s top colleges. ARWU and several other notable publications ranked it among the world’s best schools. U.S. News & World Report called its graduate programs in biology, chemistry, civil engineering, mechanical engineering, psychology and social work among the best in the nation. CSU also received recognition from Princeton Review, which named in one of the best colleges in the west and picked its business school as one of the nation’s best, and from Consumers Digest, which named it a best value college.

Colorado State University Accreditation Details

With specialized accreditation from nearly 20 organizations and institutional accreditation, CSU has all the different types of accreditation you might look for in a college. The North Central Association of Colleges and Schools (NCACS) is the organization responsible for granting the university institutional accreditation and for ensuring that the university should keep that accreditation in the future. The NSACS requires that CSU apply for a renewal every decade. This allows the organization to examine all aspects of the campus, including its graduation requirements and faculty members.

Specialized accreditation, also called program accreditation, is available for its programs in computer engineering, occupational therapy, veterinary medicine, social work and other majors. Some of its program accreditation comes from professional groups like:

  • American Occupational Therapy Association
  • American Veterinary Medicine Association
  • American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy
  • Society of American Foresters
  • Teacher Education Accreditation Council
  • Council on Social Work Education Office of Social Work Accreditation
  • Council on Education for Public Health

Colorado State University Application Requirements

Though CSU offers online applications, you need to choose the right one based on whether you enroll as an incoming freshman or a graduate student. Incoming freshmen can use either the application available on the CSU website or the Common Application. With the Common Application, you can save on the information that you add to the basic application and use that information when applying to other colleges that use the same site. You’ll need to pay a $50 application fee or apply for a waiver from the university. Incoming undergrads must also submit the results or scores from either the ACT or SAT, an official high school transcript, at least one letter of recommendation and a personal essay or statement.

As a graduate student applying to CSU, you can also use the online application and pay the associated application fee. Grad students must have a bachelor’s degree from an accredited college or university at the time that they submit the application or by the time classes start. The university will ask for an official transcript from the college you obtained your degree from and any other colleges you attended in the past. Depending on the program, you may need to submit a copy of your resume that shows you have professional experience, a personal essay or statement and/or one or more letters of recommendation.

Tuition and Financial Aid

Colorado State University charges a number of different tuition rates based on where you live and how you enroll. Undergrad residents pay a tuition rate of around $11,000 a year, while nonresident undergrads pay closer to $28,000 a year for tuition and fees. The Western Undergrad Exchange (WUE) allows students living in other western states to pay a discounted rate of under $19,000 a year. The cost for graduate students can range from around $12,000 a year for residents to more than $25,000 a year for nonresidents.

As an online student, you can save on some of your total costs because you do not need to pay transportation costs to and from the campus or for a dorm room and meal plan. Even if you plan on earning your degree online, you should still file the FAFSA. Undergrads qualify for subsidized student loans that do not incur any interest while the students are in school, but they may also qualify for some grants. Graduate students may qualify for unsubsidized student loans as well as alternative student loans. The parents of college and graduate school students can apply for PLUS loans too.

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Online Degrees Available

CSU Online offers a number of opportunities for online students, including programs for undergrad, graduate and certificate students. The online bachelor’s programs include one in Fire and Emergency Services Administration. Students can transfer in credits from another campus and complete the program in just two years, or they can spend two years taking general ed courses and another two years in this program. Students must take at least 37 credits of work within this discipline, which may include classes like fire emergency services administration, fire and emergency services budgeting, training management programs and incident command systems. Its Psychology BS program includes up to 15 credits of lab courses like social psychology and cognitive psychology as well as advanced courses like psychology of personality and substance abuse.

The online CSU campus offers more than 20 graduate programs like its Master’s in Social Work program. To get your MSW, you must spend three years taking classes like social work practice and research, small client studies and principles and philosophy of social work. You’ll also do some fieldwork, which you can do in your own city.

Another option for grad students is the university’s Master of Tourism Management. This can prepare you for working in hotels and other tourism operations. The program includes four hours of electives and 26 credit hours of required courses like sustainable tourism development foundations, tourism industry concepts and practice, financial management and tourism marketing. Colorado State University offers classes in culinary tourism and restaurant management too.