Top 25 Best Rocky Mountain Colleges in the US (2024)

The Rocky Mountains, also known as the Rockies, are as impressive as the states they span. This region offers beautiful vistas, unique wildlife, challenging hikes, and great skiing, but the states also offer amazing schools and educational opportunities.

For this list, we’re including the following states in the Rocky Mountain region: Colorado, Idaho, Montana, Utah, and Wyoming.

Ready to see some colleges as mighty as the mountains? Check out the best Rocky Mountain colleges below.

Top 25 Best Rocky Mountain Colleges

“Scientia et disciplina'' is the Latin motto of Colorado College which means “knowledge and skill.” Today, the school has over 80 majors and sits on a 90 acre campus. The college is highly selective – only 14.4% of applicants will receive acceptance letters. The master’s degree is the highest level of education offered by Colorado College.
Location Colorado Springs, CO
Institution Type Private
Student Enrollment 2,266
The programs offered at Colorado School of Mines are all focused on energy and environment, so all available majors are in STEM fields. The Orediggers are led on by their mascots Marvin the Miner and Blaster the Burro. Wearing blue and silver, they compete in the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference of the NCAA Division II.
Location Golden, CO
Institution Type Public
Student Enrollment 7,187
The Boulder campus is the flagship school of the University of Colorado system. It was actually founded a few months before Colorado became a state in 1876. Athletes, called the Buffaloes, are part of the Pacific-12 Conference. They’ve won 28 national championships (a majority in skiing) and 10 athletes have gone on to be Olympic medalists.
Location Boulder, CO
Institution Type Public
Student Enrollment 39,000
The University of Denver is the oldest independent private university in the Rocky Mountain Region. The 125 acre campus is host to an arboretum, historic buildings, and Evans Memorial Chapel. The university accepts 64% of applicants and many will go on to major in Finance. Other popular majors include Psychology, Marketing, and International Relations and Affairs.
Location Denver, CO
Institution Type Private
Student Enrollment 14,130
The flagship university of Colorado, CSU’s mascot is Cam the Ram. Popular sports on campus include track, basketball, and football, among others. Business Administration and Management is by far the most popular major at the school. There is a 17:1 student-to-faculty ratio and an acceptance rate of 90%.
Location Fort Collins, CO
Institution Type Public
Student Enrollment 32,586
The University of Utah’s campus is nestled between the mountains and the Great Salt Lake. Of all students on campus, 74.9% study at the undergraduate level and the remaining 25.1% are graduate students. About 63% of the current first-year class calls Utah home, though many other students come from California, Colorado, and Idaho.
Location Salt Lake City, UT
Institution Type Public
Student Enrollment 34,464
Psychology, Exercise Physiology, and Accounting are the top three most popular majors at BYU Provo. Though the Provo campus is the main location for the university, there are two additional satellite campuses - one in Salt Lake City and one in Jerusalem, Israel. There is a 21:1 student-to-faculty ratio at BYU Provo.
Location Provo, UT
Institution Type Private
Student Enrollment 34,881
A doctor’s degree is the highest level of education offered at Westminster College. That said, only 24% of students on campus study at the graduate level. They have a good student-to-faculty ratio of 8:1 and a first-year retention rate of 85%. Students come from all over the country to attend Westminster. In fact, only 43% of freshmen are Utah natives.
Location Salt Lake City, UT
Institution Type Private
Student Enrollment 1,535
NSA is a liberal arts college founded in 1994 with a Protestant religious affiliation. The school has an 86.2% acceptance rate and about 85% of students will receive some sort of grant aid. A liberal Arts and Culture degree is the only offering here, however students can add a Certificate of Music in conjunction with the BA.
Location Moscow, ID
Institution Type Private
Student Enrollment 241
Though presently located in Denver, this school actually started over in Las Vegas, Nevada. It also went through quite a few name changes before settling on Regis University. Nowadays, there is a near 50/50 split between undergraduate and graduate students studying on campus. Blue and gold are the official school colors.
Location Denver, CO
Institution Type Private
Student Enrollment 5,566
The University of Wyoming is one of the rare schools that features a live animal mascot - a horse named Cowboy Joe. Another mascot, Pistol Pete, is played by a student in costume. Brown and gold are the official school colors. Also known as UW, the university is a land-grant, space-grant, and public flagship school.
Location Laramie, WY
Institution Type Public
Student Enrollment 11,479
Though the school seal features two lions, Carroll College’s mascot is actually a St. Bernard named Halo. Student athletes compete as the Fighting Saints in sports like track, basketball, and soccer. The campus is located near Mt. Helena. Registered Nursing is the most popular major, followed by Animal-Assisted Therapy and Biology.
Location Helena, MT
Institution Type Private
Student Enrollment 1,121
“A Legacy of Leading” is the motto of the University of Idaho. The athletic teams are known as the Vandals and they compete in sports such as tennis, golf, football, and basketball. 68.6% of incoming students call Idaho home, though many other students come from nearby Washington, California, and Oregon.
Location Moscow, ID
Institution Type Public
Student Enrollment 11,303
Colorado Christian University has an incredibly high acceptance rate - over 94%! Unlike many schools who use Latin in their school mottos, CCU takes inspiration from the Greeks. “χαρις και αληθεια” translates to mean “Grace and Truth.” Psychology is the most popular major, followed by Business Administration and Nursing.
Location Lakewood, CO
Institution Type Private
Student Enrollment 8,472
The College of Idaho is the oldest private liberal arts college in the state. The school offers up to a master’s degree, and graduates have gone onto impressive careers in business, politics, law, and sports. The acceptance rate is just above 56% and the school does not charge students to apply.
Location Caldwell, ID
Institution Type Private
Student Enrollment 1,145
Boise State University’s campus is located on the Boise River. A whopping 86.9% of students on campus study at the undergraduate level, though the school offers up to the doctor’s degree. Registered Nursing is by far the most popular major, followed by Health Professions and Related Clinical Sciences and Business/Commerce.
Location Boise, ID
Institution Type Public
Student Enrollment 25,794
“Mountains and Mines” is the motto of this university; an apt phrase for a school located near several mountain peaks. Business, Registered Nursing, Family and Consumer Sciences, Mechanical Engineering, and Psychology are the top five most popular majors. The school receives over 26,000 applications a year and accepts about 73% of students.
Location Bozeman, MT
Institution Type Public
Student Enrollment 16,788
Montana Technological University’s motto of “De Re Metallica” (“Of the metals”) pays homage to the school’s original name - the Montana School of Mines. In fact, the school’s seal features mining tools as well. Green and copper are the official school colors of the Montana Tech Orediggers.
Location Butte, MT
Institution Type Public
Student Enrollment 1,683
One of the youngest colleges in America, the Neumont College of Computer Science was founded in 2003. The school offers 5 total undergraduate majors: Computer Programming, Network and System Administration, Information Technology Project Management, Web Page, Digital/Multimedia and Information Resources Design, and Modeling, Virtual Environment, and Simulation Modeling.
Location Salt Lake City, UT
Institution Type Private
Student Enrollment 517
Located along the Clark Fork River, the University of Montana’s student body is 71.5% undergraduates and 28.5% graduate students. The school has an incredibly high acceptance rate of 82.1%. Management Information Systems and Psychology are the most popular majors at UM. “Lux et Veritas” is the school motto, which translates to mean “Light and Truth.”
Location Missoula, MT
Institution Type Public
Student Enrollment 10,106
Utah State University is both a land-grant and space-grant school. Economics, Communication Sciences and Disorders, Multi/Interdisciplinary Studies, Mechanical Engineering, and Psychology are the top five most popular majors at USU. 67.5% of the incoming class call Utah home and the school has a 74% first year retention rate.
Location Logan, UT
Institution Type Public
Student Enrollment 27,426
Offering free applications and institutional grants to every student, Northwest Nazarene University has an 88% acceptance rate, 14:1 student-to-faculty ratio, and 74% first year retention rate. NNU has over 60 majors available to undergraduates; many study Registered Nursing, Business Administration and Management, and Biomedical Sciences.
Location Nampa, ID
Institution Type Private
Student Enrollment 2,044
Also known as UNC, the university’s motto is Sapientia in aeternum est or “Wisdom is eternal.” 95% of the students at UNC receive institutional aid to pay for their tuition costs. Klawz the Bear is the school's mascot, and their colors are navy blue and gold. Notable alumni of UNC include musicians, champion athletes, politicians, and more.
Location Greeley, CO
Institution Type Public
Student Enrollment 10,348
The University of Colorado Denver/Anschutz Medical Campus is home to the University of Colorado's health sciences related schools. Their Department of Medicine and Surgery dates back to 1883. Common majors today include Business Administration and Management, Registered Nursing, Biology, and Psychology.
Location Denver, CO
Institution Type Public
Student Enrollment 24,267
Located in the heart of the Rocky Mountains, Western Colorado University is a liberal arts school. In addition to over 100 areas of study, the school offers a unique outdoor research laboratory for students. Western has an 18:1 student-to-faculty ratio and 74% first year retention rate. While Business Administration is the most popular major, Biology, Parks & Recreation Leisure Studies, and Enviromental Studies are also highly sought after.
Location Gunnison, CO
Institution Type Public
Student Enrollment 3,689

Why is the Rocky Mountain Region a Great Place to Go to School?

The Rocky Mountains are home to some of the most stunning scenery you can find in the United States, making it an excellent place to go to school and enjoy the outdoors in your free time. 

From the Zion National Park in Utah to the Craters of the Moon National Monument in Idaho and the Little Bighorn Battlefield National Monument in Montana and Yellowstone National Park in Wyoming, you will never run out of amazing places to visit, hike, and explore. Each park in these states offers something unique to visitors – and it’s sure to be something you remember for the rest of your life. These areas can also provide great additional educational opportunities if you’re studying natural sciences!

When it comes to the cities, too, there’s plenty to do. Denver in particular hosts amazing restaurants, museums, and more for visitors. The other cities in the region are home to botanical gardens, theme parks, zoos, historic sites, and much more.

The cold may be enough to turn some away, but there are deserts in this region as well! However, there’s no denying that the Rocky Mountains offer students the opportunity to make memories outside of the classroom and away from campus that are sure to last a lifetime. 

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State Grant Aid in the Rocky Mountains

If you’re planning on studying in the Rocky Mountains or already live there, you may want to consider looking into state grants. This is free money that is offered to students who fit certain criteria by the state and can make attending college much more affordable! If you’re curious about what your state has to offer in the way of financial aid, be sure to start with our State Grants Guide right here.

Interested in any of these best Rocky Mountain colleges? Check out College Raptor’s free match tool to see if they’re a good fit for you!

Methodology

Colleges are ranked based on a combination of factors, including graduation rates, campus diversity, endowment per student, and other data as reported via the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) for the most recently-available enrollment year. Some colleges may have been excluded from rankings based on certain criteria, including specialization and classification. Learn about our full methodology.

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