Colorado is home to some of America’s most beautiful and majestic landscapes, the Rocky Mountains, Mesa Verde, and Great Sand Dunes National Parks.
The Centennial State’s ample opportunities for outdoor recreation make Colorado an attractive destination for college students in the 21st century.
Colorado is home to several colleges with top-tier pre-med programs.
On this list of the best pre-med schools in Colorado, you’ll hear of concentrations in veterinary medicine, dentistry, and traditional areas like physical therapy, in addition to less conventional modes – like naturopathic medicine and osteopathy – which may benefit from a more receptive audience in the western part of the nation.
At any of the Colorado pre-med schools on this list, students are not able to major in pre-medical studies.
In fact, they can major in virtually any subject area they desire, though many opt to focus on the sciences.
There are, of course, prerequisites for admission to medical school, which include a high score on the MCAT and a record of diverse clinical experiences.
One of the best parts of attending a Colorado university with a pre-med program is access to early assurance programs (EAPs).
Many schools on this list attract students with partnerships that enable students to secure early admission to medical school, sometimes without providing an MCAT score!
EAPs allow talented students to focus their energies on things like research engagements and volunteer experience instead of completing graduate school applications and studying for the MCAT.
Ahead, we’re sharing the eight best pre-med schools in Colorado. These schools were selected based on the number of graduating students matriculating to medical schools in the United States.
The University of Colorado, Boulder (Boulder, CO)
UC Boulder pre-med students major in both sciences and non-science subjects. The school emphasizes student immersion in patient-facing contexts to develop the soft skills required for a healthcare career.
Pre-health students have access to the Office of Pre-Health Advising, which connects pre-med students with community partners and volunteer opportunities, among healthcare-related workshops and events.
UC Boulder has a unique partnership with Colorado State University: pre-med students who desire to pursue a medical, dentistry, or pharmaceutical program at CSU’s Anschutz Medical Campus are allowed to complete any undergraduate major at Boulder prior to matriculation. Interviews play a critical role in determining acceptance to this program.
Genetic counseling is an exciting subject area within the pre-health pathways.
Designed for pre-med students interested in understanding how human genetics intersect with pathology and treating diseases stemming from mutations, this pathway prepares students for entrance into a relatively new health concentration that continues to grow in popularity.
Colorado College (Colorado Springs, CO)
Potential pre-med students at Colorado College are advised to schedule a meeting with The Hub, where the school’s pre-health manager or student success specialists are ready to support them in exploring healthcare careers.
Colorado College recommends specific classes for pre-med students, which align with conventional medical school entrance requirements and include a writing-intensive course.
Colorado College offers a ten-day Dynamic Half Block, in which they can immerse themselves in an interdisciplinary subject area or investigation.
This session provides an excellent opportunity for students curious about pursuing a healthcare career to “try out” classes in that subject area.
Non-credit opportunities enable students to dedicate Half Block to MCAT preparation, while for-credit options include “Science and Pseudoscience in Clinical Psychology,” “Introduction to Biomechanics,” and “The Origins of Medicine.”
There are even opportunities to “wade carefully” into the notorious subject area of chemistry, with a half-block course focusing on foundational concepts in organic chemistry.
In this class, students draw and interpret 3D bond-line models of organic molecules, among other hands-on activities.
University of Denver (Denver, CO)
University of Denver pre-med students get connected to a pre-health support network in their first year of study!
There are 600 pre-health students completing coursework at DU, and they are all majoring in 30 different areas. This breadth of academic interest shows that medical schools welcome candidates from all areas of expertise.
While there is no pre-health major at the University of Denver, students can pursue a relatively new health minor dedicated to fostering discussion and solution generation on issues of equity, healthcare policy, and mechanics of the healthcare industry.
One course offering – an elective entitled “Health Education and Promotion” – stipulates a service-learning element within its curriculum through a partnership with Denver North High School.
In this context, pre-med students can facilitate conversations about different health topics with ninth graders.
The school’s advising committee highly recommends joining a student-led club, like DU MIND, which strives to destigmatize mental health conversations in the collegiate community.
DU MIND additionally works to educate college students about a range of illnesses that cannot be discerned by the naked eye (such as depression) and how to support their friends who are navigating these illnesses.
The University of Colorado at Denver (Denver, CO)
At UC Denver, pre-med students can specialize in one of 12 areas of healthcare, including naturopathic medicine. This area of medicine utilizes natural remedies like herbs, massage, and acupuncture to enable the body to heal independently.
Several programs at UC Denver distinguish it from other pre-med schools in Colorado. For one, the school operates an eight-year BA/BS-to-MD program, limited to up to ten exceptional pre-med undergraduates who seek to establish careers as primary care physicians.
Their acceptance to this program and continued success through the first few years will earn them placement at one of the best-ranked medical schools in the country, the University of Colorado School of Medicine.
The University of Colorado at Denver also strives to recruit international talent to its campus. UC Denver organizes the Kuwait BS/DDS program for pre-med students hoping to specialize in dental medicine.
Through this program, Kuwaiti students can complete their studies at the University of Colorado at Denver and acquire English proficiency via participation in the ESL Academy.
Colorado State University (Fort Collins, CO)
Pre-health advising at Colorado State is open to any undergraduate interested in healthcare.
Health professions advisors are available to help potential pre-med students target suitable prerequisite classes depending on their niche in the medical field.
While most pre-med students matriculate to other medical schools in Colorado and the United States, CSU does operate two doctoral degrees in veterinary medicine and occupational therapy.
CSU’s Premedica Club is a significant resource for new pre-med students and regularly hosts guest speakers specializing in medicine.
Joining the club is a great way to connect with job shadowing and community service activities, which are highly valued by most medical school admissions teams.
Pre-med students have significant autonomy in deciding their majors. Of course, there are specific science courses pre-med students must take, but the rest of their academic journeys will differ based on which career they aim to establish.
CSU can prepare students for careers as diverse as anesthesiology assistants, athletic trainers, and perfusionists!
University of Northern Colorado (Greeley, CO)
For the student who feels empowered by a specific, long-range plan, the University of Northern Colorado may be the best choice for pursuing a pre-med education.
Pre-Health Professions Advising at U of NC shares a specific timeline of when to tackle each medical school prerequisite.
Most Northern Colorado pre-med students major in biology or chemistry, though other majors are popular. It is recommended that pre-med students begin completing prerequisites – like biology and chemistry courses – in their first year. Over the summer, UNC students can shadow a physician or obtain a certification like a CNA or EMT.
By the time junior year rolls around at the University of Northern Colorado, pre-med students should be obtaining letters of recommendation, conducting major-related research, and scoring high on the MCAT.
Advising collaborates with pre-med students to prepare and schedule them for competitive interview processes all around the country.
Western Colorado University (Gunnison, CO)
Here’s an impressive distinction: 89% of Western Colorado healthcare-related majors have been accepted to medical schools within the past ten years!
Pre-med students have the ability to specialize in niche emphases like molecular biology.
A pre-health scholarship of $2,500 per year is available to students pursuing a career in medicine, nursing, pharmacy, physical therapy, or nutrition.
Preference is given to female, underrepresented minority applicants who are first-generation college students with a GPA of 3.0 or higher.
Western Colorado University pre-med students also take advantage of amenities like the Pre-Health Mentorship Program and the Pre-Health Club.
Some engage in research apprenticeships through the Thornton Biology Research Program. Pre-med students can request up to $3,000 in funding for biology-related projects and also get the chance to collaborate with an expert professor.
The Rocky Vista University Early Acceptance Program is run in collaboration with WCU – this program grants provisional acceptance to RVU without requiring an MCAT score!
Up to five elite students from Western Colorado University are selected annually for this EAP, and accepted students are expected to maintain a science GPA of 3.4 or higher at all times.
Adhering to the rigorous standards is certainly worth the reduced stress of not preparing for the MCAT and knowing exactly where you’ll end up in medical school.
Regis University (Denver, CO)
Another school advertising a dual-enrollment agreement, Regis partners with St. George’s University in Grenada to transition pre-med students from their undergraduate careers in Colorado to medical or veterinary school pursuits in Grenada.
Due to the program’s competitive nature, students must maintain a GPA of 3.4 or higher and earn exceptional scores on the MCAT to remain enrolled.
One of the program’s many benefits is that students save tuition money by completing the requirements in seven versus eight years.
On campus, pre-med students benefit from small classes. They get to know their professors and often participate in collegiate research with their favorite teachers.
Most pre-med students choose to major in biology, chemistry, biochemistry, neuroscience, or health and exercise science, though the liberal arts are hardly off limits.
Pre-med students at Regis also have access to workshops organized by the school, test preparation for the MCAT, peer mentorships, tours of professional schools, and simulation laboratory exercises.