Overview of Colorado Mesa University


The founding of Grand Junction Junior College in 1925, with 39 students enrolled in seven classes, marked the beginning of post-secondary education on Colorado’s Western Slope. As Mesa Junior College, the number of students grew to 270 by fall 1937; headcount increased to 1,300 by 1963. Over that period, the range of community college programs expanded, and an area vocational school was added in 1967. By 1974, the college had evolved into a baccalaureate-granting institution, leading enrollment to triple in 16 years and reach 3,891 in fall 1979. In 1988, the College was renamed Mesa State College and in 1994 the Colorado legislature authorized Mesa State College to offer selected graduate degrees in response to regional needs.

With the addition of graduate programs, Mesa State College became the only four-year institution in Colorado to offer a full-range of undergraduate programming that spans technical certificates, associate degrees (both academic and vocational), and baccalaureate degrees to graduate certificates and degrees.

In 2003, Mesa State College was statutorily assigned the responsibility of meeting the educational needs for 14 Western Slope counties: Delta, Eagle, Garfield, Grand, Jackson, Mesa, Moffat, Montrose, Ouray, Pitkin, Rio Blanco, Routt, San Miguel and Summit.

In 2005, Mesa State College formally created a two-year, open admission division: Western Colorado Community College.

The role and mission of the institution was reenacted in 2010 by the Colorado General Assembly (Colorado Revised Statutes 23-53-101) and amended in 2011 when Mesa State College was renamed Colorado Mesa University. After a 2012 amendment, the role & mission is:

There is hereby established a university at Grand Junction, to be known as Colorado Mesa University, which shall be a general baccalaureate and graduate institution with selective admission standards. Colorado Mesa University shall offer liberal arts and sciences, professional, and technical degree programs and a limited number of graduate programs. Colorado Mesa University shall also maintain a community college role and mission, including career and technical education programs. Colorado Mesa University shall receive resident credit for two-year course offerings in its commission-approved service area. Colorado Mesa University shall also serve as a regional education provider.

Vision, Mission and Values


CMU aspires to be a Human Scale University that serves as a model of the world we want to create - a world where people aspire to love, extend dignity, choose courage, demonstrate humility, develop resiliency, celebrate curiosity, and use power for good.

Institutional Mission

As a Human Scale University, our mission is to provide an affordable and accessible education and form meaningful and mutually enriching partnerships that support the well-being and vibrancy of our community.


To fulfill our mission and reach toward our vision, our work is grounded in seven values: love, dignity, courage, humility, resiliency, curiosity, and power.  When we practice these values, we are able to support the diversity of our campus, learning from and honoring the rich assortment of beliefs and backgrounds that converge on our campus that make for a vibrant culture and community.


Colorado Mesa University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (hlcommission.org), an institutional accreditation agency recognized by the U.S. Department of Education.

The following programs at Colorado Mesa University are accredited and/or approved by external professional accreditation bodies specific to that discipline:

  • Athletic Training:  The Colorado Mesa University Master of Science in Athletic Training program is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Athletic Training Education (CAATE). The program earned a 5-year initial accreditation in February 2021 and holds the accreditation status of Active-in good standing.
  • Aviation Technology: Certified by the Federal Aviation Association (FAA)
  • EMT/Paramedic:  Accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (www.caahep.org) upon the recommendation of the Committee on Accreditation of Educational Programs for the Emergency Medical Services Professions (CoAEMSP). 
  • Landman Energy Management Program:  American Association of Professional Landman (AAPL).
  • Mechanical Engineering Technology: Students completing the Colorado Mesa University Mechanical Engineering Technology (MET) program will receive a Bachelor of Science degree in Mechanical Engineering Technology.  The Bachelor of Science MET Program is accredited by the Engineering Technology Accreditation Commission of ABET.
  • Medical Laboratory Technician: National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS).
  • Music:  Accredited Member of the National Association of Schools of Music. 11250 Roger Bacon Drive, Suite 21 | Reston VA 20190-5248 | 703.437.0700 | info@arts-accredit.org.
  • Nursing:  The baccalaureate degree programs, master's degree programs, and Doctor of Nursing Practice program at Colorado Mesa University are accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE), 655 K Street, NW, Suite 750, Washington, DC 20001, 202.887.6791.
  • NursingThe Practical Nursing Program at Colorado Mesa University located in Grand Junction, Colorado is accredited by the Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing (ACEN), 3390 Peachtree Road NE, Suite 1400, Atlanta, GA 30326, 404.975.5000. (404) 975-5000.
    • The most recent accreditation decision made by the ACEN Board of Commissioners for the Practical Nursing Program is Continuing Accreditation.
  • Nursing: The Associate Nursing Program at Colorado Mesa University, located at the Montrose, Colorado campus, is accredited by the Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing (ACEN), 3390 Peachtree Road NE, Suite 1400, Atlanta, GA 30326, 404.975.5000.  (http://www.ccneaccreditation.org). 
    • The most recent accreditation decision made by the ACEN Board of Commissioners for the Associate Nursing Program is Initial Accreditation. 
  • Occupational Therapy: The profession's accrediting body, the American Occupational Therapy Association (ACOTE), has granted Candidacy status to this program. With Candidacy status, the first class of students were admitted for studies in January 2022. A required self-study of the program was submitted to ACOTE in November 2022. ACOTE performed an onsite visit in the Summer 2023 and the decision for full accreditation will follow in August 2023. If granted full accreditation, graduates of the program will be eligible to sit for the national certification examination for occupational therapists through the National Board for Certification in Occupational Therapy (NBCOT) and will be able to apply for licensure through the professional licensure board in the state in which the graduate wishes to practice.
    • ACOTE can be contacted at: Accreditation Council for Occupational Therapy Education (ACOTE®)  4720 Montgomery Lane, Suite 200, Bethesda, MD 20814-3449 P: (301) 652-2682 • F: (240) 762-5140 • E: accred@aota.org
  • Peace Officer Standards and Training (POST): Approved by the Colorado Peace Officer Standards and Training Board.
  • Physical Therapy:  Effective April 25, 2023, Colorado Mesa University has been granted Candidate for Accreditation status by the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education (3030 Potomac Ave., Suite 100, Alexandria, Virginia 22305-3085; phone: 703-706-3245; email: accreditation@apta.org).  Candidate for Accreditation is an accreditation status of affiliation with the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education that indicates the program may matriculate students in technical/professional courses. Achievement of Candidate for Accreditation status does not assure that the program will be granted Initial Accreditation.  Candidacy is considered to be an accredited status, as such the credits and degree earned from a program with Candidacy status are considered, by CAPTE, to be from an accredited program. Therefore, students in the charter (first) class should be eligible to take the licensure exam even if CAPTE withholds accreditation at the end of the candidacy period. That said, it is up to each state licensing agency, not CAPTE, to determine who is eligible for licensure. Information on licensing requirements should be directed to the Federation of State Boards of Physical Therapy (FSBPT; www.fsbpt.org) or specific state boards (a list of state boards and contact information is available on FSBPT's website). 
  • Physician Assistant Studies: The ARC-PA has granted Accreditation - Provisional status to the Colorado Mesa University, Master of Physician Assistant Program sponsored by Colorado Mesa University.  Accreditation - Provisional is an accreditation status granted when the plans and resource allocation, if fully implemented as planned, of a proposed program that has not yet enrolled students appear to demonstrate the program's ability to meet the ARC-PA Standards or when a program holding Accreditation - Provisional status appears to demonstrate continued progress in complying with the Standards as it prepares for the graduation of the first class (cohort) of students. Accreditation - Provisional does not ensure any subsequent accreditation status. It is limited to no more than five years from matriculation of the first class. The program’s accreditation history can be viewed on the ARC-PA website at: http://www.arc-pa.org/accreditation-history-colorado-mesa-university/ .
  • Radiologic Sciences: The Baccalaureate of Science in Radiologic Sciences (BSRS) Program is accredited by the Joint Review Committee on Education in Radiologic Technology (JRCERT).
  • Social Work:  Council on Social Work Education.
  • Strength and Conditioning/Personal Training Program: The Department of Kinesiology has met established educational program criteria to be designated as a National Strength and Conditioning Association (NSCA) Education Recognition Program (ERP). 
  • Surgical Technology: The Surgical Technology program is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (www.caahep.org) upon the recommendation of the Accrediting Review Council on Education in Surgical Technology and Surgical Assisting (ARC/STSA). ARC/STSA contact information: Mailing address: 19751 East Mainstreet, Suite #339, Parker, CO 80138. Phone:(303)-694-9262, Email: info@arcstsa.org. CAAHEP contact information: Mailing address: 9355 113th St. N, #7709, Seminole, FL 33775, Phone: (727) 210-2350.
  • Teacher Education: Approved by the Colorado Commission on Higher Education and the Colorado Department of Education to prepare teachers for licensure application.
  • Transportation Services: Certified by the Automotive Society of Engineers (ASE) Education Foundation.

Note: Students completing the University of Colorado Boulder/Colorado Mesa University Mechanical Engineering Partnership Program will receive a Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering Degree from the University of Colorado Boulder. The ME Partnership Program is accredited by the Engineering Accreditation Commission of ABET.

For further information on program-level accreditation, please contact Academic Affairs.

The University is designated as balanced arts and sciences/professions with some graduate coexistence as part of the Carnegie classification of higher education institutions.

Auxiliary Campuses

Montrose Campus

The Montrose Campus of CMU provides the Western Slope’s second largest community local access to postsecondary education.  For local students pursuing a bachelor’s degree, it offers a convenient location to complete general education courses before attending the main campus to take courses in their major.  For students who want to complete their education in Montrose, the campus offers several associate degrees and certificate programs that include programs in Nursing and Criminal Justice, as well as a Bachelor of Science degree for students who have a LPN. 

To meet the needs of high school graduates and adult working students, classes occur primarily in the afternoons and evenings.  Classrooms are limited to no more than 30 students to ensure students receive personal attention from their instructors.

The campus is adjacent to the Montrose Regional Library.  Facilities include classrooms with advanced instructional technology, computer labs, and study lounges.  The campus also has a career and technical facility for welding, machining technology, and Police Officer Standards Training (POST) for students interested in a career in law enforcement. 

Admissions, advising and student services staff are available in the Branscome Center, open from 8 a.m. to 6:30 p.m., Monday through Thursday, and until 5 p.m. on Friday.  Services include admissions counseling, orientation, academic advising, financial aid, course registration, testing services, career counseling, and tutoring.   Future and current students can make an advising appointment in advance by calling 970.249.7009.

Visit the CMU Montrose website for more information about the academic programs available at the Montrose campus.

Tilman M. Bishop Campus

The Tilman M. Bishop Campus of Colorado Mesa University is the result of a partnership of the University, Mesa County Valley School District 51, and area businesses. The applied technology programs at the Bishop Campus serve the technical education needs of both university and area high school students, primarily those in District 51.

Students at the Bishop Campus—the main site of Western Colorado Community College, Colorado Mesa University’s two-year division­­—can earn two-year associate degrees or technical certificates. High school students can earn university credits through concurrent enrollment. Among the services available at the Bishop campus are college admission, class scheduling, academic and interest assessments, bill payments, financial aid assistance, resume preparation, job interviewing skills, and placement in internships and jobs. For more information call 970.255.2670 or toll free, 888.455.2617.

Diversity Statement

Colorado Mesa University extends its services to anyone regardless of age, race, color, national origin, religion, sex, disability, veteran status, or sexual orientation.

Following is the statement of philosophy on diversity which has been adopted by the faculty at Colorado Mesa University:

“Colorado Mesa University is a community of scholars in the liberal arts tradition. As faculty we believe that all people, regardless of age, race, color, national origin, religion, sex, disability, veteran status, or sexual orientation, have something worthwhile to contribute and that these contributions benefit us all. Therefore, we intend that within our academic community all cultural differences will be treated with equal respect and tolerance. We desire that our students have the opportunity to appreciate the diversity of our modern world, and we encourage them to partake of the resources available within our community. As faculty we pledge ourselves to provide as many divergent cultural experiences for our students as the resources of the college and the needs of our disciplines allow.”

“To further tolerance and appreciation of our society’s diversity, Colorado Mesa University requires that all graduates fulfill General Education requirements. In doing so we honor the validity of a liberal education. We hope that the experience will help our students understand how to appreciate the true diversity of the world. Because diversity promotes multiple opinions, techniques, viewpoints and approaches, it is not the individual courses within the General Education program which we believe will further the above-stated goals, but the whole experience of the program itself.”

Colorado Mesa University expects all members of the campus community to uphold the highest standards of civil and ethical conduct and to promote a culture of respect and inclusiveness. For more information on these expectations, review the Resolution Concerning Expectations Regarding Safety, Violence, Intimidation, Abuse and Discrimination at Colorado Mesa University.

Student Bill of Rights

The Colorado General Assembly implemented the Student Bill of Rights to assure that students enrolled in public institutions of higher education have the following rights:

  1. A quality general education experience that develops competencies in reading, writing, mathematics, technology and critical thinking through an integrated arts and science experience;
  2. Students should be able to complete their associate of arts and associate of science degree programs in no more than sixty credit hours or their baccalaureate programs in no more than one hundred twenty credit hours, unless there are additional degree requirements recognized by the commission;
  3. A student can sign a two-year or four-year graduation agreement that formalizes a plan for the student to obtain a degree in two or four years, unless there are additional degree requirements recognized by the commission;
  4. Students have a right to clear and concise information concerning which courses must be completed successfully to complete their degrees;
  5. Students have a right to know which courses are transferable among the state public two-year and four-year institutions of higher education;
  6. Students, upon successful completion of core general education courses, should have those courses satisfy the core course requirements of all Colorado public institutions of higher education;
  7. Students have a right to know if courses from one or more public higher education institutions satisfy the students’ graduation requirements;
  8. A student’s credit for the completion of the core requirements and core courses shall not expire for ten years from the date of initial enrollment and shall be transferable.