The University, Its Mission, and The Campus - Metropolitan State University of Denver (2024)

Metropolitan State University of Denver is a comprehensive university offering bachelor’s and master’s degrees on the Auraria Campus in downtown Denver. Founded in 1965, MSU Denver serves about 20,000 students and educates more undergraduate Coloradans than anyone else in the state.

For more information on MSUDenver, click on a link to be taken to the entry below.

  • Role and Mission
    • Undergraduate Degrees and Programs
    • Graduate Degrees
    • Students
    • Faculty
  • The Campus
    • Jordan Student Success Building
    • Hotel and Hospitality Learning Center
    • Historic Ninth Street Park and Tivoli Brewery
    • Center for Visual Art on Santa Fe

MSU Denver is a comprehensive, baccalaureate- and master’s-degree granting urban university that offers arts and sciences, professional and business‌courses and programs to a diverse student population in an atmosphere of mutual respect. Excellence in teaching and learning is MSU Denver’s primary objective.

MSU Denver’s mission is to provide a high-quality, accessible, enriching education that prepares students for successful careers, post-graduate education, and lifelong learning in a multicultural, global, and technological society. To fulfill its mission, MSU Denver’s diverse university community engages the community at large in scholarly inquiry, creative activity and the application of knowledge.

Undergraduate Degrees and Programs

With its modified, open admissions policy, the university welcomes students from all walks of life and circ*mstances, including all levels of academic preparation consistent with statutory guidelines, all conditions of economic and income status, all ages, and all ethnic and cultural backgrounds. In addition to degree-seeking students, non-degree students seeking opportunities for continuing education are welcomed.

  • MSU Denver is required to serve adult students. Students who are 20 years of age or older and hold a GED or high school diploma are automatically admitted to MSU Denver, irrespective of their academic record.
  • MSU Denver is required to serve traditional-age students of all levels of achievement and potential. As a result, the university enrolls a rich mix of recent high school graduates and transfer students, many with excellent grades and test scores and others with more modest achievements.
  • MSU Denver is required to be accessible to all. That is why, with its tuition remaining among the lowest in the state, MSU Denver is Colorado’s best value in education.
  • Degrees and programs are offered in in-person, online, and hybrid formats, and available formats are listed on each major program page. MSU Denver students have complete flexibility to choose the course formats they preferand can mix and match formats regardless of the program they are pursuing.

The university is primarily a teaching institution in which excellence in teaching and learning is accorded the highest priority. Student success, supported in a collegial atmosphere of academic freedom, is of paramount importance, and all members of the college community seek to inspire students to strive for the highest level of achievement. The university endeavors to provide students with an education that enhances the quality of their lives and enables them to be well-educated, critically thinking citizens who contribute and participate in meaningful ways in community and civic life.

At the undergraduate level, MSU Denver awards bachelor of science, bachelor of arts, bachelor of fine arts, bachelor of music and bachelor of music education degrees. Students may choose from more than 95 majors, more than 95 minors, and more than 30 certificate programsoffered through four colleges: Aerospace, Computing, Engineering, and Design; Business; Health and Human Sciences; and Letters, Arts and Sciences;as well as the School of Educationand the School of Hospitality. Programs range from the traditional disciplines, such as history and biology, to contemporary fields of study, such as biochemistry, athletic training, and communication design. MSU Denver offers several bachelor’s degree programs uniquein Colorado, including aviation management, health care management, meteorology, and integrative healthcare. Students may also design their own degree through the Individualized Degree Program.

Graduate Degrees

MSU Denver offers advanced degrees in several graduate programs. The master’s programs are professionally-oriented degrees that will help to prepare students for success and accommodate graduates’ increased engagement with community needs. Students interested in the master’s programs should refer to the Graduate Catalog for details.


As an urban university committed to serving the local community, MSU Denver serves students from a diverse mixture of age groups, socioeconomic classes, ethnic backgrounds, and lifestyles. The university’s curriculum and philosophy reflect that diversity and enrich the urban experience.

Current undergraduate enrollment as of Fall 2023is 16,345. The average student age is 25. MSU Denver enrolls the highest number of undergraduate students of color of all four-year colleges in the state.

About 57% of undergraduate students are enrolled full time, with nearly 60% of students being first-generation to college. Ninety percentof undergraduate students reside in the seven-county area of the Denver metropolitan area.


Nearly 580 full-time faculty teach for MSUDenver. Professors are recruited and evaluated for their ability to teach and engage students. All classes are taught by academic instructors. As a culturally diverse team of academicians, 51.5% of full-time faculty are women, and 26% represent faculty of color.

The university also brings real-world education into the classroom by hiring affiliate faculty who work in the Denver metropolitan community and use their expertise and experience in the arts, business, communication, law, politics, the sciences and technology in their teaching. For a complete list of faculty and their credentials, please visit the Facultypage.

Metropolitan State University of Denver is located at the Auraria Higher Education Center, a 127-acre campus in downtown Denver at Auraria Parkway and Speer Boulevard. The Community College of Denver and the University of Colorado Denver share the facilities with MSU Denver.The campus includes more than one million square feet of space for classrooms, laboratories, and offices.

Jordan Student Success Building

The Jordan Student Success Building, the first of two new MSU Denver Neighborhood buildings, opened in March 2012. The $62-million building, funded entirely by student-approved fees, houses classrooms, administrative offices, and student services, including admissions, advising, registrar, financial aid, and the bursar’s office, all in one convenient location.

The University, Its Mission, and The Campus - Metropolitan State University of Denver (1)

Hotel and Hospitality Learning Center

MSUDenver’s Hotel and Hospitality Learning Center is one of only 11 teaching hotels on a university campus in the country. The hotel, a SpringHill Suites ® by Marriott, includes 150 hotel rooms and conference facilities. It also provides hands-on training opportunities for students in the university’s School of Hospitality. The adjacent Hospitality Learning Center boasts more than 28,000 square feet of academic space, including classrooms, specialty learning labs and faculty offices.

Historic Ninth Street Park and Tivoli Brewery

Other administrative offices are located in restored Victorian homes in Denver’s historic Ninth Street Park located on the Auraria site. The campus also features a child care center; the comprehensive, 184,000 square-foot Auraria Library designed by Helmut Jahn of CF Murphy, which won an award from the American Institute of Architects; and one of the most unusual student union facilities in the country located in the historic, Bavarian-style Tivoli Brewery Building. Excellent physical fitness facilities include a block-long physical education/events center with a weight room, game courts, dance studios, a climbing wall, and event seating for 3,000.

The University, Its Mission, and The Campus - Metropolitan State University of Denver (2)Center for Visual Art on Santa Fe

The university’s proximity to downtown Denver enables students and faculty to use the community as a learning laboratory and to connect classroom theory to the cultural, economic, social, and political practices of the city. The Center for Visual Art (CVA), located in the Santa Fe Art District, is the university’s off-campus art gallery. In addition to showing significant contemporary art, the award-winning CVA serves as an interactive art laboratory for MSU Denver students and the larger community.

The University, Its Mission, and The Campus - Metropolitan State University of Denver (2024)


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