Colorado School of Mines


For students who want to attend one of the best engineering schools in the country and enjoy living in one of the most scenic areas of the United States, the Colorado School of Mines is a gold strike.

The Colorado School of Mines offers an intensive, rigorous engineering program and also offers other high quality academic programs. While CSM probably isn’t the place to go for students interested in a humanities degree, students interested in entering an engineering or physical science-related field can obtain a well-rounded education at the Colorado School of Mines.

The Colorado School of Mines, popularly known as Mines, offers about 20 majors, mostly in engineering and mathematical subjects. Minors in non-science related subjects such as political science and economics are also available.

Mines is a small school, with about 4,000 students. The student faculty ratio is small, allowing plenty of one-on-one instruction and interaction. All freshmen at the school are required to complete a rigorous program of science and math-related courses. Most freshmen and sophomores are also required to complete major engineering related projects.

The most popular major at the Colorado School of Mines is, not surprisingly, engineering, followed by mathematics. Mines stays true to its roots as well, and is one of the foremost institutions in the world for researching and teaching about mining-related engineering.

The Colorado School of Mines is accredited by the North Central Association of Schools and Colleges. The NCA accredits schools in Arkansas, Arizona, Colorado, Iowa, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, North Dakota, Nebraska, New Mexico, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Dakota, West Virginia, Wisconsin, and Wyoming. The NCA also accredits schools in the Navajo nation. More than 1,000 colleges are accredited by the NCA.

Mines gets some great reviews by publications dedicated to evaluating colleges and universities. The Colorado School of Mines is ranked No. 72 among National Universities by U.S. News and World Report. It’s ranked No. 29 among public schools. Its earth science, engineering and physics programs are ranked among the top 100 in the nation, as well.

The Colorado School of Mines has a good reputation for its research efforts and much of its research occurs at the Unconventional Natural Gas Institute and the Renewable Energy Materials Research Science and Engineering Center. The school is among several institutions receiving nearly $227 million from the Department of Defense to perform research. Mines will research sound wave, energy and light-matter coupling for its portion of the grant.

Mines also has a K-12 outreach program intended to improve science and math education in primary and secondary schools, and get students more interested in math and science. The school is the site of the state’s annual Science Olympiad.

Most Popular Fields of Study


Information Summary

Ranks 3rd in Colorado and 162nd overall. See the entire top 2,000 colleges and universities list
Overall Score (about) 93.7
Total Cost On-Campus Attendance $35,498
Admission Success rate N/A
ACT / SAT 75%ile scores 33 / 1450
Student Ratio Students-to-Faculty 19 : 1
Retention (full-time / part-time) 92% / 100%
Enrollment Total (all students) 6,325


The fall admission deadline for new students who want to attend the college in the fall is April 15. Students planning on starting in the spring need to apply by Oct. 15.

The Colorado School of Mines has a selective admissions process. Students are required to have studied trigonometry in high school. Students applying to the Colorado School of Mines should have a GPA of between 3.8 and 40., have an SAT score of about 1270 or an ACT score of 29. Admissions officers will also review students record of leadership and public service as part of the admissions process. Students should also rank in the upper 33 percent of their graduating high school class.

All students applying to the university must pay a $50 application fee as of April 2011. International students must pay $75.


Building :: Colorado School of Mines
Campus from East :: Colorado School of Mines

Financial Aid

Students applying to the Colorado School of Mines are eligible for federal grants and student loans. There are also a number of grants and scholarships offered by the state of Colorado, the university and other organizations that students may be eligible for.

The school awards freshmen merit scholarships to new students based on their high school GPA and SAT and ACT scores. The scholarship students receive may be named for a scholarship donor, as the school relies heavily upon private donors for its scholarship funding. Students receiving a named scholarship will be asked to write a note of thanks to their benefactor.

Another important scholarship at the Colorado School of Mines is the John A. Annadale-James Memorial Scholarship Fund, recently established in 2009. This scholarship is awarded based on merit to undergrads and grad students. Students pursuing a degree in mining engineering are given first preference to these scholarships. Membership in mining or engineering related organizations is a plus when applying for this scholarship.

Colorado residents can take advantage of Engineer’s Days (E-Days) scholarships. This program provides a full-ride scholarship to the Colorado School of Mines based on student grades, test scores, a competitive essay and other information.

The university’s office of financial aid also stands ready to help students find other grants and scholarships they may be eligible for.

Student Financial Aid Details

Ranks 2283rd for the average student loan amount.
Secrets to getting the best scholarships and financial aid in Colorado.


About a third of students at the Colorado School of Mines live on campus. The school offers a wide variety of activities to keep students entertained and engaged in the university community. There are more than 140 clubs and organizations. Greek life is also active at Mines. There are seven fraternities and three sororities.

Diversity at the Colorado School of Mines has increased in recent years, as more minorities have enrolled in the school. Minority enrollment stood at only 5 percent in 1987, and today more than 12 percent of all Colorado School of Mines students are minorities.

Unlike most colleges and universities, which have a higher female-to-male ratio, the Colorado School of Mines has a larger male-to-female ratio.

Campus crime is not a major problem at Mines, as the small-town atmosphere of Golden makes Mines a very safe college to attend.

Student Enrollment Demographics

Student Graduation Demographics


The Colorado School of Mines is a NCAA Division II school. Mines is a member of the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference, which mainly consists of teams from around Colorado. In accordance to its tough image as a mining school, the Colorado School of Mines provides its students with plenty of opportunities to compete in athletic events.

The school offers a number of men’s and women’s teams. Teams include cross country, football, volleyball, men’s soccer, women’s soccer, indoor track and field, men’s basketball, swimming and diving, women’s basketball, wrestling, baseball, outdoor track and field, golf and softball.

The Colorado School of Mines has struck gold in the athletic field lately. The school’s cycling team has had strong rankings for much of the last decade and won a national NCCA title in 2007 and finished second in the competition the next year.

The men’s cross country team came in third in the NCAA Division II championship in 2009. The school’s football team has also tramped up its game in recent years, and it won the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference in 2004 and was a co-champion in 2010.

Colorado School of Mines teams are nicknamed the Orediggers. School colors are blue and silver.


Mines has an interesting tradition related to its role as a science-based school. Each year, Colorado School of Mines students help make the lighted “M” sign at Mines, the largest lighted school emblem in the world, even larger. Each year, every new freshman is tasked with adding a 10 lb. rock to the sign, making it even larger.

Another first-year student tradition is having students paint the M and themselves while undergoing orientation. When seniors graduate, it’s traditional for them to paint the M again.

Another unique Colorado School of Mines tradition is the school’s Engineering Days, a three-day event which consists of oil-field Olympics, ore-cart races and more educational events such as speakers and symposiums.

Even the school’s newspaper, the Oredigger, is science based. Articles in the paper often involve science topics and there’s usually a Geek of the Week feature.

Local Community

The Colorado School of Mines has a beautiful, scenic, 373-acre campus located in Golden, Co., one of the most eye-catching areas of a state already known for its natural wonders. Golden, Co. is home to the Coors Brewery, but the Colorado School of Mines probably has less of a reputation as a party school than other schools because of the rigor of its programs. However, when students get a free moment, the state capital of Denver is nearby, offering students plenty of chances to attend concerts, visit museums and other attractions and check out the night life.

For students into outdoor activities, there are very few other campuses that can offer the opportunities for adventures in nature that Mines does. Located at the base of the Rocky Mountains, Mines students have a variety of outdoor hiking, biking and climbing opportunities. In the winter, plenty of skiing and other winter sports activities are available.

Additional School Information

The Colorado School of Mines was established in 1870 and was formerly affiliated with the Episcopal Church. The school was established by an Episcopal bishop to help the state solve its mining problems. The school actually has a 120-year-old mine on its campus.


  • Solórzano, Lucia. Barron’s best buys in college education . 6th ed. Hauppauge, NY: Barron’s Educational Series, 2000. Print.
  • The College Board College Handbook, 2010 . 47th ed. New York: College Board, 2009. Print.
  • The Insider’s guide to the colleges Students on Campus Tell You What You Really Want to Know. New York: St. Martin’s Griffin, 1970. Print.

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