University of the Rockies (UoR) is a graduate school located in a former train station in Colorado Springs, Colorado. Unlike most schools, which are administrated by a non-profit board of directors, UoR is administrated by Bridgepoint Education, Inc., a for-profit San Diego-based company which runs a handful of select colleges and universities around the United States.
The university was first founded as the Colorado School of Professional Psychology in 1998, then changed to its current name in 2007. Today, UoR serves more than 80,000 students worldwide, with a campus enrollment of around 135.
The mission of UoR is “to provide high-quality, accessible learning opportunities globally for diverse groups of individuals seeking preparation for life goals, professional practice, service, and distinguished leadership”. To this end UoR also runs its own press, the University of the Rockies Press. The press publishes texts on business, organizational leadership, clinical psychology, religion and spirituality, and health.
The four basic degrees offered by UoR are Doctor of Psychology, Masters of Arts in Human Services, Masters of Arts in Psychology, and Master of Arts in Organizational Development. There are also four graduate level certificate programs: Criminology and Justice Studies, General Psychology, Business Psychology, and Organizational Leadership. The Doctor of Psychology program for training licensed clinical psychologists offers fifteen different concentrations. This degree is only available for on-campus study. UoR is preparing to offer a Doctor of Philosophy as well as of 2011.
UoR classes run at an accelerated pace, allowing students to finish a master’s degree in 18-20 months or a doctorate in three years. Unlike at traditional schools, there are no breaks between terms. Students can enroll and begin classwork at any time of year. The university maintains a low student to faculty ratio for online classes, ensuring personalized academic attention for all their students.
The vast majority of UoR students are enrolled in online classes. So many, in fact, that UoR simply maintains a diversity of research databases for student use instead of hosting a brick and mortar (and paper) library.
These classes are highly flexible. Students may log on and post work at any time that is convenient for them. Students are expected to log into Blackboard and “visit” their classes at least twice a week on separate days. Students communicate with professors, have discussions about class materials with their classmates, perform research using the UoR library resources, and submit papers through the Blackboard system.
It is necessary to have all the appropriate equipment for taking online classes. System requirements for online students include Windows XP or greater (or the MAC equivalent); hardware including at least 56 megabytes of RAM, a CD-ROM, DVD player, and 1 gigabyte of free disk space; software including Microsoft Word, Powerpoint, Excel 2003 or greater, and Adobe Acrobat Reader 8 or greater; high speed internet; and a standard email program. Some classes necessitate the use of a scanner, microphone, or webcam. Financial aid awards can generally be used to purchase this equipment if the student does not already own it.
Certificate programs at UoR are a way for many professionals to take a step ahead. The certificate programs attract several members of the military, whose military tuition assistance can be applied (although they are not eligible for federal financial aid). Most certificate programs consist of five courses worth three credits each, for a total of fifteen credits. Each class is six weeks long. Most certificates are available completely online, so members of the military or any professional anywhere can earn them from UoR.
Most Popular Fields of Study
Students at the university practice psychotherapy through the Rockies Counseling Center, a non-profit organization offering services to families and individuals without insurance. The Center also serves homeless people and those at risk of becoming homeless. Clients in these categories are normally referred by shelters and agencies.
Admissions at University of the Rockies is competitive. Applicants for all programs should submit the UoR online application, transcripts from all higher education institutions where they have earned degrees, and copies of Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) results, if applicable. If English is not your first language, you must show proof of proficiency in English, either through a degree earned through English instruction or a score on the TOEFL of at least 550 on the paper test, 213 on the computer test, or 79 on the Internet test.
Doctorate Program Admissions
To gain admission to the Doctor of Psychology of the Doctor of Philosophy program, a student must hold a Master’s degree or Doctoral degree from an accredited institution with a graduate level grade point average (GPA) of at least 3.0. Prospective students in the philosophy department should have a background in human performance technology, human resource development, instructional systems design, organizational leadership, or a related field. These programs are only open is residents of the United States.
Masters Program Admissions
To gain admission to the Masters of Arts programs, candidates should have a bachelor’s and/or master’s degree from an accredited institution with at least a 2.0 GPA. Students with less than a 3.0 GPA will be placed on academic probation for the first term.
If you wish to study at UoR without earning a degree, you must hold a bachelor’s degree from an accredited institution with at least a 2.0 GPA. Prospective students in the graduate certificate programs must also hold bachelor’s degrees from accredited institutions with at least a 2.0 GPA.
For admission into one of the online programs, students must be able to access course and program material on the Internet, be able to correspond with university personnel via email, and use appropriate antivirus utilities to guarantee safe file transfer.
Incoming students may transfer up to 9 graduate-level hours into one of the masters programs or up to 12 hours into a doctorate program. Only classes with a grade of “B” or above will be considered for transfer credit.
As most students attend UoR online, there is not much of a campus life. Almost all students are adult who have already worked in their field of study, and most of them continue to work at least part-time while enrolled.
For those students who reside in Colorado Springs, the university is surrounded by plains to the east and mountains to the west. Colorado Springs is served by the Mountain Metro bus system and the Colorado Springs Municipal Airport, allowing students and visitors to come and go easily.
Student Enrollment Demographics
UoR is deeply invested in the wider community. The school regularly sponsors the Junior Diabetes Research Foundation’s Walk to Cure Diabetes, the American Cancer Society’s Pikes Peak Relay for Life, and various projects of the United Way and the Starlight Children’s Foundation.
For those students who do live in Colorado Springs or who wish to spend time visiting the school, there are virtually no end to the intellectual and recreational opportunities available. Colorado Springs is considered one of the best places to live by most measures. The location was chosen as a place to build a town in the late 19th century because of its proximity to Pike’s Peak, the highest mountain in the state of Colorado.
As the home of Colorado College, IntelliTec College, United States Air Force Academy, and the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs, Pikes Peak Community College, Nazarene Bible College, Remington College, Colorado Technical University, Colorado State University Pueblo, DeVry University, Regis University, and University of the Rockies, the city can reasonably be considered a college town. As one might expect, there are a huge number of bars, restaurants, entertainment venues, and other attractions geared toward student interests.
Colorado Springs is a particularly appropriate place for a school to train mental health professionals; for decades, it was a key destination for health tourists, especially tuberculosis patients. Today, people visit Colorado Springs for outdoor recreation. Popular hiking and camping locations include Garden of the Gods, Pikes Peak, Cave of the Winds, and Seven Falls. Colorado Springs is also home to the ProRodeo Hall of Fame, the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo, the Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center, the Cheyenne Mountain Heritage Center, the Museum of the American Cowboy, the American Numismatic Association Money Museum, and the Peterson Air and Space Museum.
The economy in Colorado Springs is dependent on high-tech industries, the military, and tourism. The city is also home to the United States Olympic Training Center, the United State Bobsled and Skeleton Federation, USA Basketball, USA Cycling, USA Boxing, USA Judo, USA Swimming, USA Hockey, the United States Fencing Association, USA Triathalon, USA Volleyball, the United States Figure Skating Association, USA Table Tennis, USA Wrestling, and USA Shooting.
Fiske, Edward B. Fiske Guide to Colleges 2011. Chicago: Sourcebooks, 2010. Print.
Media Room. University of the Rockies. Web. 9 May 2011.
Online Certificates. University of the Rockies. Web. 9 May 2011.
Pope, Loren. Looking Beyond the Ivy League: Finding the College That’s Right for You. New York: Penguin. 2007. Print.
Rockies Counseling Center. University of the Rockies. Web. 9 May 2011.
Elisabeth Bailey is a freelance writer and editor with particular interests in academics, food,and sustainability . She is also the author of A Taste of the Maritimes: Local, Seasonal Recipes the Whole Year Round and writes regularly for Canadian Farmers’ Almanac and the National Wildlife Federation. Elisabeth and her family live and enjoy great local food in Lunenburg, Nova Scotia.