Road Trip: "Aha!" Moments at Colorado School of Mines

I had no idea that the Colorado School of Mines (Mines) is a public university. That’s an Aha! though surprisingly the out-of-state students outnumber in instate students 60:40.  Mines is one of relatively rare small (4,500 undergrad / 1,300 grad) engineering schools.  School rivalry is minimal but if forced to name a rival it is Colorado College, which is more social while Mines is more academic. Of course, “it’s not true, we both have both traits.”

Another rarity is that Mines is a D2 NCAA school with eighteen sports and in 2016 brought home the Men’s Cross-Country national championship. Basketball games are well attended and the expectation is that Football will be as well now that the stadium has been moved onto campus. Outdoor sports are blocks away (kayaking, mountain & road biking, rock climbing, hiking, parasailing). There is plenty to do on campus, but for those wanting to go off campus at night Golden, CO’s main street is also a few blocks away, but the town pretty much closes up at 8pm so free light rail to Denver, about a twenty minute ride, is a real alternative. Boulder is thirty minutes away and a choice of ski resorts 1-2 hours.

Mines is a top 100 school (88th per US News)with a 36% acceptance rate… not “stellar” statistics, but there is the McBride honors program — Freshman Honors (Thorson) is a gateway to  McBride.  Thorson students take IDEAS (Innovation & Discovery in Engineering, Arts, and Sciences) and McBride is referred to as a small liberal arts school within Mines.  That said you are going to receive a Bachelors of Science degree from Mines.

There are sixteen BS degrees, only three of which did not include “engineering” in their title — Applied Math & Statistics, Economics & Business, and Chemistry. There are forty minors and thirty-six ASIs (Area of Special Interest). Aerospace is not one of the engineering degree options, yet the industry is #2 in hiring of Mines graduates.  That happens by students taking Aerospace related ASIs along with their engineering field of choice.  If you enjoy softer quantitative fields than straight traditional engineering, Humanitarian Engineering Minor has recently been added, there are Pre-Law and Pre-Med tracks, a Music Technology Minor, and a STEM Teacher Licensure Program.  Our tour guide was headed to do her student teaching next year.  Finally, plenty of research is available on or off campus and study abroad for classes or service is a definite possibility.

Field Sessions are unique at Mines.  A core curriculum requirement is Design EPICS I and II which might be considered a Field Session because it is a fully hands on project solving a real world problem. In addition to EPICS, all majors offer Field Sessions, typically three weeks in length but they can be as many as six weeks and can be on or off campus, depending on the major. 

When ready to leave Mines outcomes are strong.  Average starting salaries are ~ $67,000 and 85% of students either have jobs in hand by graduation in an area of their choice or are accepted to a grad school of their choice.

Consider Colorado School of Mines if you prefer a small school environment, are definitely quantitative and almost certain to choose a field of engineering.  If you are a Colorado resident that would save on the pocketbook as well!