University of Northern Colorado

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Updated August 7, 2020

Colorado looked significantly different in the 1880s when compared to how it looks today. Then known for its mining and other similar industries, many of those who arrived in the state had little to no opportunities for further education. That all changed when the state established the Colorado State Normal School. From the time it opened in 1890 up until the 1910s, it only offered certificate programs and primarily focused on teacher education. Students graduated with the skills necessary to teach their own classes in the state and in the newer states forming further west. After becoming a state recognized college in the 1910s, it began awarding degrees. Within a few years, it also expanded its course catalog and eventually became the University of Northern Colorado.

UNC now consists of two different campuses in Greenly. Each of those campuses focuses on a different aspect of learning, and students typically take all their required courses on one or the other. It also added four satellite campuses in cities like Denver and Colorado City to help students fulfill basic requirements before transferring to a larger campus or to earn a lower level degree. The university also owns its own country retreat where professors take students on field trips and for outdoor learning experiences.

University of Northern Colorado Accreditation Details

There is a big difference between regional and national accreditation, but many don't realize that regional accreditation is generally better. Regional accreditation comes from an organization or agency affiliated with a national organization that ensures a school provides a valuable educational experience for every student enrolled. The factors those organizations look at range from the size of classes and the educational history of its professors to the number of students who gradate within four years or less and how many students work in the field they studied after graduation. One example of a regional organization is the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools, which is a division of the HLC. This organization granted general accreditation to the University of Northern Colorado.

Students may also want to look at whether a school has any specialized accreditation. Specialized accreditation refers to accreditation given to a specific program. The University of Northern Colorado received accreditation from the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education for its bachelor's, master's and doctoral programs in education. The NCATE originally granted accreditation to the university in 1954 for its first in-depth educational programs, and it continues renewing the university's accreditation every decade.

University of Northern Colorado Application Requirements

Applying for admission to the graduate school at the University of Northern Colorado requires the completion of six separate steps. Students must first complete the online application and pay the required fee, which is $50. They can either pay the fee online or send a check or money order to the university. All applicants must also take the GRE and submit their scores. UNC requires a minimum score of 140 on the quantitative reasoning section, 146 on the verbal section and a 3.5 on the analytical writing section for acceptance. They will also need to arrange for any schools they attended to send their official transcripts to the university and submit letters of recommendation.

The doctoral level programs offered by UNC are more intensive and require more work, but students will still need to apply for admission through the graduate school. Applicants must show that they received a minimum grade point average of 3.0 or higher in the most recent upper level courses they take. Those entering any of the educational doctoral programs will also need to show that they took an upper level research course. Anyone who didn't take a research course will need to take one before beginning their doctoral studies.

Tuition and Financial Aid

The University of Northern Colorado charges different rates for residents and nonresidents. The university defines residents as students who lived full time in the state for a period of one year or more before starting their studies. Students can also gain resident status if they lived 51% or more of their time in Colorado. Resident students pay around $500 per credit hour, but the cost of educational courses is slightly higher at $575 per credit hour. Full time students who take nine credit hours of courses pay close to $6,000 per semester. They also pay library fees, technology fees and other fees that vary based on the number of courses taken. The cost of classes for nonresident students is close to $1,200 per credit hour, which equates to nearly $11,000 per semester no including fees. Online students pay the same tuition fees based on whether they live in or out of state.

Students who cannot afford the cost of attending UNC can apply for financial assistance. They need to file the FAFSA, or Free Application for Student Financial Aid, and list UNC on the form. Their responses determine whether they qualify for federal grants, government loans, work study programs or select scholarships available through the university.

Doctor of Education in Educational Studies

The University of Northern Colorado developed its Doctor of Education in Educational Studies, also known as an Educational Doctorate in Educational Studies, for students interested in remaining informed and up to date on the changes that teachers experience in the classroom. Its founders realized that teachers had problems adjusting to the use of new technology and using the Internet in their classrooms and wanted their students to feel better prepared to meet those challenges. UNC offers the program on campus and online, and U.S. News and World Report ranked the university as one of the top online schools in the United States.

Graduating from the program requires the completion of no less than 64 credit hours of work. Twelve of those credits come from the educational studies core, which includes classes on research literature and curriculum development, and 12 credits come from two courses students take on research topics. Educational students must also take a doctoral seminar. Students have the option of completing a practicum in the field or taking a class in lieu of that practicum. Sixteen of the credits that students earn come from the dissertation they complete at the end of their studies. The University of Northern Colorado grants them eight credits for their research and eight credits for the dissertation.

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