Exceptional Choice

An education at the University of Northern Colorado is hands-on — in the classroom, the laboratory and the field. Here, learning stimulates the mind and awakens creativity.

Six outstanding colleges:

  • College of Education and Behavioral Sciences
  • College of Humanities and Social Sciences
  • Monfort College of Business
  • College of Natural and Health Sciences
  • College of Performing and Visual Arts
  • University College

UNC by the numbers


Undergraduate programs


Person sitting at desk

Courses with fewer than 30 students


Stack of books

Average class size ranges from


students depending on program

Three rows with six people in each row, last person singled out on last row


Student-to-Faculty ratio

Choose from majors and coursework in everything from Social Science and Sports and Exercise Science to Anthropology and Africana Studies.


UNC’s outstanding academic offerings and worldwide influence share a common theme—promoting human understanding and enriching lives globally. At UNC, you expand your knowledge, collaborate with faculty and engage in communities around the world. To deepen this unique approach, UNC focuses on five areas of engaged learning: Research and creative work, civic engagement, global experiences, leadership and professional experience.

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At UNC, research isn’t just a graduate school experience. It’s a big part of undergraduate education.

Receiving more than $30 million in external funding over the past three years, UNC’s faculty and students study, explore, grow and experience through horizon-expanding research. Undergraduate students deepen learning through internships, student teaching, fieldwork, student mentoring, clinical placement programs and research. UNC recognizes undergraduate students for their scholarly accomplishments and research by publishing the bi-yearly Undergraduate Research Journal.

Our broad academic offerings and worldwide influence share a common theme of promoting human understanding and enriching lives globally. At UNC, you will expand your knowledge beyond the classroom and engage in a collective environment with faculty and communities around the world. Education isn’t just about classes, grades and exams—it’s about the experiences you’ll have along the way.

In the wide, open spaces of Wyoming’s Big Horn Basin, UNC student Miles Wentland chips a few pieces of limestone from an outcrop and peers at them closely under magnification. Taking some measurements, he adds them to his undergraduate research project and preps to present his finding at the upcoming Geological Society of America’s national conference.

Entrance of Fraiser Hall

Across campus in Frasier Hall, piano music drifts down the hall as Shaina Rush researches how improvisational therapy methods can help musicians with musical performance anxiety.

Academic Opportunities

At UNC, the opportunities are limitless, rigorous and hands-on. Work side-by-side with professors and peers on research as an integral element of your UNC undergraduate experience. Gain experience-deep understanding in your field with more than 250 community-based, internship or practica-based courses, and more than 500 study abroad programs.

Benefit from the 20 institutes and centers on campus—like the Tointon Institute for Educational Change and Math and Science Teaching Institute (MAST) or the Rocky Mountain Cancer Rehabilitation Institute (RMCRI).

UNC offers hundreds of rewarding opportunities for study abroad in

63 countries


Learn about the world, gain new perspectives and build valuable skills for the global workforce. Explore options like UNC Exchange, Affiliated Study Abroad, Faculty-Led Programs and Summer Study Abroad.

  • Man standing in front of a Colosseum in Rome, Italy
  • Woman standing in front of terrain
  • Woman standing in front of statue
  • Man standing in front of cobblestone bridge
  • Woman sitting on steps with a water view in the background
  • Man standing in front of flower garden

Since childhood, Rachel Rose Jackson wanted to visit Africa, so studying abroad seemed like the perfect way to accomplish her goal. A UNC nursing major from Santa Fe, New Mexico, Rachel studied in Africa and went on to co-found the Kayayei Association, a nonprofit that offers health care, education and vocational training to women and children in Ghana.

With wide open opportunities like study abroad, UNC students reach out for global experiences, enriching their education and making differences for people around the world and close to home.

Success Looks Like Me

From its beginnings 125 years ago, the University of Northern Colorado has been proud of its graduates — professionals who step out into the world to change lives and shape the world around them.

Teachers, artists, entrepreneurs, nurses, scientists and historians — alumni who are passionate about their work, and who carry with them skills and knowledge that was shared with them by expert faculty.

We want to share the stories of eight of our outstanding alumni, each representing the 130,000 graduates who’ve passed through UNC classrooms.

At UNC, you follow in the footsteps of some amazing students, then you step out into life and leave footprints of your own — on a path you choose and flourish with your skills and passion.

Take a look below or download a PDF version you can print or save on your computer for future reference or inspiration.

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Take a look at eight of our outstanding alumni

Courtney Empson-Waley
Criminal Justice and Psychology
Bradley N. Inhulsen
Business Finance
Amanda Miller
Sociology with a Spanish minor
Jose Martinez III
Social Science
Jenni Cyphers
Athletic Training
Alton Dillard
Journalism and Mass Communications
Dr. Violeta Garcia, PhD
Biological Education
Gerry Heise
Trumpet Performance
Courtney Empson-Waley

Courtney Empson-Waley

Foster-to-Adoption Manager, Adoption Options
Bachelor of Arts, Criminal Justice and Psychology, 2007

“UNC gave me the opportunity to collaborate and work with people from all walks of life. Even when their opinions or beliefs contradicted with my own, I learned to be present in the conversation and take away what I could. This experience has been essential to my social work career.”

Courtney graduated from UNC with a bachelor’s degree in psychology and criminal justice in 2008. Courtney is a first-generation graduate, being the first member of her family to attend and complete her education from a four year institution. While at UNC, Courtney volunteered and worked with a local non-profit as a Sexual Assault Victim Advocate, which kept her involved with campus activities like “Take Back the Night” and partnerships with the Assault Survivors Advocacy Program.

Courtney was also involved in campus life through her membership in Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated which she joined in 2007. After graduating and returning to Denver, Courtney began working with Adoption Alliance as an Administrative Assistant in the foster care program and within two months realized that she had a passion for working with families. Courtney became a foster care case manager in early 2009 and has worked with children in foster care as a case manager, foster care coordinator and residential mental health worker.

She now works for Adoption Options as a Foster-to-Adoption Program Manager, a program she helped start at her agency in 2012 and as a Mental Health Worker for Mount Saint Vincent’s Home in Denver.

Bradley N. Inhulsen

Bradley N. Inhulsen

Broker Associate and Owner, Sears Real Estate
Bachelor of Science, Business Finance, 2012

“My time at UNC helped me develop the skills in relationship-building that are so vital to my career today. I’m grateful for all of the people I got to know before graduation, and the support I received through the Monfort College of Business and Career Services. This is why I push alumni to give back; because those relationships are just one of the reasons UNC is such a great university.”

Brad Inhulsen is a young professional in real estate who stresses the importance of dedication in every aspect of his career. Brad graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Business Finance from UNC’s Monfort College of Business in the spring of 2012.

Since graduation, Brad has been helping families buy and sell homes at Sears Real Estate in Greeley, and throughout Northern Colorado, but believes that the true nature of his business is building relationships throughout the community. Brad is detail-oriented, balancing his time between business and giving back to the community through a variety of volunteer efforts.

Currently, Brad acts as Director for the Colorado Association of Realtors, is a Board Member for Sears Real Estate, and a member of the UNC Young Alumni Council. Brad was recently awarded with the Alumni Spirit Award for his exceptional achievements in his career field and his continuing service to UNC.

Amanda Miller

Amanda Miller

Service Representative, Social Security Administration in Greeley
Bachelor of Arts, Sociology with a Spanish minor, 2009

“I truly learned a lot about the Spanish language and culture and will never forget my time in Madrid. My travel experiences really opened my eyes to the outside world and allowed me to experience various cultures that I don’t have exposure to at home.”

As a service representative for the Social Security Administration in Greeley, Amanda Miller finds that she uses the skills and knowledge she developed at UNC on a daily basis. She says that her UNC degree gave her a strong knowledge base for working with people of varied cultural, education and socioeconomic backgrounds, as well as strong Spanish language skills, all of which have been invaluable in her work.

In addition to her required coursework, Amanda says she learned a great deal beyond the classroom as well. She says she gained life skills like managing multiple workloads, organization, time management, financial responsibility and independence. Study abroad was also a factor in her education and preparation for professional success. She headed to Madrid, Spain, for a four-week study abroad program, as well as travelling to New York City, Lisbon, Portugal and Paris.

Jose Martinez

Jose Martinez III

Economics and Social Studies Teacher, Bear Creek High School
Bachelor of Arts, Social Science, 2007

“UNC was one of the most valuable experiences in my life because it taught me that the future belongs to those of us who are still willing to get our hands dirty. Becoming a good teacher is not an easy process. There are setbacks, mistakes and an incredible amount of time, but I heard a quote from Conan O’Brien that I think encapsulates the process; ‘Work hard and be kind and amazing things will happen.’ There is very little we can control in the world of education, but we can control ourselves; and in doing so, if we want it bad enough, we can change the world.”

Coming from a long line of educators, Jose Martinez III graduated from UNC in 2007 with a bachelor’s degree in social science with an emphasis in secondary education. While at UNC, Jose was an active member of the Cumbres Teacher Preparation Program, was involved in a Latino-based fraternity, served as a peer-tutor through Academic Support and Advising and was a part of the school’s prestigious President’s Leadership Program.

Jose is an economics and social studies teacher at Bear Creek High School in Lakewood, Colorado, and is known for his creative approach to education. In 2013, he was honored with the prestigious Milken Educator Award. Also known as “the Oscar of Education,” the Milken recognizes the accomplishments of early-career educators and fosters their continued development.

Jenni Cyphers

Jenni Cyphers

Athletic Trainer and Sports Medicine Teacher, The Classical Academy
Bachelor of Science, Athletic Training, 2011

“There is no other program in the state that prepares athletic training students to start their athletic training position than the program at UNC. They create a senior capstone experience that allows seniors to develop autonomy and confidence.”

Jenni Cyphers’ dream job was to work as an athletic trainer at the high school she attended before coming to the University of Northern Colorado. It’s a goal she me after graduating with her degree from UNC’s highly regarded Sports and Exercise Science program.

UNC has the longest standing accredited Athletic Training Education Program in Colorado and Jenni is a member of the program’s large community of successful alumni. Students in the rigorous five-semester program build skills and knowledge in medical evaluation, rehabilitation, treatment protocols, emergency care, injury prevention strategies, health administration and human performance.

During her studies as UNC, Jenni worked with UNC’s athletic training room as well as at an off-site clinic or high school almost daily, gaining clinical and hands-on experience. She says that UNC taught her to build a sports medicine program at her school from the ground up.

Alton Dillard

Alton Dillard

Senior Public Information Officer, Denver Elections Division
Bachelor of Arts, Journalism and Mass Communications, 1986

“I’ll always be a proud Bear because UNC took a chance on a less-than-stellar high school student and allowed me to transform into a good student both academically and through extracurricular activities like the University Program Council, the Black Student Union and intramural athletics. Being a Bear helped broaden my world. My first three roommates in Turner Hall were two snuff-dipping cowboys from Salida and a junior hockey player from the suburbs of St. Louis. That too was a learning experience.”

Since graduating with a bachelor’s degree in Journalism-Mass Communications in 1986, Alton Dillard has received a number of awards and honors. In 2009, he was honored by UNC with the Alumni Association’s Distinguished Service Award. He was also named “Future Black History Maker” by the Rocky Mountain News, and Professional of the Year by the Colorado Association of Black Journalists.

From 1993 to 2005, Alton grew his expertise as Deputy Press Secretary and Press Director to U.S. Senator Ben Nighthorse Campbell. Alton currently serves as the Senior Public Information Officer for the Denver Elections Division. In this post, Alton oversees all election-related communications, serves as spokesman, legislative liaison, social media manager and staff photographer. Alton grew up in Denver, and chose UNC “because UNC chose him.”

Violeta Garcia

Dr. Violeta Garcia, PhD

Principal Designer at STEM Learning by Design
PhD, Biological Education, 2013

“My education at UNC helped bridge my passions into a new career in the design of STEM education programs for students throughout Colorado.”

Dr. Garcia is a native of El Salvador. Her family immigrated to the United States after fleeing civil war in her home country in 1988. She is the third of six children, who collectively have earned five bachelors’ degrees, three masters’ degrees, and she is the first to earn a PhD.

Violeta holds a Bachelor’s of Biological Sciences from the Cal State University, Fullerton. She earned her master’s degree from UCLA, and a doctorate from UNC. While at UNC, Violeta was awarded the Graduate Dean’s Citation for Excellence in 2012 and was also recognized as the Inspiring Woman Student in 2012. Her mission is to advocate for the advancement of students who typically don’t have experiences and exposure to science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM).

Violeta has served as the STEM Coordinator for the Colorado Department of Education where she developed Colorado’s Vision for STEM education, contributed to the development of the Colorado STEM Education Roadmap, and built capacity for teachers to interpret the standards and integrating STEM education in all content areas to make learning meaningful and personal for all students. She continues her work in advancing STEM opportunities through her business, STEM Learning by Design.

Gerry Heise

Gerry Heise

Executive Director for Greeley Philharmonic Orchestra
Bachelor of Music, Trumpet Performance, 2012

“My educational journey at UNC led me to discovering a career in Arts Administration. I was able to hone my musical ability while learning the necessary business and work-place skills to lead an arts organization. I encourage all students to follow their passions, and surround themselves with individuals that will help them follow those passions. UNC is full of faculty and staff that will help you discover and cultivate your passions and dreams.”

Following his passions, Gerry Heise graduated from UNC with a degree in music performance and minor in business in the fall of 2012. While at UNC, Gerry worked in the Greeley community and on campus in Community Art outreach offices, gaining in-depth insight into the role of the arts in local neighborhoods and school programs.

Using what he learned, Gerry is helping to advance the Greeley Philharmonic Orchestra’s long tradition of success and community engagement as their Executive Director. At the Greeley Philharmonic, Gerry manages all human and financial resources, implements policies set by the Board of Directors, sets the tone for organizational operations and oversees the contact of external constituents including guest artists, school districts, patrons and potential volunteers and donors.

He is also involved in growing the arts within the Greeley community as a Board Member of the Greeley Creative District. This district works in partnership with UNC, the Downtown Development Authority, the City of Greeley, and the Colorado Creative Industries to promote the creative enterprises in the community.