Twenty years ago, you could be forgiven for thinking everyone in Colorado worked in ranching, mining, or energy—historic pillars of the Centennial State’s economy. But Colorado’s job market has diversified significantly since Puff Daddy last dominated the Billboard charts. Our local universities have responded to this shift with programs designed for the state’s new (and improved) workplaces. Here’s a look at three unique degree, certificate, or course offerings suited for our 21st-century economy.

Play To The Crowd

Only two other states (Utah and Vermont) boast a larger percentage of adults who attend live music, theater, or dance performances than Colorado—a stat that has ensured plenty of opportunities for local creatives. Now there are even more artsy possibilities for students at Regis University, thanks to a recent partnership with the Arvada Center for the Arts and Humanities. The collaboration allows undergrads and graduate students to receive credit for any dance, acting, or ceramics classes they take at the nearby venue—and sets the groundwork for future joint programs that would further bolster Colorado’s arts scene. Regis, for instance, hopes to create an MFA in playwriting; the Arvada Center’s contracted actors would then perform student-written productions.

Regis University
A collaboration between Regis University and the Arvada Center for the Arts and Humanities allows students to receive credit for any dance, acting or ceramics class they may take. Photo by Brett Stakelin/Courtesy of Regis University.

Untangle The Web

Since fall 2016, the University of Denver has offered an accelerated master’s degree in cybersecurity (at reduced tuition); now, administrators are adding a part-time option as well. DU’s designation as a center for academic excellence in cyber defense—a label bestowed by the National Security Agency and Department of Homeland Security—means its professors know exactly what skills aspiring analysts need to snag one of the Centennial State’s estimated 9,500 job openings in cybersecurity. In addition to courses such as computer forensics and ethical hacking, the program, which can take anywhere from nine months to two years to complete, features experiential learning opportunities. (Past students have landed internships at leading cybersecurity firms such as Colorado Springs’ Root 9B and Denver-based Dark Owl.)

Colorado State University
Colorado State University wants to train guides who show outdoor-activity rookies how to shred, raft and climb the right way. Photo courtesy of Colorado State University.

Adventure Smarter

The 71 percent of Coloradans heading outdoors to shred, raft, and climb each year aren’t always skilled enough to navigate the backcountry alone. Colorado State University wants to train the guides who show these rookies the way. Its new graduate certificate in adventure tourism, led by former Vail Resorts executive vice president Mark Gasta, addresses everything from attracting investors to your fledgling business to the logistics of shepherding a group of six greenhorns down the Arkansas River. Bonus: The six required courses are entirely online—and purposefully scheduled during shoulder seasons—so you can further your professional career without taking too much time off from your own adventures. Read more about the program here.