About the Academic Catalog

This publication has been authorized by the Board of Trustees for Adams State University. The provisions of this publication are not to be regarded as an irrevocable contract between the student and the university. The information presented is based on commonly accepted practices at Colorado state colleges, and has been developed for Adams State University. The university reserves the right to change any provision or requirement at any time subsequent to the publication of this catalog.

About Adams State

“Great Stories Begin Here” is not simply a slogan at Adams State University. Student success is the result of our caring campus culture. Highly qualified faculty focus on teaching and excellence within their disciplines. Individual attention is provided through our small class sizes and student-faculty ratio of 14:1. This is all part of The Adams Experience.

Founded in 1921 to serve the rural, south-central region of Colorado, Adams State remains crucial to the area’s educational opportunity, economic development, and cultural enrichment.

Adams State University is a state-supported university. We offer a wide variety of associate’s degrees, bachelor’s degrees, teacher licensure programs, and pre-professional programs, in addition to master’s and doctoral degrees.

Colorado’s first federally designated, four-year Hispanic-Serving Institution (HSI), Adams State is proud to have the most diverse student body of the state’s four-year institutions. Total minority enrollment exceeds 50 percent, with almost 40 percent of undergraduate students identifying as Hispanic. A third of our students are the first in their families to attend college.

With about one-third of the student body participating in athletics, the Adams State Grizzlies compete in the NCAA Division II and the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference (RMAC). Adams State also has a wide variety of student clubs and organizations, including the Adams State Adventure Program, which teaches skills to enjoy the great outdoors.

An intimate campus with tree-lined walkways, state-of-the-art classrooms and laboratories, supportive programs, and vibrant student life await students at Adams State University.

Welcome from the President

Are you looking for a place where you can get a big university experience with a personal touch? A place where you can receive a quality education with qualified professors in a small classroom setting? A place where you can be involved in campus clubs and athletics and make a difference? A place where your degree will not burden you with debt after you graduate? Then you have found the perfect place.

Welcome to Adams State University (ASU) where every student is considered part of the Grizzly family. Our current and past students will tell you that our small classes and caring campus community will help you build relationships with your professors and your fellow students—relationships that will help you through your academics and into the workplace.

A degree from Adams State will prepare you for the global workplace. In addition to high-quality and competitive academic programs taught by qualified professors, you will join students from 48 different states, 19 countries, and 4 territories. We also offer a wide-array of activities, athletics, clubs, and chances to build life-long relationships. These activities help prepare you to make a difference in the community once you graduate and leave our beautiful campus.

To help you graduate, we have multiple delivery models and other accommodations for starting, continuing, and completing your degree. We have intentional pathways to individualize your path to graduation. These services are listed in this catalog and we encourage you to give us the opportunity to help you find the path to graduation that is best for you. We look forward to having you join our Grizzly tradition as you create your own great story. Join us. We hope to see you soon.

Purpose Statement

Adams State University’s driving purpose is to provide equitable access to education for all. We promote successful and engaged lives by caring for connecting with, and challenging our students, campus, and community. As Colorado’s premier Hispanic Serving Institution, Adams State University draws on its rural location in the San Luis Valley, to serve and empower all students, especially those from historically underserved populations.

Vision Statement

To become the university community of choice for diverse and traditionally underrepresented groups and all who value quality education and inclusivity.

As members of the Adams State University community, we value:

  • The ability of education to positively change our students’ lives, regardless of background or location
  • Teaching and learning strategies to engage our students, and help them apply their learning to life
  • A campus community that embraces its’ diverse members, and which wants to grow through exposure to the diversity around them.
  • A community that strives to exemplify trust, respect and civility in our interactions with all campus members
  • Students who want to engage their professors in meaningful ongoing intellectual discussion and activities.
  • Development of lasting personal relationships between students, faculty and staff
  • Embracing innovative ideas and bringing them to fruition through collaboration across the campus community
  • Responsible use of our human, natural, and fiscal resources to support education opportunities for all
  • Faculty and students who engage in scholarship, research, and creative work throughout their Adams Experience
  • Academic Programs that push students to experience and apply learning in ways they did not think possible
  • Collaboration, on and off campus, that is interdisciplinary and intersectional
  • Students, faculty and staff who continuously strive to develop and apply new skills
  • A campus community that seeks to continuously improve everything we do
  • A curriculum that engenders personal and professional accomplishments beyond academic career
  • Quality of life for students and professionals

Learning Outcomes

Institutional Learning Outcomes

Adams Outcomes (ASU’s institutional learning outcomes) specify the knowledge, skills, and abilities that Adams State students are expected to develop as a result of their Adams Experience. These include curricular (General Education and the majors), co-curricular, and extracurricular opportunities.

Program Learning Outcomes

Each academic program identifies specific goals and learning outcomes that identify the knowledge, skills and abilities developed in that degree and needed for related careers.  


Adams State University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC) at 230 South LaSalle Street, Suite 7-500, Chicago, Illinois, 60604. HLC can be contacted by phone at 800-621-7440, by email at inquiry@hlcommission.org or by web at www.ncahlc.org.

For more information, visit the HLC webpage.

Individual programs are accredited through the National Association of Schools of Music, Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE), and the Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP). Adams State University is an institutional member of the American Council on Education, the American Association of State Colleges and Universities, the American Assembly of Collegiate Schools of Business, and the National Association of Schools of Music. Adams State University is also a member of the Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities (HACU).

Buildings/Campus Tour

The 97-acre Adams State University campus has undergone ongoing improvements over the past 20 years. These include upgraded student housing, remodeled academic buildings, athletic fields, a stadium complex, and parking lots.

The Nielsen Library

The center of an institution of higher education should be its library. Adams State University’s Nielsen Library, constructed of Colorado red stone and accented with white columns and trim, was completed in 1973. It houses TRiO Student Support Services, the Grizzly Testing and Learning Center, and the Student Success Center and Academic Advising.

The Nielsen Library provides for the selection, acquisition, cataloging, classification, storage, and retrieval of information published in a variety of print and non-print formats. Some of the special features of the library include study areas equipped with individual carrels; access to articles and databases, research guides, books and e-books, courses reserve materials, audio options and a seed library; the Ruth Marie Colville Room and the Dr. Jack Kyle Cooper Room, which house valuable material on the history of the San Luis Valley, Colorado, northern New Mexico, and the Southwest; and the Archive Room, which contains materials and memorabilia from the university. An electronic classroom for library instruction is located on the first floor, and an information commons, the Grizzly Testing and Learning Center are located on the second floor, and additional classrooms are located on the third floor. The library is a member of the Western Colorado Academic Library Consortium (WCALC) and Colorado Academic Library Consortium (CALC).

The Nielsen Library offers an introductory research course teaching students how to effectively use its resources and services for academic work and lifelong learning.

Instruction Buildings

Adams State University’s academic facilities feature the latest technology and computer equipment for all disciplines.

  • The Music Building, renovated in 2011, has state-of-the-art music technology and meets modern acoustical standards. The building has a recording studio, two rehearsal halls, a percussion studio, four practice rooms, and musical instruments.
  • McDaniel Hall, was also remodeled in 2011 and offers an optimal learning environment with technology-enhanced classrooms and multiple study areas.
  • Leon Memorial Concert Hall is an upgraded recital venue with new seating and acoustic enhancements and features a Steinway grand piano and historic pipe organ.
  • The School of Business features SMART classrooms, lecture halls, and advanced computing labs.
  • The Adams State Theatre, is equipped with two modern stages, lighting, and production equipment.
  • The Art Building features a SMART classroom, a circular gallery, and modern studio facilities for ceramics, sculpture, metals, painting, drawing, photography, printmaking, and graphic design.
  • Porter Hall houses modern laboratories and computer labs for the science and mathematics programs. It also features the Edward Ryan Geological Museum.
  • The Zacheis Planetarium and Observatory offers Adams State students unique opportunities to expand their knowledge and experience well beyond the classroom through interaction with the public or individual research projects.
  • The Nursing program features a well-equipped simulation laboratory. Our nursing students are well prepared for clinical experience with instruction that features state-of-the-art medical equipment, and simulation technology.
  • The East Campus, a former elementary school, was renovated to house the Kinesiology program, Outdoor Education and Stewardship, and Food Studies programs. Performance and exercise science labs, and a Food Studies lab and professional kitchen are highlights of this building.

Student Union Building

The SUB is the lively, friendly hub of the campus. It houses the One Stop Student Services Center, La Mesa Dining Hall, the Bookstore, and Co-curricular Recreation and Engagement (CoRE) Office. Also located in the SUB are offices of the student government, student newspaper, radio station and a 24-hour computer lab. Other amenities include a food court, coffee shop, convenience store, hair salon, art supply store, meeting rooms and the Loft with snacks, games, and television sets.

Rex Activity Center

Rex Activity Center is a lively facility for fitness, wellness, and recreation. It has state-of-the-art cardiovascular equipment and offers a variety of fitness options, including aerobic sessions, weight training, racquetball, basketball, volleyball, and a climbing wall. It is a great place to get in shape and meet friends. Rex is also the home of the Adams State Adventure Program and equipment rental shop.

Plachy Hall

The center of physical and recreational activities on campus is Plachy Hall and its surrounding grounds. The facility houses two basketball courts, a modern weight room, and indoor Olympic-size swimming pool. It is adjacent to soccer, lacrosse, softball, and football fields, as well as Rex Stadium and outdoor track and the High Altitude Training Center.

High Altitude Training Center

The 85,000 square-foot High Altitude Training Center is a “bubble”–an air supported dome structure– that is home to indoor track and field events. The center features a 200-meter, 8-lane track with a synthetic rubber surface that provides high quality shock absorption, skid resistance, force reduction, and overall comfort for athletes. It also provides space for jumps, vaults, and throwing events, as well as spectator seating and public restrooms.

Richardson Hall

Adams state’s historic Richardson Hall, the oldest building on campus, was completely remodeled in 2015. The building was named after the college’s first president, Ira Richardson. It houses- administrative offices, including the Office of the President, the Offices of Student Services, Academic Affairs, Financial Aid, Registrar, and the Graduate School Office, as well as other administrative offices. The Admissions Office and Welcome Center are located on the first floor.

Also housed in Richardson Hall are an auditorium and the Luther Bean Museum, as well as Upward Bound, Counseling and Career Services, the Nursing Department, and Extended Studies.

Residence Halls

The Residences at Rex is the jewel in the crown of student housing at Adams State University, with four-bedroom apartments that feature views of two mountain ranges and the football playing field. Other residence halls vary in size, accommodation, lifestyle, and regulations.


Adams State University, founded in 1921 by the Colorado General Assembly, opened June 15, 1925. The university’s namesake is long-time San Luis Valley resident William “Billy” Adams, a former state senator and Governor of Colorado who tirelessly pursued establishment of the college. Adams State carries out his vision of making quality higher education both accessible and affordable for underserved populations, such as underrepresented minority, first-generation, and low-income students.

Founded specifically to educate teachers for rural communities, the university has evolved into a comprehensive liberal arts university offering associate’s, bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral programs. Adams State University maintains its vital role as a leader in teacher education throughout southern and western Colorado. Throughout its history, Adams State has been crucial to enhancing the area’s educational opportunities, economic development, and cultural enrichment.


Adams State University is located in Alamosa, Colorado, a city of 10,000 people. Situated in the San Luis Valley in south-central Colorado, the campus is surrounded by the breathtaking beauty of the Sangre de Cristo and San Juan mountain ranges. With peaks towering more than 14,300 feet, the mountains provide a variety of winter and summer activities and account for the brisk winter nights and sun-filled days for which the Valley is known. A sense of history and adventure unique to the Southwest creates an environment conducive to both academic and social growth. Denver is 220 miles to the north, and Albuquerque, New Mexico, is 200 miles to the south. Within a two-hour drive are five ski areas and historic towns such as Taos, Santa Fe, and Creede.

Explore the San Luis Valley

Adams State University is centrally located in the world’s largest alpine valley surrounded by two mountain ranges, one that is the source of the Rio Grande. It is also home to the nation’s newest national park, the Great Sand Dunes National Park and Preserve, the oldest church in Colorado, located in Conejos, and the oldest town in the state, San Luis. The history of the area is a rich blend of Hispanic and other cultures that influence life in the San Luis Valley. Outdoor recreation opportunities abound in every season. Movie theaters, restaurants, and pubs offer entertaining nightlife.

More information about the area