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Accelerated Degree Programs

Accelerated Degree Programs

RRCC Transfer Partnership

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Red Rocks Community College/Western Partnership Program

Western Colorado University has partnered with Red Rocks Community College to create an innovative degree path that allows students to earn their associate degree, bachelor’s degree and master’s degree in as little as five years.

How it works

Students will complete their first two years of study and earn their associate degree at Red Rocks Community College in Lakewood, CO, and transfer to Western where they will complete the remainder of their coursework in Gunnison. Students will spend their first year at Western taking undergraduate courses, followed by a year of both undergraduate and graduate courses, leading to the completion of their bachelor’s degree. Students will spend their final year taking graduate courses to ultimately earn their master’s degree from Western’s School of Graduate Studies.

This unique partnership allows students to have a seamless credit transfer from Red Rocks Community College to Western, all while saving money and earning their master’s degree in as little time as possible.

Why Choose the Red Rocks Community College Accelerated Degree Partnership Program?

Bridging city living with the adventurous and inspiring landscape of the Colorado Rockies, students will have the opportunity to earn their associate degree, bachelor’s degree and master’s degree in as little as five years. This streamlined degree pathway saves students the maximum amount of time and money and prepares them to enter directly into the workforce after graduation with credentials significantly ahead of their peers.

Additionally, students will find support every step of the way, from coordinated advising to financial aid counseling to peer mentoring at Western. In Gunnison, a small community teeming with opportunity, students will have the chance to pursue internship placements and professional development opportunities unique to the area and distinct from those available in an urban environment.

Finally, Western’s small campus size, personable faculty and immersive learning environment will set students up for success after their transition from Red Rocks. With guaranteed credit transfer and automatic enrollment into both undergraduate and graduate programs (provided academic eligibility is maintained), this program ensures students will have the highest likelihood of completing further education after earning their associate degree, thereby further preparing them to take on an expanded field of professional opportunities that an advanced degree offers.

Explore your credit transfer with confidence

Transferology streamlines understanding how your previous coursework fits into your chosen program at Western. If you don’t find a direct match, reach out to our Transfer Evaluator; your credits are likely to transfer seamlessly.

Please note that this is an unofficial review. After admission and the submission of official transcripts, an official transfer evaluation will occur. If you have any questions about the application of transfer credits to Western course equivalents, contact the Office of the Registrar at reg_advise@western.edu or call 970.943.7056. We’re here to support your journey.

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Students must apply as a transfer student using the Western Undergraduate Application. Any student interested in partaking in this program will be automatically accepted upon meeting the following eligibility requirements:

  • Completion of an associate degree from Red Rocks Community College
  • At least a 2.3 GPA upon graduation from Red Rocks Community College*
  • Meeting program-specific criteria of desired graduate degree program at Western

*Students must maintain at least a 3.0 GPA at Western to be admitted into the School of Graduate Studies

If you are interested in participating in this program, contact undergraduate admissions to learn more about how to get started: 970.943.2119 | admissions@western.edu.

The Programs

The Red Rocks Community College/Western Colorado University partnership offers 10 degree pathways, each one designed to provide seamless credit transfer, for students to choose from. The details of each program are outlined below:

The Art to MGMM pathway will prepare students to take their love of visual arts to a career where they can oversee the maintenance and care of artwork and artifacts in a variety of settings. Students will begin this degree pathway by earning their A.A. in Art History from Red Rocks, where they will establish a base knowledge art throughout the ages and its cultural impact on society. Students will then earn their B.A. in Art with an Art History/Theory emphasis from Western where they will combine their theoretical knowledge of artistic practices with hands-on practice in a variety of art media. Finally, students will transition to the Master of Gallery & Museum Management program where they will further their knowledge of art and museum curation, and prepare for a fulfilling career in the art and/or museum sectors.

The Art to M.A. in Education pathway combines creative expression with pedagogy to prepare students for a fulfilling career pathway in the education sector. Students in this program will first earn their A.A. in Art from Red Rocks and then continue their undergraduate education at Western where they will earn their B.A. in Art with a K-12 Licensure emphasis. Finally, students will be admitted to Western’s School of Graduate Studies where they will complete a teaching residency experience while simultaneously taking coursework, ultimately earning their M.A. in Education (with possible added endorsements to enhance their degree).

The Biology to M.S. in Ecology pathway is perfect for students who want to take a scientific approach toward their affinity for natural ecosystems. Students begin by earning their A.S. in Biology at Red Rocks, and then continue to earn their B.S. in Biology with an Ecology emphasis from Western. After establishing a solid base of biological process viewed through an ecological lens, students will be admitted to the M.S. in Ecology program where they will participate in practical research that seeks to solve existing problems facing the conservation and wildlife management sectors, while simultaneously working to mitigate future issues. Following program completion, students will be qualified to take on roles in local, state, federal and tribal organizations focused on improving wildlife management in a variety of ecosystems.

The Biology to M.S. in High Altitude Exercise Physiology (HAEP) program focuses on combining biological processes with the movement of the human body while engaged in activity. This specialized program delivers an innovative curriculum wherein students have access to Western’s cutting-edge High-Altitude Performance (HAP) lab to both conduct studies and participate in research to strengthen their knowledge. Students in this program will begin their studies by earning their A.S. in Biology from Red Rocks and their B.S. in Biology from Western. Students will then enroll in Western’s School of Graduate Studies where they will complete their degree and earn an M.S. in High Altitude Exercise Physiology. Following program completion, students will be prepared to take on roles in the health, wellness and rehabilitation fields, or continue their research by pursuing positions in academia.

Western’s one-of-a-kind Outdoor Industry MBA is the perfect program for students who see their future as industry leaders in a rapidly growing sector focused on corporate sustainability and a love for outdoor recreation. Students in this program will begin learning the basics of business principles at Red Rocks where they will earn their A.A. in Business Administration. Students will then continue their learning on Western’s campus where they will build on their knowledge base and earn their B.A. in Business Administration. The skills they learn through the pursuit of their B.A. will propel them into the Outdoor Industry MBA program (OIMBA) where they will learn how to integrate business best practices into the evolving and expanding outdoor industry, a key business sector both in the Gunnison Valley as well as Colorado as a whole. Students who complete the program will be set up for success in pursuing corporate business roles or beginning their own unique business ventures.

Students pursuing the Chemistry to M.A. in Education pathway will take their interest in scientific inquiry and shape it into the ability to teach others about chemical processes. Students in this program will build a strong base of chemistry knowledge through both classroom and laboratory work as they earn their A.S. in Chemistry from RRCC and their B.S. in Chemistry with a K-12 emphasis at Western. Student will then diverge from Chemistry and enter into a hands-on teaching curriculum where they will combine coursework with a teaching residency experience in Western’s M.A. in Education program. Students have the option of pursuing additional added endorsements to enhance their degree and will be prepared to take on a variety of classroom environments post-graduation.

The Geography to Environment & Sustainability (ENVS) to Master in Environmental Management (MEM) pathway provides a holistic approach to the complex and increasingly important Environmental Management sector. Students begin this program by earning their A.A. in geography from Red Rocks where they will analyze the relationship between earth, landscape and communities. Students will then take their knowledge to Western where they will continue their studies to earn a B.A. in Environment & Sustainability and develop a nuanced understanding of human impact on the environment. Finally, students will complete their studies by earning a Master in Environmental Management degree where they will implement their knowledge by pursuing practical projects to meet the needs of local community partners.

In the Exercise and Sport Science with an emphasis in K-12 Licensure, Physical Education to M.A. in Education pathway, students will combine their passion for educating others with sports, health and movement. Students will begin this program by earning their A.A. in Physical Education from Red Rocks, and their B.S. in Exercise and Sport Science with an emphasis in K-12 Licensure, Physical Education. Students will then enroll in Western’s School of Graduate Studies where they will earn their M.A. in Education which includes a year-long teaching residency experience. In addition to their master’s, students can optionally pursue several added endorsements to enhance their degree. After completing the program students will be prepared to take on a full-time teaching position and help students engage in healthy activities to promote physical and mental wellbeing.

As environmental policy creation continues to surge to the forefront of modern politics, there is an increasing demand for knowledgeable and progressive activists who seek to improve the environmental outlook both locally and globally. In this degree pathway, students will earn their A.A. in Political Science from Red Rocks where they will establish a strong foundation of knowledge in political principles. They’ll continue their degree at Western where they will earn their B.A. in Politics & Government and then move forward to the Master in Environmental Management program. Here, they will view politics and policy creation through an environment and sustainability lens to consider how to combat existing climate and environment issues, as well as mitigate potential future challenges. Through hands-on projects and engaging coursework, students will graduate from the program prepared to enter into the fast-paced and increasingly important environmental policy sector.

The Spanish to M.A. in Education pathway will prepare students with the skills to help others learn to speak, read, write and converse in a new language. Students will start by earning their A.A. in Spanish from Red Rocks, and they’ll continue their education at Western where they’ll earn their bachelor’s degree in Spanish with a K-12 Licensure emphasis. Students will complete their education by earning their M.A. in Education from Western with the option to add additional endorsements to supplement their degree. After completing a year-long teaching residency as part of the program, students will have both the theoretical knowledge and practical skills needed to be an excellent educator in any classroom.

Frequently Asked Questions

Yes, RRCC associate degree requirements should be complete prior to beginning coursework toward the bachelor’s degree in the fall of year three. For a detailed timeline, see the individual degree plan associated with your specific program.

For general questions about the program, start with Admissions (970.943.2119 | admissions@western.edu).  Admissions will advise you on next steps for department-specific outreach.

When you transfer, you will be assigned a faculty advisor in the department associated with your chosen program.  In addition, you will have access to our EPIC Mentorship program. EPICs serve as personal peer-mentors to each new first-year and transfer student at Western. Your EPIC can assist you in learning about programs, provide academic support, and connect you to opportunities available at Western. Our knowledgeable staff in the Financial Aid Department will help you navigate your options for financial assistance and support you throughout your academic journey to graduation.

Your assigned faculty advisor at Western will work with you as you progress through required coursework as described in your program’s degree plan.  For specific degree and program requirements, including timing and requirements to earn provisional admission into the master’s program, see the individual degree plan associated with your specific program.

Additional questions?

Our friendly and informative admissions team is happy to provide information about our Elevated & Accelerated program so you can decide if it’s right for you. Book a meeting with an admissions counselor or schedule a visit for personalized information on this program and how it can meet your educational and professional goals.



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