By the numbers: College of Natural Sciences

Erik Petrovich

Natural Sciences
(Graphic by Mariah Wenzel)

The College of Natural Sciences may only be the third largest college when it comes to numbers, but almost every student at Colorado State University has gone through one of its many departments because the college offers the most required classes, according to Director of Operations Georgeann Venis.

Today, the College of Natural Sciences encompasses eight departments ranging from computer science to biology, while offering more than 20 majors. In Fall 2015, about 3,400 out of CSU’s nearly 21,000 undergraduate students had majors within the college, according to its website. There are also about 600 graduate students pursuing master’s degrees within the College of Natural Sciences.


(Photo by Kevin Olson)
(Photo by Kevin Olson)

Because of the large umbrella encompassing many different majors and departments within the College of Natural Sciences, its graduates find work in all corners of the globe.

Judy Brobst, a career counselor within the college, said that technology alumni, including math, computer science and physics majors, have found work at companies such as Tesla, Oracle and the National Security Agency.

Life science alumni, including biology, biochemistry and chemistry majors, often find themselves working in the pharmaceutical industry or in health service. The National Jewish Medical Center, Tolmar and Allosource are all Colorado-based companies that have hired life science alumni.

Zoology alumni can be found working at places like the Denver Zoo and in animal rescue, while Psychology alumni have found work with a large variety of employers, everything from treatment centers to business training programs.

The freshman class is not the largest in this college, as seniors dominate the College of Natural Sciences. In terms of minority enrollment, the college enrolls the third-largest number of Latino students, following the College of Liberal Arts and the College of Health and Human Sciences. It also enrolls the third-largest number of female students, who outnumber male students within the college by about 300.

In a graduation survey conducted at the end of the 2013-2014 year, out of 606 respondents, 274 had found careers and 184 were continuing their education. About 25 percent of Natural Sciences graduates, or 148 respondents, were still seeking employment. The average entry salary for those who found employment was $48,000. 

Having an internship may not guarantee you will work with that organization post-graduation. When 212 graduates were asked if they had an internship with a company before being employed by them, 157 said they did not. However, those who did have prior internships with their respective companies earned an average of $13,000 more than their counterparts.

Distinguished Alumni from the College of Natural Sciences

Leslie Buttorf — Statistics, CEO of Quintel Management Systems

Rocco Fabiano — Zoology/Biochemistry, Chairman of Gimbal Inc.

Mary Cleave — Biological Science, former administrator at NASA


Duane Harris — Biological Science, founder of Sea Georgia Adventures

Mike Swanson — Chemistry, top Colorado OB/GYN physician

Carla Hawley Bowland — Physical Science, Retired Army Medical Commander 

When CSU was founded in 1879, then called Colorado Agricultural College, there were just two professors, one president and no departments. Some of the first classes taught after the college opened its doors were arithmetic and physics, which were later incorporated into the Department of Engineering and Physics in 1886.

As more departments were added over time and as CSU went through two name changes, the College of Sciences and the Arts was created in 1957. The College of Natural Sciences has only been known by that name for less than 50 years, being formally created in the late 1960s.


Collegian City Beat Reporter Erik Petrovich can be reached at or on Twitter @EAPetrovich.