A recent article in Forbes magazine listed the top 10 master’s degrees that provide the best options for job opportunities. CU Denver | Anschutz holds the distinction of offering eight of the top 10 programs, which are ranked by long-term employment outlook and salary levels.


Master’s programs offered at CU Denver | Anschutz that ranked in the top 10 include information systems (No. 1), physician assistant (No. 3), computer science, electrical engineering (tie, No. 4), finance, nursing, public health (tie, No. 6) and civil engineering (No. 10).

Growing fields of technology, risk management, finance

“Growth industries such as technology, health care, energy, risk management and finance—these are all big areas in terms of excellent employment opportunities,” said CU Denver Business School Dean Sueann Ambron. “Between CU Denver and CU Anschutz, we offer a wealth of programs in these areas, including master’s programs.”

The Business School has integrated itself into the fabric of the region’s business community with direct connections to 300 companies. This collaboration translates to opportunities across all business disciplines, including the hot-jobs master’s programs in information systems and finance.

“Information systems are really integral to almost every job function today,” said Associate Dean of Programs Dawn Gregg, PhD, MS, MBA. “Whether you’re an accountant or finance person or a marketer, you’re going to use information systems to do your job more efficiently. That has really heightened the demand for people who know how to use information systems in the workforce.”

Ajeyo Banerjee, PhD, CMA, director of the Business School’s Risk Management and Insurance program, said finance covers a broad area of employment areas, including accounting, risk management, insurance and other disciplines. Because of globalization, technology and other external factors, the business environment is changing faster than ever, Banerjee said.

“Finance provides the tools to deal with the changing business environment—both strategically and from a short-term management orientation,” he said. “Also, the financial crisis has led to increased regulation and that in turn has led to a large number of jobs in the compliance area.”

High demand for master’s prepared nurses, public health professionals

The Anschutz Medical Campus offers master’s programs in several of the top 10 areas, including in nursing and the dual degree doctor of nursing practice/master’s in public health with the Colorado School of Public Health. The School of Medicine offers a physician assistant program (MPAS).

“The demand for master’s prepared nurses, especially in rural areas of Colorado, is so high,” said Linda Flynn, PhD, RN, FAAN, associate dean for academic programs at the CU College of Nursing. “There is a shortage of primary care providers across the state, which combined with the number of people moving into the state and the aging population in general, means that master’s prepared nurses are in demand. Even the master’s programs that don’t involve direct patient care, such as health care informatics and leadership, are really hot. Now is the time advance your nursing career.”

Nurse and patient
Nurse and patient

CU Anschutz’s new doctor of nursing practice/masters’s in public health is one of the first such dual degrees in the country, said Professor Marilyn Krajicek, EdD, RN, FAAN, project director for the program. “Coursework in both nursing and public health sciences will prepare graduates with an in-depth understanding of prevention and management of multiple chronic conditions (such as heart disease and dementia) from administrative and public policy levels,” she said. “These graduates will be uniquely positioned to advance public health nursing practice and create new leadership roles in evolving public health systems.”

Our bachelor’s degree graduates also rank among top earners

The top job prospects from these master’s degrees, according to Forbes, generally lead to six-figure mid-career salary levels. The projected employment increase for jobs associated with these degrees, over the span of 2010 to 2020, is between 18 and 30 percent.

CU Denver | Anschutz undergraduates also fare well in earnings. A recent report produced by the Colorado Department of Higher Education and College Measures shows that CU Denver | Anschutz bachelor’s degree graduates earned a median of $43,804 in their first year of employment. That ranks No. 3 among all universities in the state — public or private — and well above the $38,860 statewide median first-year earnings of bachelor’s degree graduates.

Following is a breakdown of the CU Denver | Anschutz master’s programs that fall into the Forbes top 10 list:

INFORMATION SYSTEMS, Business School. (According to Forbes, master’s degree graduates in this field can expect a projected employment increase of 30 percent between 2010 and 2020; mid-career salary of $101,000). Specializations under the MS in Information Systems include:

PHYSICIAN ASSISTANT, School of Medicine (Projected employment increase of 30 percent; mid-career median salary of $98,000): Graduates of Physician Assistant Program (MPAS) work in all areas of primary and subspecialty areas of practice, including pediatrics, family medicine, surgery, internal medicine, emergency medicine, dermatology and many more.

ELECTRICAL ENGINEERING, College of Engineering and Applied Science (Projected employment increase of 18 percent; mid-career median salary of $124,000): CU Denver offers two master’s degree programs in electrical engineering. The broad-based Electrical Engineering (MEng) program is designed especially for students who want to further their education in electrical engineering, where course work in business management, public policy or computer science would logically supplement engineering studies. The Electrical Engineering (MS) enables students to focus on two areas of concentration within electrical engineering, which include biomedical photonics; computer engineering and embedded systems; electromagnetic fields, waves and optics; energy and power systems; system and control theory; and more.

COMPUTER SCIENCE, College of Engineering and Applied Science. (Projected employment increase of 21.3 percent; mid-career median salary of $114,000): The Computer Science (MS) prepares students for creative work in computer science, including the areas of software and computer engineering, the interrelationship of hardware and software, and theory and practice of good software design methodologies.

FINANCE AND RISK MANAGEMENT, Business School. (Projected employment increase of 18.6 percent; mid-career median salary of $119,000): This is a dual MBS/MS offered in conjunction with the Professional MBA program.

The Finance and Risk Management (MBS/MS) offers specializations in:

  • Security analysis with firm valuation
  • Financial innovations
  • Futures and options
  • Mergers and acquisitions
  • Small firm financial management
  • Financing modeling
  • International financial markets

College of Nursing. (Projected employment increase of 26 percent; mid-career median salary of $88,000): CU Anschutz offers a master’s degree in nursing as well as two master’s-to-doctorate pathways (MS-DNP and MS-PhD). Master’s specialties are available in an array of areas, including health care informatics, family nurse practitioner and adult-gerontology clinical nurse specialist. The master’s program (MS) is designed to provide a foundation for career paths for future leaders in advancing nursing practice.

For details, Nursing (MS), Nursing (MS-DNP), Nursing (MS-PhD) and Nursing-Public Health Dual Degree (DNP/MPH).

PUBLIC HEALTH, Colorado School of Public Health. (Projected employment increase of 30.5 percent; mid-career median salary of $84,000): Click here to view all Colorado School of Public Health master’s programs. These are just some of the master’s degree programs offered:

Civil Engineers
Civil Engineers

College of Engineering and Applied Science. (Projected employment increase of 19 percent; mid-career median salary of $102,000): Specializations under the Master of Science (MS) and Master of Engineering (MEng) in Civil Engineering include:

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