Engineering Is All About Learning by Doing

The UA College of Engineering is committed to making sure students have a rich and varied University experience, achieve academic success, and get the practical training needed to thrive professionally.

You will have opportunities to participate in professional conferences and workshops on and off campus. You can depend on close advising from faculty and staff, mentoring from industry professionals, and support through College and campus programs, such as Women in Engineering programs and study groups and tutors. As interns and on research teams, you will help engineers, scientists, healthcare workers and other professionals create new products and services that improve lives.

Engineering is all about Learning by Doing

Mining from Arizona to Australia

Ashlyn Hooten had three summer internships at Freeport-McMoRan before going to work for the company full-time. In between, the 2015 mining and engineering graduate worked at the UA’s student-run San Xavier underground mine; competed nationally on the Women’s Mine Rescue Team; did outreach with the Society for Mining, Metallurgy and Exploration; and spent five months studying in Western Australia.

From Rube Goldberg to Grad School

Patrick Hughes says he came to the University of Arizona as a “nervous shut-in.” Within a year he was leading the UA Rube Goldberg Team to new degrees of wackiness and representing the College as an Engineering Ambassador. Hughes graduated in May 2015, worked for the summer as an intern at ExxonMobil in Houston, then began the PhD program in structural engineering at the University of California, San Diego.

A Portfolio with Vincent Van Gogh

As a freshman in 2011, Travis Sawyer became fascinated with the optical instruments and devices doctors used to examine him when he was misdiagnosed with leukemia. Since then he has developed an impressive research portfolio working in laboratories at the UA and in the Netherlands on a research team that, among other projects, has authenticated paintings by Vincent Van Gogh and Nicholas Poussin.

From Zero to H2knOw

Andrew Granatstein figured he’d need business skills to launch his space endeavor. So the aerospace engineering major entered the McGuire Entrepreneurship Program and went from zero business knowledge to general manager of his team’s water monitoring and conservation company, H2knOw. The Honors College student interned the summer of 2015 at Aztera, a software development firm.

Gearing Up for Greatness

The spring 2015 semester was over, but Baja SAE team captain Robbie Miller and a dozen other students were burning the midnight oil to fine-tune a transmission gearbox before heading to the races in Oregon. The mechanical engineering major and Engineering Ambassador says the club activities have helped him link ideas to something he can hold in his hands, not to mention land an internship repairing equipment at Freeport-McMoRan.

Improving Mine Safety

Mara Erhart, Class of 2016, is participating in a $1.3 million UA research project funded by the National Institutes of Occupational Safety and Health, and she is confident the experience will pay off when she graduates. The mining engineering major is helping develop technology to convert mine tailings into mine insulation for cooling down hot metal mines deep underground. The technology will better protect workers from exposure to extreme heat and potentially save mining companies millions in energy costs.

Making the Rounds to Do Good

Kendall Stokes, Class of 2017, spent a summer as an intern at the Georgia Tech Manufacturing Institute, where she tested sockets used to attach prosthetic limbs to amputees. The next summer, the systems engineering major and campus resident assistant, who is also active in the UA student chapters of the National Society of Black Engineers and Society of Women Engineers, interned with Arizona Public Service.

SHPE Camaraderie and Networking

Erick Leon credits his time as a member of the UA Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers – during which he served as the organization’s executive vice president and attended four consecutive national conferences – with opening doors to public speaking experiences, research projects, two internships and a full-time position as an applications engineer at Honeywell, and making lifelong friends.

Wholeheartedly into Biomedicine

Justine Bacchus explored many majors before attending a biomedical engineering colloquium her sophomore year and discovering her heart was in the medical side of engineering. The Class of 2016 Honors College student won a scholarship from artificial heart maker Syncardia and has conducted research with top UA physics researchers and studied parasitology in the Czech Republic through the Undergraduate Biology Research Program.

The UA College of Engineering has an undergraduate freshman retention rate of more than 90 percent.


From a whirlwind of welcome week activities for new students, to the informative, reflective and often humorous weekly emails that all Engineering students receive from the dean of academic affairs, UA Engineering students are welcome, supported and valued.

The Engineering Leadership Community and a dedicated freshman advising team ensure that all new students are quickly connected to faculty, campus resources and new friends. Support is sustained through structured study groups for calculus, physics, and other foundation courses, over $1 million in College of Engineering scholarships, engaged faculty and advisers, and career and professional development opportunities.

Student Life


The College is committed to diversity in every academic sense of the word – diversity of research, faculty, learning environments, ideas and students. In the student population, women make up 29 percent, well above the national average, of the UA Engineering Class of 2018, and more than a third belong to a racial or ethnic minority, including 21 percent Hispanic.

Practical Training

Students learn from experienced faculty, many of whom have their own startups and bring entrepreneurial expertise to their interactive classrooms. From designing, building and testing solar ovens your freshman year to making prototypes for industry sponsors your senior year, you will be steeped in the work of engineering.


Students have opportunities from their first year as undergraduates to work directly alongside faculty and grad students on major projects funded by NASA, the National Science Foundation, National Institutes of Health and other public agencies as well as private corporations.

Undergraduate Research Opportunities >
Practical Training and Research

Internships & Career Development

Most UA Engineering undergraduates have more than one internship before they graduate. Every summer dozens of students intern with companies and agencies such as NASA, Arizona Public Service, Raytheon, Texas Instruments, Tucson Electric Power and Freeport-McMoRan. Contact Heather Moore,, for more information on internships.

Undergraduates line up on the spot for interviews at iExpo, Arizona’s largest student-run career fair for engineers. Students land internships and get jobs not only at iExpo but also at career fairs organized by College departments, interdisciplinary UA research programs like BIO5, and UA Career Services. For more information on Career Services, contact Farrah Dalal at or 520.621.1137. For more information on Internship & Early Career Readiness, contact Sarah Seavey at or 520.626.7562.

Internships >


Engineering undergraduates compete throughout the year in national and global competitions to test their know-how, creativity, teamwork and leadership abilities. The springtime Engineer’s Week, or E-Week, features fun and challenging contests, such as Engineering Jeopardy, mine relays and egg drop contests. Then there is are the ever-whacky Rube Goldberg machine contest and the tougher-than-it-looks jackleg drilling contest on the UA Mall for aspiring mining engineers, to name just a few highlights.

Engineering Competitions

Engineering Design Program

Underpinning the undergraduate experience is the Craig M. Berge Engineering Design Program, which ensures that students at all levels are immersed in hand-on activities and real-world projects. In the Interdisciplinary Capstone Course, teams spend a year designing and building prototypes for industry and faculty sponsors then showcasing their creations at Engineering Design Day in May. A senior’s success on Design Day, coupled with other practical experience, often results in a full-time job offer.

Engineering Ambassadors

Some are said to be born leaders; most learn to lead. At the UA, opportunities abound for engineering undergraduates to learn and develop the key ingredients for being strong leaders.

One example is the Engineering Ambassadors. These students with strong academic records and a desire to educate others about the value of engineering represent the College at recruitment and K-12 outreach events.

Senior Design Program

W.A. Franke Honors College

Many of the University’s most academically gifted undergraduates – including a third of the 2014-2015 freshman engineering class – enjoy smaller classes, priority registration and early consideration for highly competitive research grants and scholarships in the UA Franke Honors College.

Clubs and Organizations

The College’s 50-plus student clubs and chapters of professional organizations provide rewarding experiences with big payoffs: gains in self-confidence, professional contacts and close friendships. Students spend their free time designing and building race cars, robots and rockets; working near and far on public service projects to improve living conditions; and attending professional conferences to present papers, enter competitions and win awards.

Clubs and Organizations

Residential Living

Many first-year students choose to live in the Engineering Leadership Community, a living-learning community in Yuma Hall for first-year engineering students, where they take classes together, receive in-house tutoring and advising, and make lasting friendships.

Study Abroad

Students with their sights set on venturing farther can study and conduct research outside the United States through the Franke Honors Destinations program.

Parents and Family

The College of Engineering and UA offer a number of informational and social programs – Homecoming events and Family Weekend, for example – throughout the year for parents and family of Wildcat Engineers. Parents can also sign up at orientation to receive the academic dean’s weekly email.

residential living

Big Experience; Small City

Peer into space with one of the world’s largest and most powerful telescopes at the UA Steward Observatory Mirror Lab; do research at Biosphere 2; or get your hands dirty in the San Xavier underground mine, one of only a handful of student-run underground mines. Boost your business skills in the Eller Entrepreneurship Program; conduct research and help patients at the UA’s Banner University Health System; and attend great performances in Centennial Hall.

In the Sonoran Desert, one of the most diverse desert ecosystems in the world, the UA campus is surrounded by mountains ranges rising 9,000 feet with the sun shining 350 days a year. From hiking in desert canyons and on mountain trails to cycling and golfing, Engineering students have plenty of options in the great outdoors. For those who prefer an urban atmosphere, check out the popular student hangouts, shops, street fairs and arts festivals on Fourth Avenue near campus. A short streetcar ride away Tucson’s bustling downtown music venues, theaters and restaurants await.

Whether they are cheering on their Wildcats, including NCAA basketball and Pac-12 football teams, at the UA’s McKale Center; navigating a rigorous academic curriculum; or prepping for a fulfilling career, UA Engineering students know how to “Bear Down.” It’s a way of life.

Big experience, small city