After the passage of the Morrill Land-Grant Act of 1862, the territory of Arizona immediately began pushing for a university. In 1885, the Arizona Territorial Legislature, a group that rightfully earned the nicknames “Thieving Thirteen,” “Bloody Thirteen” and “Fighting Thirteen” due to the extremely large appropriations they approved as well as the fights among them in the halls of government and nearby saloons, approved a university to be located in Tucson. Tucson was hoping to gain approval for a mental hospital as it had a larger appropriation than the university. Unfortunately, a flood delayed the Tucson legislatures from reaching the capital and, by the time they arrived, secret deals had allocated the mental hospital to Phoenix, the capital to Prescott and the prison to Yuma. The normal school in Tempe, which eventually became Arizona State University, was allotted $5,000.
The Tucson legislators were unhappy with the allocation of a university in their town and considered declining the offer. Then, two gamblers, E.B. Gifford and Ben C. Parker, as well as W.S. “Billy” Reed, a saloonkeeper donated land in the desert a mile east of town for the new school. In 1887, ground for Old Main was broken, the first building on the University of Arizona campus. There was no high school in the territory, so only six of the 32 students who enrolled the first year were registered as college freshmen. Instead, they attended a special preparatory school established by the university. It was 17 years before the number of students in the college outnumbered those in the prep school. The preparatory school remained open for 23 years.
In 1938, Old Main was determined to be unsafe for students and the building stood, locked and unused, until 1942 when the U.S. Navy awarded a contract to repair and rehabilitate the building in order to use it as a Naval Indoctrination School. During World War II more than 11,000 men trained at the school which placed 500 bunk beds in the gym and covering the basketball floor with Masonite. Luggage for the sailors was stored in the balcony seats.
After World War II ended, enrollment at the school grew significantly as soldiers returned to take advantage of the G.I. Bill, many with wives and children. In an effort to manage the need for housing, the university installed 114 Quonset huts that housed two families each as well as five TDUs designed to house four families each. The dwellings remained for almost 40 years.
Today, there are over 43,000 students enrolled at the University of Arizona. The National Science Foundation ranks the school 21st in research and development expenditures in the United States and 34th among universities in the country. It also ranks the university first in physical sciences. U.S. News & World Report ranks the university as one of America’s Best Colleges and Princeton Review lists it as one of the Best Western Colleges. It ranks 73rd in the world and 46th nationally based on the Center for University World Rankings.
University of Arizona Accreditation Details
The University of Arizona is accredited by the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools. Regional accreditation means that the college meets or exceeds qualifications set forth by the accrediting agency that indicate excellence in education and the ability of the school to adapt programs or improve areas identified as needing improvement or adaptation. In addition, the following agencies or organizations accredited specific programs at the University of Arizona:
- Accreditation Association for Ambulatory Care
- Accreditation Board of Engineering and Technology
- Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education
- Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education
- Advisory Committee for International Scholars
- Air Force Institute of Technology
- American Assembly of Collegiate Schools of Business
- American Association of Museums
- American Association of Poison Control Centers
- American Association of Veterinary Laboratory Diagnosticians
- American Chemical Society
- American Council on Pharmaceutical Education
- American Dietetic Association
- American Library Association
- American Meteorological Society
- American Planning Association
- American Psychological Association
- American Society of Health-System Pharmacists for Residency Accreditation
- American Society of Landscape Architects
- American Speech-Language-Hearing Association
- Association for the Assessment and Accreditation of Laboratory Animal Care International
- Association for the Education and Rehabilitation of the Blind and Visually Impaired
- Association of American Law Schools and American Bar Association
- Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education
- Commission on Rehabilitation Education
- Council on Academic Accreditation in Audiology and Speech-Language Pathology
- Council on Education for Public Health
- Council on Education in Journalism
- Council on Education of the Deaf
- Council on Rehabilitation Education
- International Association of Counseling Services
- International Association for Management Education
- Liaison Committee on Medical Education
- National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences
- National Association of Schools of Art & Design
- National Association of Schools of Dance
- National Association of Schools of Music
- National Association of Schools of Public Affairs and Administration
- National Association of Schools of Theatre
- National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education
- National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, National Weather Service
- Planning Accreditation Board
- Society for Range Management
University of Arizona Application Requirements
Students who enter as freshman who are under the age of 22 must have completed the following at the high school level:
- English – four units
- Math – four units
- Laboratory Science – four units
- Social Science – two units
- Second Language – two units
- Fine arts or career/technical coursers – one unit
Students must complete an application and submit the applicable fee. Official high school transcripts as well as official SAT or ACT scores are required.
Students who are 21 years or older and have 12 or more transferable post-secondary credits may apply as transfer students. Transfer students must have at least a 2.0 recalculated college GPA. Only students 22 or younger must have a 2.5 weighted cumulative high school GPA. Students must complete the application and pay the application fee. Official college transcripts must be submitted as well as high school transcripts if the student is under 22 years old.
Graduate students must hold a bachelor’s degree or higher in order to apply to the University of Arizona. Each graduate program has specific criteria for enrollment so students are encouraged to speak to an admissions counselor before applying.
University of Arizona Tuition and Financial Aid
Full-time undergraduate tuition at the University of Arizona is $11,800 per year for Arizona residents and $35,000 per year for non-residents. Full-time graduate tuition is $12,000 for Arizona residents and $30,400 for non-residents.
Financial aid is available and to be eligible for aid, students must complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). Aid is available in the form of grants, scholarships, student loans and work study programs. The University of Arizona also accepts military benefits and employer-provided tuition.
University of Arizona Student Experience
At the University of Arizona, students are provided the “Wildcat Experience,” a spirit of ambition, curiosity and learning. Students get to know themselves with learning that extends beyond classroom walls.
University of Arizona offers a 100 percent engagement program, allowing students to create experiences that they will apply to learning while also developing skills that allow them to reflect, adapt and learn who they are as well as who they want to be.
There are many unique programs offered through the university for students who wish to think outside the box. The College of Agriculture and Life Sciences gives students the opportunity to study such subjects as consumers, marketplace, trade and economics as well as animal and plant systems. Students with interests in environment, water, land, energy and natural resources will find programs specifically for those areas of study. The College of Architecture, Planning & Landscape Architecture is an international leader in developing sustainable design. The close proximity to the diverse ecology of the Sonoran Desert provides students with hands-on learning that would be difficult to find elsewhere.
Students are also provided a wide range of social activities. With hundreds of student organizations and clubs, students can interact with others who have similar hobbies, interests and fields of study. The clubs and organizations provide students with an additional network of contacts through guest speakers, field trips and other events that can help them further their career upon graduation. The University of Arizona also offers almost 20 different intercollegiate sports teams, ranging from baseball to volleyball. There are also intramural sports teams available to those who do not want to play at the intercollegiate level.
The University of Arizona offers students more than just an education. With the various clubs and organizations as well as strong athletics, students develop leadership skills along with their classroom learning. The proximity of Tucson, a vibrant, modern city with a rich history also allows students to gain hands-on experience through internships and part-time employment at many world-renowned businesses close to the University of Arizona.