The University of Arizona

Graduate Info

The University of Arizona and Tucson Area

The University of Arizona

The University of Arizona, located near the center of Tucson, was founded in 1885 as Arizona's land-grant university. Today the campus is comprised of 352 acres and a student population of 39,000, including 7,000 graduate students. Advanced study and research takes place in more than 138 departments. The University is one of 59 public universities classified as a Research Institute I by the Carnegie Commission on Higher Education, and ranks 24th among all universities and 16th among all public institutions in research expenditures.

Tucson, Arizona

Set in a valley bounded by four mountain ranges, Tucson has an altitude of 2,400 feet. Dry weather and moderate temperatures characterize the climate during most of the year. Winters are pleasant and mild, with an average January daytime high of 64° F. June and July are the hottest months with average daytime highs of 98° F, yet are tolerable because of the low humidity (yes, it's a dry heat!). Summers are relieved by a rainy season. While located in the Sonoran desert upland, Tucson receives annual rainfall of twelve inches, greater than that received by San Diego and other areas of Southern California.

For a city of moderate size, the variety and excellence of Tucson's arts community is remarkable, including the Tucson Symphony Orchestra, the Arizona Opera, the Arizona Theatre Company, the Arizona Dance Theater, the Tucson Museum of Art, as well as a wide variety of university programs in the arts. Kitt Peak National Observatory and observatories on Mt. Hopkins and Mt. Lemmon make Tucson one of the world's major astronomical centers.

Tucson's location provides direct access to natural desert and mountain areas and to five distinct biozones ranging from Sonoran desert uplands to mixed conifer alpine areas. Ecological contrasts in the state are striking. Hot, dry desert areas and cold, high mountaintops are unusual extremes; most of the state is rich in plant and animal life. Along the 28-mile drive from the edge of Tucson to the ski lodge atop Mt. Lemmon (9,157 feet), many changes in vegetation can be seen, beginning with a forest of giant saguaro cacti, creosote, and mesquite, up through juniper and live oak, and ending with a mixed forest.

The culture of Arizona shows strong Native American and Spanish influence. There are 200,000 Native Americans in Arizona. The Navajo and Apache are relative newcomers, arriving in the 14th century. The Tohono O'odham, who live west of Tucson, have been in the region for 10,000 years. The Arizona State Museum, on the University of Arizona campus, and the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum, west of the city, give visitors a unique introduction to the rich native culture and natural history of the area.

Leisure Activities around the Area

Leisure activities abound on campus, in the community, and throughout southern Arizona. Tucson is an active, culturally diverse city, offering a vibrant arts and music culture and a wide range of entertainment opportunities. Golf, tennis, cycling and other outdoor recreation activities can be enjoyed year-round in Tucson's temperate climate. The nearby mountain ranges provide cool summer camping and are easily accessible to an active rock-climbing group of students and faculty. Snow skiing, river rafting trips, hiking, backpacking and spelunking are other examples of the diverse outdoor activities which can be explored in this area. Organized fun ranges from several departmental picnics each year to softball, orienteering, ski trips, and other social gatherings.