FAQs About Our Undergraduate Program

Q. What makes the University of Arizona's chemical and environmental engineering (CHEE) program unique?

A. We offer both undergraduate and graduate degrees. Our undergraduate program participates in the honors program. Our department is large enough to cover the major academic and research areas, yet small enough for individual attention.

Our classes are taught by experts in their fields, and our undergraduate students have many opportunities for research projects with excellent faculty. Among our faculty are one Presidential Young Investigator and two NSF Young Faculty Career Award winners, to name a few.

Our main strengths lie in:

  • environmental engineering
  • semiconductor applications
  • combustion
  • fluid mechanics
  • rheology
  • biotechnology
  • chemical kinetics
  • and transport in colloidal and polymeric systems

Environmental engineering applications are firmly embedded in our undergraduate chemical engineering program.

We are strong participants in the university-wide, NIEHS-sponsored Superfund Basic Research Center (SBRC) for hazardous waste treatment and management. We provide a productive, nurturing environment for our doctoral students, whom we cherish. We are the home of the SRC/SEMATECH Engineering Research Center for Environmentally Benign Semiconductor Manufacturing.

Q. What undergraduate degree(s) does CHEE offer?

A. Bachelor of Science in chemical engineering and Bachelor of Science in environmental engineering.

Q. What is a chemical engineer?

A. Chemical engineers work in:

  • manufacturing
  • pharmaceuticals
  • semiconductors
  • water and wastewater treatment
  • healthcare
  • design and construction
  • pulp and paper
  • petrochemicals
  • food processing
  • specialty chemicals
  • polymers
  • biotechnology
  • and environmental health and safety industries

Our graduate program is designed to provide advance work in a core of transport phenomena, thermodynamics, and reaction engineering, but almost all of our work focuses on developing an environmentally benign approach to applications.

Chemical engineers rely on their knowledge of mathematics and science, especially chemistry, to overcome technical problems safely and economically. And, of course, they draw upon and apply their engineering knowledge to solve any technical challenges they encounter.

Chemical engineers may also apply their knowledge to other areas such as:

  • law
  • education
  • publishing
  • finance
  • medicine
  • and other fields that require technical training

Q. What is an environmental engineer?

A. Environmental engineers apply basic principles of chemistry, physics, economics and mathematics to the development of safe, economical and environmentally sound processes in which chemical and/or physical changes take place for the prevention and remediation of environmental problems.

Environmental engineering is a rapidly growing, multidisciplinary branch of engineering, concerned with the development, implementation and management of technical solutions and programs that support sustainable economic development.

They monitor air, water and land quality to protect and restore the environment.

Their professional skills might be used to:

  • reduce catchment soil erosion and water salinity
  • develop and implement cleaner production technologies to minimize industrial pollution
  • develop or rehabilitate landfill sites
  • develop environmental management systems
  • provide and distribute clean water
  • design, construct, operate and manage wastewater treatment facilities
  • and develop long-range environmental protection plans and strategies for facilities and communities

Q. What are the departmental academic policies?

A. Refer to the policies in the UA General Catalog or talk to your adviser.

Q. Who will my adviser be?

A. You will be assigned an adviser during the orientation process at the beginning of the semester. The assignment will be determined by several factors including your research interests and skills and the availability of funds for student support.

Q. If I have additional questions, who can I contact?

A. Please contact advisor@chee.arizona.edu.


Application/Admission Questions

Q. How do I apply?

A. Visit the Office of Admissions website to learn how to apply.

Q. What are the requirements for residency status?

A. The Office of the Registrar defines the classification of residency.

Q. What are the minimum requirements for undergraduate admission?

A. The College of Engineering performs a comprehensive review of all students applying for admission into their engineering degree programs. Students will be required to meet a higher admission GPA and to have successfully passed degree applicable coursework. More info can be found on the College of Engineering website.

Q. Will any of my high school AP/CLEP/IB or dual-enrollment college courses count towards my degree?

A. If completed with the appropriate score or grade, many of the transfer units above can be applied to your degree program. Please visit the College of Engineering website for more information.

Q. Does the undergraduate program participate in the Honors College?

A. Yes. On average, 29 percent of incoming chemical engineering freshmen are admitted to the Honors College. Many students in the program who attempt to graduate with honors are successful (about 24 percent).

Numerous honors courses are offered (identified in the Schedule of Classes by an “H” after the course number), and most students in science do independent research that serves as the basis for the senior honors thesis.

Graduation with Honors – requirements:

1. 30 units of honors credit, including 6 units of senior honors thesis

2. overall 3.5 GPA

3. senior honors thesis


Financial Aid/Cost Questions

Q. What are the estimated costs of attending the University of Arizona?

A. View the Financial Aid Office website to see a table of estimated cost during a nine-month attendance at the University of Arizona.

View the cost of registration and fees by semester using the pull-down menu on the Bursar’s Office website for the College of Engineering.

Q. What are the requirements for residency status?

A. The Office of the Registrar defines the classification of residency.

Q. What kind of financial aid is available?

A. Employment opportunities will not be known until the beginning of each semester. There are many undergraduate research positions available to students throughout the chemical and environmental engineering department.

The College of Engineering sponsors some scholarships and grants, as does the Office of Scholarships and Financial Aid.

Q. If I do not qualify for a research position, scholarship or internship, can I apply for financial aid?

A. Yes, all financial aid is handled through the University of Arizona financial aid office.

Q. How do I apply for financial aid?

A. Undergraduates can follow the outline to get started.

Q. What if I have more questions about financial aid?

A. Read the FAQ site of the Bursar’s Office.


Housing Questions

Q. What kind of housing is available?

A. There is a variety of on- and off-campus housing available for students on a first-come, first-served basis. The department will assist you as much as possible in this process; however, the ultimate responsibility for housing rests with you.

Housing in Tucson, Arizona, is affordable and relatively easy to find compared to other cities of similar size. The best place to start your search is through the Residence Life website and the Student Union Housing Guide.

As a general rule, housing within a five-mile radius of campus will be more expensive than what is available further out. The weather in Tucson is conducive to pedestrian and bicycle transportation. The CHEE department is centrally located on campus where most public transportation is available.


General Help and Information

Q. Why come to the University of Arizona?

A. The University of Arizona provides an ideal environment for study, as reflected by its status as a Research I University. Since its founding in 1885, the UA has grown to become one of the outstanding research institutions in world. You can learn more history by exploring online.

With more than 35,000 students, including 8,000 graduate students, UA is large enough to attract the best scientists and engineers in the nation. This is demonstrated by the faculty’s ability to garner large amounts of funding for research and support of graduate students. In terms of federal and private support for research and development, the University ranks among the country’s top 20 research universities. The library and museum system – an invaluable resource for students – is among the best in the country.

All of this found on a single campus, located entirely within the City of Tucson, a dynamic community of more than half a million people.

Q. If I have a car, what kind of parking is available?

A. Campus parking is extremely limited and can be costly. There are different prices for different lots. UA Parking and Transportation Services will have the most current information as well as a link to the CatTran Shuttle Service.

Q. What kinds of campus services are available?

A. There are two Student Unions (Main and Park) on campus as well as local businesses within walking distance. For more information, visit the Student Union website.

University of Arizona College of Engineering