The University of Arizona Logo
a student works in a lab
Doctoral student Sartanee Suebka works in biomedical engineering associate professor Judith Su's Little Sensor Lab.

Money Names UA Engineering a Top-Value Grad Program

Time to read
2 minutes
Read so far

Money Names UA Engineering a Top-Value Grad Program

Jan. 18, 2024
Posted in:
A 100% job placement rate and nearly three-digit starting salaries earned the college high marks in the magazine’s inaugural rankings for graduate degree offerings.

In Money’s most recent “The Best Colleges in America,” released in November 2023, the University of Arizona College of Engineering earned 4.5 out of 5 stars for its master’s programs. With scores based on annual costs, typical debt burdens, employment rates and early salaries, only three of the top 50 engineering programs earned 5 stars.

Money’s inaugural analysis of Best Graduate School Programs found that University of Arizona master’s engineering graduates have a 100% employment rate and an average early career salary of $94,070.

The College of Engineering offers 16 master’s and 11 PhD degrees. Online engineering degree options are available for many master’s programs as well as graduate certificates, and most departments have accelerated master’s degrees.

The diverse range of programs suits students with a wide variety of engineering interests.

For example, said Kelly Simmons-Potter, the college’s associate dean for academic affairs, “UA Engineering boasts one of only 16 U.S. master’s programs in mining engineering. We have a new graduate degree in software engineering and will soon offer computer science and engineering. Among many other options, students can prepare for careers in semiconductor manufacturing or work with leading researchers uniting engineering and medicine through the Cancer Engineering Initiative.”

Real-World Projects Give Students an Edge

Steady growth in UA Engineering’s research expenditures, which reached $63 million in 2023, and strong ties to industry and government afford graduate students ample opportunities to do high-level research and internships, said Simmons-Potter, also a University Distinguished Outreach Professor in electrical and computer engineering, optical sciences and materials science and engineering.

● Maanyaa Kapur, an aerospace engineering master’s student and NASA intern, is helping analyze the sample from the asteroid Bennu, which was returned during the UA-led OSIRIS-REx mission.

“Designing an experimental setup on my computer, getting it fabricated and assembled, and then putting it inside a vacuum chamber was an amazing learning experience,” said Kapur. “People in industry seem to appreciate that.”

● A three-person team of UA Engineering graduate students worked with mentors from the MIT Lincoln Laboratory to conduct and publish cybersecurity research as part of the federal Information Security Research and Education, or INSuRE, collaborative.

“We were able to get very close to real-world data analysis,” said Arminda Estrada, who is pursuing a doctoral degree in electrical and computer engineering. “Working on this project helps propel our educational and career goals in cybersecurity.”

● Mechanical engineering doctoral student Aman Chandra serves as the design lead for the university’s CatSat, a small satellite set to spend six months probing the ionosphere – a layer of charged particles at the boundary between the Earth’s atmosphere and space. The mission will demonstrate the first inflatable antenna in space, technology expected to deepen understanding of the ionosphere and improve communication across vast distances.

This technology could drive down the cost of high-quality scientific measurements in space by enabling the use of lightweight, low-cost antennas with very high data rates,” said Chandra, who designed the CatSat antenna system.

Alumni with graduate degrees also find a wealth of fulfilling career options.

“Our graduates are teaching at top universities; shaping engineering at companies such as Intel, Raytheon, Lockheed, Aerospace, Micron, and others; and leading critical research at key Department of Defense and Department of Energy laboratories,” said Simmons-Potter.