University High School (Tucson)

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University High School
420 N. Arcadia Ave.
Tucson, Arizona
United States
Coordinates 32°13′35″N 110°53′20″W / 32.226492°N 110.88876°W / 32.226492; -110.88876Coordinates: 32°13′35″N 110°53′20″W / 32.226492°N 110.88876°W / 32.226492; -110.88876
Type Public (magnet) secondary
Established 1976
Oversight Tucson Unified School District
Principal Amy Cislak
Grades 9–12
Enrollment 1,014; 2,072 combined with Rincon(Oct. 1, 2010)[1]
Campus Urban
Color(s) Black and white         
Mascot Penguin
Newspaper The Perspective

University High School (UHS) is an accelerated public high school located in Tucson, Arizona. Originally known as Special Projects High School (SPHS), University High School is in the Tucson Unified School District (TUSD). The mission statement of UHS identifies it as "a special function high school which serves students who are academically focused and intellectually gifted and provides curriculum and social support not offered in the comprehensive high school."

Location and features[edit]

The school currently shares a centrally located campus with Rincon High School. UHS was located at the Tucson High School campus before moving to Rincon's campus at the beginning of September 1985.

The mascot at UHS is the penguin. When it was known as Special Projects High School, the mascot was the skunk. Both mascots give the school its reputable colors of black and white. While UHS is a public school, entry is based upon a combination of exam scores and 7th and 8th grade GPAs. Unlike most schools, the only students who are admitted after freshman year replace the students who leave.

Relationship with Rincon[edit]

University High students participate in Rincon's athletics and fine arts programs. Students from both schools are generally able to participate in classes that are only offered by the other school. A few extracurricular activities are separate between the schools, mostly competitive clubs such as Academic Decathlon, the chess team, Mock Trial, Model United Nations, Science Olympiad, etc. Generally, school clubs are commonly open to both Rincon and UHS students.

AP curriculum[edit]

UHS students graduate after taking a minimum of 8 Advanced Placement (AP) classes (including AP English as upperclassmen, AP US History, and AP US Government). However, many opt to take additional AP courses, with some students completing as many as 16. In 2004, the school had the greatest percentage of students passing the AP exams for United States History, Comparative Politics, and English Language of any high school in the world. Also, nearly all of students continue on to college, with 50-75% achieving one or more scholarships. As of 2009, the following AP courses are offered (28 of the 31 that the College Board offers):


  • AP Art History
  • AP Biology
  • AP Calculus AB
  • AP Calculus BC
  • AP Chemistry
  • AP Computer Science A
  • AP Computer Science AB
  • AP English Language
  • AP English Literature
  • AP Environmental Sciences
  • AP European History
  • AP French Language
  • AP French Literature
  • AP German Language
  • AP Govt & Politics: US
  • AP Human Geography
  • AP Macroeconomics
  • AP Microeconomics
  • AP Physics I
  • AP Physics C (Electricity & Magnetism)
  • AP Psychology
  • AP Spanish Language
  • AP Spanish Literature
  • AP Statistics
  • AP Studio Art
  • AP U.S. History
  • AP World History

Honors as a college preparatory school[edit]

US News and World Report has identified UHS as one of "America's Best High Schools" out of approximately 20,487 schools nationwide.[2]

Year Rank
2017 Ranked #15
2015 Ranked #8
2014 Ranked #7 [3]
2013 Ranked #28
2012 Ranked #4

In 2014, the Washington Post recognized UHS at No. 28[4] in its review of "America's Most Challenging High Schools," which ranked the 1,900 highest-performing high schools nationally.[5]

In 2013, the Daily Beast listed UHS at No. 19 in its annual list of the "Best 2,000 High Schools in the Nation.[6]

In May 2006, Newsweek named UHS as one of "The Public Elites," schools that, "NEWSWEEK excluded...from the list of Best High Schools because so many of their students score well above average on the SAT and ACT."[7]

On January 30, 2013, Jonathan Rothschild, the mayor of Tucson, Arizona, declared January 30 as University High School Day.

In 2005, it was honored as a Blue Ribbon school.[8]

Notable alumni[edit]

UHS Parents' Association[edit]

The University High School Parents' Association, Inc. is a charitable, non-profit organization classified as a 501 (c)(3) entity by the U.S. Internal Revenue Service. The association's primary mission is to assist students and their families during their four years at University High School, fostering a learning environment and support systems that contribute to students’ academic success, while helping them prepare for college. For more information, see:[20]


External links[edit]