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How Many Projects Will Your School Be Allowed to Send to the Southern Arizona Research, Science Engineering Fair (SARSEF)?

For Arizona State Science and Engineering Fair (AzSEF) and the State Fair, see end of section.

For high schools: There are no allocation limits. Schools are allowed to send as many projects as are considered of high quality by the school. We want as many as possible to have the opportunity to compete for the scholarships and larger prizes that our donors sponsor.

For elementary and middle schools: Generally, the number of projects per school is between 10-20, depending on school size, grade level and focus.

If you participated in SARSEF last year, the number of projects remains the same, unless you have had a significant change in school size or focus.

If you had major changes, or are a NEW school participating for the FIRST time, please contact us.

Please include:

  • Your name and email address
  • Your school name
  • Size of your ENTIRE school (number of students)
  • Grade levels that your school serves (not just grades participating in your school fair)
  • If you are a science, engineering, math or technology magnet/charter school
  • If you are an identified GATE (Gifted and Talented Education) magnet school for your district

Decisions for allocations are adjusted every three years, and are based on the capacity at the Tucson Convention Center, as well as the growing number of schools requesting to come to SARSEF.

Although we do everything possible to include as many projects from each school as possible, your allocations may be appealed if you think there are extenuating circumstances.

Please do not hesitate to write to us at the above email address and we will consider all appeals carefully.

Selecting Students for SARSEF

Each school should have its own science fair. In many schools, judging is completed (and very successfully) by school personnel only. In this case, judging teams are formed so that teachers in the primary grades judge the upper-grade projects, and the upper-grade teachers judge the lower grades. Make sure to include your resource personnel, such as specialists and administrators. Invite in central office staff; they will love connecting with students again and will be impressed by the quality of the work that your students did! The judges may be experts from outside organizations; however, we strongly recommend that they are paired up with school personnel to form a judging team.

Many schools use a judging criteria similar to the one used by Southern Arizona Research, Science and Engineering Fair judges. This is entirely up to each school and School Fair Director. Judging criteria on this website can be modified to fit individual school needs, and gives teachers and students an idea as to what the SARSEF judges will be using for criteria.

Click Here for Sample Judging Forms (K-8) used at SARSEF

Elementary and Middle School Science Criteria

Click Here for Sample Judging Criteria (high school) used at SARSEF and the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair

High School Science Criteria

High School Engineering Criteria

In most cases, the judging results are turned in to the school Fair Director for final placements. The Fair Director, chief judge, or school official should then determine which projects will go on to compete at SARSEF. The algorithm used to determine the makeup of the final is up to each school. This should be determined as soon as possible, so the student information can be gathered and the SARSEF registration deadline met.

The Southern Arizona Research, Science and Engineering Fair encourages schools to try to give an even distribution among all grades; however, at this time it is strictly a school decision. Because the number of students allowed to participate is based on the grade levels and size of school, please check on the number allowed per school. Contact the SARSEF director if you have any questions.


  • January 15, 2018: Registration OPENS.
  • April 1: Registration CLOSES. Registration for all projects must be submitted by this date.
  • Week of April 9: Fast Check-in Forms become available.
  • Tuesday, April 10: All payments must be received by this date. We do not accept purchase orders.
  • Wednesday, April 11: If you will not be transporting projects to the Tucson Convention Center yourself, PLEASE remind parents to bring down the projects between noon and 8 p.m.

SARSEF is now completely an online-registration program. The process must be completely re-done each year. (In other words, no passwords or access information is carried over from the previous year or any previous school director).

  • Each school is allowed only the predetermined number of projects based on their school size and type. NOTE: All returning schools have the same project allocation as last year. If you are a new school, or did not receive this email, please contact for your NEW allocation of projects. If more than one individual will be entering projects, the division of projects between those doing the data entry needs to be agreed upon prior to submission to SARSEF.
  • Registration remains at $10 per project and may be paid online or mailed to SARSEF Director, 3247 N. Christmas Ave., Tucson, AZ 85716. Online registration must be finalized by April 1, 2018. Payment must be received by April 10. Sorry, no purchase orders are accepted.
  • Student information is required for participation. Sample Student/ Project Registration Sheet: Registration for SARSEF
  • This information is essential for students to be notified in order to attend the awards ceremonies. This is especially key for those schools on spring break during the fair, and for those who are selected for participation in further opportunities. Additional questions were added this year in order for us to receive continued and increased funding. Please answer as many as possible for our database. Please be sure students’ names are SPELLED CORRECTLY, as this is what goes on participation certificates and on a trophy, if they win!
  • Late fees of $10 per project will be assessed for projects submitted after the SARSEF registration deadline. Please submit your school’s projects by the deadline! If your school fair timing will cause a delay, contact SARSEF in advance to request a waiver of late fees.
  • Data Correction Fees of $10 per project will be assessed for all data changes at the SARSEF. This includes title wording, category, grade, addresses, telephone, email, gender and teacher information. Please make certain all your data are correct upon submitting to SARSEF. Data changes that schools request BEFORE April 11th will not incur a fee. An additional name correction fee of $10 per project will be assessed at the award ceremonies for certificates and trophy plates that have to be reprinted due to an error in data entry. In case of SARSEF error, a fee will not be assessed.

We do not share registration information with anyone without permission. A press release — which may contain winning students’ names, schools, awards, and occasionally photographs — is standard, and assumed to be approved through the school’s release authority.

We do not release home phone numbers or email addresses to the press or for use on our website. If the “permission to use the student’s image and name” option is NOT checked on the registration form, we will not release that information to the press or use it on our website.

AzSEF (Arizona Science & Engineering Fair)

  • Register here by March 20th 2019 ,
  • Only First Place winning projects will advance to AzSEF. The definition of first place can include those that take first place at the SCHOOL level as well. (See below.)
  • Students in Grades 5-12 who have placed first at a school, home school, district, county or regional science fair are eligible to compete at AzSEF.
  • No more than 12 entries per grade level will be accepted from each school in the elementary and junior divisions.
  • To ensure the integrity of this rule, schools/fairs will be allowed to submit only one project per grade level for each category (12 categories for elementary and junior divisions.) (Click here for categories.)
  • In the event your fair does not give place awards, it is the discretion of the fair director to send the project considered the best representative of the category selected.


Every Child. Thinking Critically. Solving Problems.