5 Top-Ranked Colleges in Florida

5 Top-Ranked Colleges in Florida

Photo courtesy of Fotoluminate LLC via Shutterstock

By Cynthia De Saint

April 10, 2023

When it’s time to look at colleges, the Sunshine State has some of the best in the nation. 

Florida is known for its beautiful beaches, fun theme parks, pristine forests and glittering cities. No wonder so many are moving from all over the country to enjoy its year-round sunshine! 

But did you know that the state also has some of the nation’s best universities and colleges? Here are five top examples, from Orlando to Miami and from Tampa to Gainesville. 

University of Florida, Gainesville  

Ranked number 1 in Association of American Universities (AAU) institutions for Master’s degree programs and grants for Hispanic students, UF was established in 1853 and is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS). 

Its multiple graduate professional programs include business administration, engineering, law, dentistry, medicine, pharmacy and veterinary medicine. US News placed it among America’s five best public universities in its 2022 rankings.

It is also big on sports! As of 2021, University of Florida students and alumni have won 143 Olympic medals, including 69 gold medals. For those who want a team to cheer for, UF’s intercollegiate sports teams, commonly known as the “Florida Gators,” compete in National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Division I and the Southeastern Conference (SEC).

Fun fact: In 1965, a team of scientists invented the sports drink Gatorade in a University of Florida lab. 

For more information click HERE

University of South Florida, Tampa

Founded in 1956, the University of South Florida’s main campus is located in Tampa, with campuses in St. Petersburg and Sarasota. The first state university in Florida to be built during the 20th century is home to 14 colleges, offering more than 240 undergraduate, graduate, specialist, and doctoral-level degree programs, and is also the fourth largest university in Florida by enrollment. with 49,766 students from over 145 countries, including all 50 states and US territories. 

Despite its relative youth, USF has been designated by the Florida Board of Governors as one of three Preeminent State Research Universities and is one of the fastest growing research universities in the nation, according to The Chronicle of Higher Education. In fact, in 2021 the university was awarded more than $590 million in research awards.

Sports-minded students will cheer for the South Florida Bulls that represent USF. But besides sports, student life is rich with “INTO USF” activities that take place weekly and involve socials and parties, festivals, museum, theme parks visits, and more.  

Fun fact:  Before he died in 1973, the famous artist Pablo Picasso envisioned one of the world’s tallest sculptures, entitled “Bust of a Woman,” for USF.

For more information click HERE

Florida International University, Miami

With two campuses and multiple centers, FIU serves a diverse student body. Its prestigious academic community is composed of 11 schools and colleges that are home to award-winning faculty members and cutting-edge research. Focused on environment, health, innovation, and justice, Washington Monthly Magazine ranks FIU among the top 20 public universities contributing to the public good. Additionally, US News and World Report places dozens of FIU programs among the best in the nation, including international business at number 2. So whether it’s physics or philosophy, engineering or English, biology or business administration, FIU offers more than 200 bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral options, many available online. It also boasts South Florida’s only public colleges of law and medicine. Fans of physical activity will find their passion in FIU’s sports clubs, which offer everything from aikido to wrestling. They can also cheer for the home team, the FIU Panthers, Roary the Panther, dressed in blue and gold.    

Fun fact: Cuban American actor and director Andy Garcia is one of FIU’s famous alumni.

For more information click HERE

University of Central Florida, Orlando   

Here’s one for the visionaries and forward thinkers: Committed to creating the university of the future, UCF seeks to “unleash the potential of people and ideas to positively impact the world.” In fact, for the sixth time, U.S. News & World Report ranks UCF as one of the most innovative in its annual list of best colleges.                                                                                 

The Orange County university was founded in 1963 and opened in 1968 as Florida Technological University. Its mission: to provide personnel to support the growing US space program at the Kennedy Space Center and Cape Canaveral Space Force Station on Florida’s Space Coast. Today UCF’s space roots continue, as it leads the NASA Florida Space Grant Consortium. With more than 240 degree programs, its top 10 majors include Psychology, Computer Science, Hospitality Management, Digital Media, Finance, Information Technology and Political Science.                      

Fun fact: The Blair Witch Project, one of the most successful independent films produced, was filmed and directed by UCF alumni Daniel Myrick and Eduardo Sánchez.

For more information click HERE

Florida State University, Tallahassee

FSU is a public institution that was founded in 1851, and is listed among the 2022-2023 Best Colleges in Florida by US News and World Report. It also ranks #19 in Top Public Schools. Additionally, FSU has been designated a preeminent research university by the state legislature, and is also known for its criminal justice programs, as well as its film school.      

Many units in FSU’s undergraduate, graduate, and professional programs consistently rank among the nation’s top twenty-five public universities, including those in Physics, Chemistry, Statistics, Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, Meteorology, Political Science, Psychology, Sociology, Criminology, Information, Creative Writing, Public Policy, Business and Law.                    

Fun fact: Notable alumni include actor Burt Reynolds and rock legend Jim Morrison, the vocalist for the ‘60s group The Doors.


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