2017 50 Best Universities in Florida

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Taking the top spot in our ranking of the best colleges in Florida is UF. Offering more than 300 different degree paths at the undergraduate and graduate level — alongside 30 certificate programs — the university ensures that every student has the chance to find their passion. Undergrad students choose from courses covering African-American studies, classics, medieval and early modern studies, and veterinary medical sciences, among others. UF students may choose to take part in the school’s unique Innovation Academy, a 30-major program where every student gains a minor in innovation. The program, which was designed to give students a research-focused approach to business development, technology, and ethics, is particularly valuable to students considering an entrepreneurial path. Other colleges of note include the Schools of Agricultural and Life Sciences; Design, Construction and Planning; and Veterinary Medicine.

With a small campus of just 2,000 students, USFSM‘s main focus is providing an individualized educational experience; the school boasts a student-to-faculty ratio of 13:1 and a 92% student satisfaction rate. The university currently has a catalog of 18 undergraduate majors, with over 25 minor options to choose from. Some of the school’s standout programs include communication sciences and disorders, criminology, hospitality management, and interdisciplinary social sciences. Aside from more than 100 different internship opportunities available, undergraduates enrolled in the biology program get the rare opportunity to use the off-site labs at Mote Marine Laboratory, learn from leading scientists in their field, and develop practical experience through hands-on learning. Students on campus can also take advantage of the Florida Center for Partnerships for Arts-Integrated Teaching (PAInT), the Culinary Innovation Lab, service learning experiences, and study abroad opportunities.

As one of the largest universities in our nation and the largest of all colleges in Florida, UCF in Orlando offers its 65,000 students 210 degree programs provided at the main campus, online, and through its 12 other regional locations. Representing students from every corner of America and 148 countries, the campus culture at UCF is diverse. The Carnegie Foundation has recognized UCF for excellence, bestowing the highest designations in both community engagement and very high research activity. Undergrads can choose from 109 different degrees, including a number offered in accelerated format for students looking to enter the job market quickly. A sampling of unique programs includes civil engineering, film, integrated business, and photonic science. To round out the student experience, UCF is currently home to more than 600 student clubs and organizations, including a meditation group, an advertising club, the Biomedical Engineering Society, and a thriving Greek life.

Having met a rigorous number of benchmarks set forth by the Florida legislature, FSU in Tallahassee was recently designated as a preeminent research university. But that’s not the only thing that makes FSU one of the best colleges in Florida. With a 93% freshman retention rate and a commitment to providing exceptional teaching opportunities — including six Nobel Laureate faculty members — students at FSU enjoy many features that aren’t standard at most institutions. The school offers 160 undergraduate degrees through its 14 academic colleges, many of which are offered with additional specializations. For the undecided learner, advisors at FSU can help students sort through the wealth of options to find a program tailored to future goals. Aspirational students can also elect to participate in the honors program, Global FSU, or work with the Office of National Fellowships to find a scholarship to take part in exceptional programs, both domestic and abroad.

As the first private institution to appear on our list, BCF also has the distinction of being one of the handful of religious Florida colleges in this ranking. The college, which was founded during World War II, is today home to 18 undergraduate degrees divided between biblical and nonreligious topics. All degrees are taught through a Christian lens; students looking to work in the church can choose from programs such as ministry studies or missions with a concentration in aviation. Others may choose a more traditional degree like business leadership or secondary education. For those who are local to the Graceville campus, the college also has an innovative dual enrollment program for high school seniors looking to earn college credits. Outside of academics, BCF has a number of excellent services and resources available to students, including a wellness center, numerous student clubs, a career services department, and special married housing for couples attending the college together.

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