The 10 Best and Most Prestigious Universities in Florida
Florida is a great place for a college education. The best universities in Florida can be found all over the state, from the capital of Tallahassee to urban hubs like Miami, Jacksonville, and Tampa. Beyond their academic chops, the most prestigious universities in Florida also provide a culturally diverse experience and active student life thanks to their proximity to the Caribbean and Latin America.
Florida is home to more than 175 higher educational institutions , so deciding which ones to apply to can be a daunting task. Luckily, we’ve ranked the top 10 universities in Florida and supplied other key information to help you achieve your college degree and career goals.
How We Defined Florida University Rankings
We based our ranking of the best Florida universities on several important factors, including acceptance rate, graduation rate, and overall student success. We also considered how the institutions were ranked nationally by US News & World Report. Finally, in light of the COVID-19 pandemic, we looked at the schools’ commitment to new trends in online education .
Florida Universities Ranked: Top 10 Universities in Florida
- University of Florida
- Florida State University
- University of Miami
- University of South Florida
- University of Central Florida
- Florida International University
- Florida Institute of Technology
- Florida Atlantic University
- Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University
Florida A&M University
The Best Colleges and Universities in Florida, Explained
The best universities in Florida offer cutting-edge educational experiences, wonderful professors, and a variety of academic programs. Some also provide access to vibrant city life, a diverse culture, and beaches lined with palm trees. Our ranking of the top 10 universities in Florida can help you decide where to apply.
1. University of Florida
- US News National Ranking: #28
- Campus Location(s): Gainesville
- Undergraduate Enrollment: 34,931
- Graduation Rate: 89%
The University of Florida is a public institution that has been around for more than a century. The university is committed to student success and has programs for earning a bachelor’s, master’s, or doctoral degree. Its Bachelor’s Degree in Engineering , nursing, and marketing programs are among the best in the country. This school has nine astronauts on its list of notable alumni.
2. Florida State University
- US News National Ranking: #55 (tie)
- Campus Location(s): Tallahassee
- Undergraduate Enrollment: 32,543
- Graduation Rate: 84%
One of the oldest public institutions in the state, Florida State University offers 276 degree programs at the undergraduate and graduate levels. Including graduate students, it has a student body of 43,569, so be prepared for large class sizes in your introductory coursework.
3. University of Miami
- US News National Ranking: #55 (tie)
- Campus Location(s): Coral Gables
- Undergraduate Enrollment: 11,334
- Graduation Rate: 83%
The University of Miami is a private research institution founded in 1925 with more than 17,000 students from around the globe. It comprises 12 schools and colleges and offers more than 350 majors and programs. With its 239-acre Coral Gables campus, the University of Miami is a beautiful school.
4. University of South Florida
- US News National Ranking: #103
- Campus Location(s): Tampa, St. Petersburg, Sarasota
- Undergraduate Enrollment: 38,579
- Graduation Rate: 74%
The main campus of the University of South Florida (USF) is located in the heart of the Tampa Bay metropolitan area. USF has a diverse student body and issues undergraduate and graduate degrees in a range of academic programs for an amazing college experience. Of particular interest in light of the COVID-19 pandemic are USF’s many online education programs.
5. University of Central Florida
- US News National Ranking: #148
- Campus Location(s): Orlando
- Undergraduate Enrollment: 61,456
- Graduation Rate: 74%
In addition to its main campus in Orlando, the University of Central Florida (UCF) has more than 100 fully online programs. It is an enormous school, with the second-highest enrollment of all US public universities, after Texas A&M. Some of UCF’s most popular majors include computer science, nursing, mechanical engineering, and biology.
6. Florida International University
- US News National Ranking: #162
- Campus Location(s): Miami
- Undergraduate Enrollment: 48,664
- Graduation Rate: 67%
Florida International University offers more than 190 degrees, including online programs and programs at satellite campuses such as the Biscayne Bay campus. Florida International University opened in 1972 with 5,667 students. Since then, the university has grown considerably with a current undergraduate enrollment of 48,664.
7. Florida Institute of Technology
- US News National Ranking: #202 (tie)
- Campus Location(s): Melbourne
- Undergraduate Enrollment: 3,475
- Graduation Rate: 60%
Florida Institute of Technology is a private institution located in Melbourne, Florida. With over 100 countries represented in its student body, the Florida Institute of Technology is truly an international place of learning. Some of the most popular programs at the Florida Institute of Technology are aerospace engineering, aviation environmental science, civil engineering, and computer information systems.
8. Florida Atlantic University
- US News National Ranking: #277
- Campus Location(s) : Boca Raton, Dania Beach, Davie, Fort Lauderdale, Jupiter, Fort Pierce
- Undergraduate Enrollment: 25,562
- Graduation Rate : 56%
Florida Atlantic University currently offers more than 170 programs and serves more than 30,000 students, including graduate students. Like other universities listed here, Florida Atlantic University has been around for more than five decades. It has six campuses, and the student-to-teacher ratio is 21 to one.
9. Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University–Daytona Beach
- US News National Ranking: #10 (Regional Universities South)
- Campus Location(s): Daytona Beach
- Undergraduate Enrollment: 6,399
- Graduation Rate: 62%
Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University is perhaps the top aeronautical school in the US, with degree programs in aeronautics, airworthiness engineering, applied biology, and aviation maintenance, among others. It is also the largest accredited aviation and aeronautics university in the world. Daytona Beach is home to one of Embry-Riddle’s two main campuses, along with Prescott, Arizona.
10. Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University
- US News National Ranking : #202 (tie)
- Campus Location(s) : Tallahassee
- Undergraduate Enrollment : 7,402
- Graduation Rate : 55%
Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University (Florida A&M) is a public university established in Tallahassee in 1887. It is the largest historically Black college or university (HBCU) in the country by enrollment. Some of Florida A&M University’s most popular majors are business management, economics, and mathematics.
Is a University in Florida Right for You?
A university in Florida may be right for you if you already live in Florida and are interested in affordable, world-class education. However, if you’re considering attending a public university in Florida as an out-of-state student, you should be aware that tuition may be significantly higher for you than for an in-state student.
As a college student at any of Florida’s top colleges and universities, there’s a good chance that you’ll find yourself in a beautiful environment with many activities on campus. That said, if you’d like to attend a Florida university while living elsewhere, you can enroll in an accredited online program offered by a Florida higher education institution.
Best Universities in Florida FAQ
With 177 higher education institutions in the state, you have many good options even if you choose to look beyond our list of the top 10 universities in Florida. Some other great colleges and universities in Florida include Everglades University, Keiser University, University of West Florida, and Florida Gulf Coast University.
Yes, it can be affordable to attend a Florida university, especially if you’re an in-state student at a public institution. You can also begin your undergraduate studies at community college and enter one of the state’s top universities as a transfer student.
Yes, it is usually more expensive for an out-of-state student to attend a Florida university. This is particularly true when it comes to public institutions like the University of Florida or Florida State University. At the University of Flordia, tuition is
$6,380 in-state and $25,685 out-of-state
. Research your financial aid options before applying.
Yes, most Florida universities offer associate degrees and bachelor’s degrees . Most also have academic programs in which you can earn a master’s degree, doctorate, or certificate.