Best universities in Florida

Explore the top universities in Florida using data from the Wall Street Journal / Times Higher Education US College Rankings 2017

December 7 2016
South beach Miami

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Florida is known as the sunshine state thanks to its beautiful weather, tropical climate and miles of beaches.

Florida is the southernmost state in the USA, covering a peninsula with the Atlantic to the east side and the Gulf of Mexico on the west. Its proximity to the Caribbean and Latin America mean that Florida has a rich and diverse cultural mix and thriving arts and music scene.

The state is also famous for its theme parks – it is the home of Disney World - and nightlife as well as its natural beauty.

Florida has over one thousand miles of beaches and is home to one of the most unique ecosystems in the United States. The Florida everglades are home to manatees, alligators and crocodiles. The islands of the Florida Keys stretch into the tropical blue ocean and attract visitors from all over the world.

Florida’s largest city, Miami is a hub for finance, culture, entertainment, media and the arts. The state capital Tallahassee is renowned for its universities and is a centre for state governance, law, lobbying organisations and trade associations.

If you want to study in Florida it is important to find the university which is right for you.

Resources: top universities worldwide 

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University of Miami

The University of Miami is a private research university founded in 1925 and located southwest of downtown Miami in the Coral Gables area.

The first class consisted of 372 students. Times were hard for the fledgling university following a recession and damage to the campus by a hurricane. At one point students were forced to go door-to-door collecting funds to keep the institution open.

But the university clung on and since then the University of Miami has gone on to become a thriving, respected higher education institution with over 16,000 students studying a wide range of undergraduate and postgraduate programs.

The university offers 166 undergraduate level degrees, 105 masters and 63 doctoral programs and ranks highly among US universities.

Studies are split across 12 schools including three graduate schools: The Graduate School, Leonard M. Miller School of Medicine and the University of Miami School of Law.

The campus is close to the ocean and covers 453 acres with almost 6 million square feet of buildings. The campus has its own arboretum, theatre and monorail station. There is also housing for over 4,000 students, mostly freshmen, in five residential colleges and an apartment-style housing area.

University of Florida

The University of Florida was founded in 1853 as a research university. The main campus is in the city of Gainesville, Florida.

The university was one of the first public higher education institutions in the state and was born out of a merger of several other colleges and schools in the late 19th and early 20th century.

From the start of the 1900s the university expanded rapidly with increasing enrolment and the addition of new academic schools.

The university has an excellent reputation for the quantity and quality of its research and is home to more than 150 research centres and institutes.

The student population is massive with almost 50,000 students studying at all levels across 87 schools or departments. International students make up a significant part of that figure; students from over 130 countries study abroad at the University of Florida and the institution has the 12th highest number of international students in the USA.

The university offers over 100 undergraduate majors and 200 graduate degrees across its 16 colleges and schools and competition for a place is fierce with admission only granted to under half of those who apply.

The main campus covers 2,000 acres and is home to all the major academic centres and much of the student housing. The University of Florida is the eighth-largest single-campus university in the USA.

Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University

Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, with a campus in Daytona Beach, Florida, is the world’s largest university specialising in aviation and aerospace.

Known as ‘the Harvard of the Sky’, the university specialises in subjects relating to aeronautics, aviation and the military.

The university was founded in 1925 as a flight school and training centre in Daytona Beach and has since broadened its curriculum and opened campuses around the world. The university has a second campus in Prescott, Arizona and has over 130 campuses spread around the world, more than 90 of which are on military bases.

As well as providing flight training and mechanics courses to civilians and the military, the university has diversified its curriculum and now offers associate, bachelor, master's, and PhD degree programs in areas like Business, Engineering, and Security & Intelligence.

There are over 30,000 students enrolled with Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University worldwide, with over 5,000 of those studying at the Daytona Beach campus. This campus offers more than 30 majors in subjects as diverse as Human Factors Psychology and Safety Science.

The campus is adjacent to the Daytona Beach International Airport and boasts a fleet of 67 aircraft for students to train on.

Resources: top universities in Europe

- Best universities in France
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The best universities in Florida, according to the WSJ/THE US College Ranking 2017



WSJ/THE rank

University of Miami

Coral Gables


University of Florida



Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, Daytona Beach

Daytona Beach


Florida Institute of Technology



Florida State University



Rollins College

Winter Park


Stetson University



Eckerd College

Saint Petersburg


University of South Florida



University of Central Florida



Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University



Barry University



Florida International University



Nova Southeastern University

Fort Lauderdale


Florida Southern College



University of Tampa



Florida Atlantic University

Boca Raton


University of North Florida



Johnson & Wales University-North Miami

North Miami


Palm Beach Atlantic University

West Palm Beach


Florida Gulf Coast University

Fort Myers


University of South Florida-St Petersburg

St. Petersburg


Lynn University

Boca Raton


University of West Florida



Flagler College

Saint Augustine


Editors note:The information on this page was correct at the time of publication. Since then, Times Higher Education has reissued the US College Rankings. For the most up-to-date 2017 US College Rankings results, always use the overall league table. Click here for more information

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