The University of Florida

Overview of the University of Florida

Established in 1853, the University of Florida is a leading land-grant research university, rated R1 for research output and ranked in sixth place among the USA’s public universities, and 154th globally. Located two miles away from the city of Gainesville, in north central Florida,  the campus is suburban and covers some 2000 acres, and is home to 35,000 undergraduate and 19,000 postgraduate students, of whom a quarter live on campus. Oak trees and Spanish moss abound, along with statues of alligators – Albert and Alberta Gator are the university mascots – since the Florida Gators represent the university in NCAA Division 1. The university College of Medicine invented the incredibly popular US drink, Gatorade, for the football team in the 1960s – and have been paid royalties ever since.

Gainesville has a population of around 140,000 so it is essentially a student city, and is regularly voted the best place to start a band, because of its strong links with music. Stephen Stills of Crosby Stills, Nash and Young  began his ascent to fame in Gainesville, as did Tom Petty and his Heartbreakers – though these days the many festivals held in Gainesville tend to focus on underground music and rock. The “Santa Jam”, which features local musicians, takes place in December and collects money and toys for sick and underprivileged children.

Gainesville is also known for its extensive tree canopies, which cover 47 per cent of the land mass, and the many species of trees unique to the area, and was given the title “Tree City USA” back in the early 1980s. It is a green  city, with many parks and over 30 miles of hiking trails to explore. If you start to yearn for a big urban environment, lively Orlando is only two hours away by car.

Most popular undergraduate majors at the University of Florida:

  • Engineering
  • Business
  • Management
  • Marketing
  • Biological and biomedical science
  • Social sciences
  • Communication and journalism
  • Psychology
  • Agriculture/animal/plant/ veterinary science
  • Visual and performing arts

Most popular postgraduate courses:

The University of Florida runs 123 Masters courses and 76 doctoral programmes. The most highly rated courses include:

  • MBA
  • Linguistics
  • Psychology
  • Aerospace Engineering
  • Business
  • Engineering
  • Law
  • Medicine
  • Dentistry
  • Veterinary medicine
  • Pharmacy

Research at the University of Florida

In recent years the University of Florida has launched a huge AI initiative, which is based on analysing data gathered by a powerful supercomputer and applying and developing AI to predict surgical complications, and drive modelling in healthcare. The university has 150 research centres and 16 different colleges, including a Cancer and Genetics research complex, Hurricane Simulation Centre, the Center for Exercise Science, the Center for Latin American Studies, the Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences, Emerging Pathogens Institute and Brain Institute.

Among the projects which University of Florida scientists are working on are:

  • Research into citrus production – the world’s largest such research centre
  • Ageing
  • Diabetes
  • Genetics and cancer
  • UF sponsors the International Center for Lightning Research and Testing 

In addition, the university has worked in cooperation with Spain to set up a single-aperture optical telescope in the Canaries, and took part in the Large Hadron Collider experiments.

The University of Florida has the only Academic health centre in the US, with medicine, nursing and pharmacy being taught out of the Gainesville and Jacksonville campuses. The health centre is made up of two teaching and two specialised hospitals, two animal hospitals and six-health related colleges. Patient-care services are provided by  the not-for-profit UF Health Shands hub of hospitals and programs, including UF Health Shands Children’s Hospital and UF Health Shands Cancer Hospital. The specialty hospitals, UF Health Shands Rehab Hospital and UF Health Shands Psychiatric Hospital, are also in Gainesville. The University of Florida Health centre runs a number of outpatient rehabilitation centres, has 80 physicians working from outpatient practices, and  works with several home-health agencies. In 2010, University of Florida Health created joint clinical programs with Orlando Health, focussing  on paediatrics, neuroscience, oncology, women’s health, transplantation and cardiovascular medicine. This partnership enables the University of Florida’s undergraduate and graduates to carry out  medical residency and fellowship training at Orlando Health.

The University of Florida Honors Programme

Applications to the University of Florida Honors Programme are separate from the general application and cover 100 courses. The programme offers scholarships, internships and study abroad options, as well as housing for freshmen in Hume Hall. Competition for a place is extremely fierce and demands outstanding academic grades.

Applying for a place at the University of Florida

Approximately 8 percent of the University of Florida’s student community is made up of international students.

The overall acceptance rate is around 29 per cent.

The university does not accept Early Decision applications and deadlines for submitting the Common App vary, with international students having to get their documents in by 1 November, and domestic students needing to meet the deadline of 1 March. The application fee is $30 for both categories.

SAT and ACT scores must be sent in by 1 December, and the current average SAT score is in the range 1400-1600 (45 percent of applicants) and 1200-1399 (49 percent of applicants), while ACT scores fall in the region of 30-34. Postgraduates are expected to score a minimum of 140 in their verbal GRE.


GPA is very important for the application process, and you should try to aim for a GPA of 4.4-4.6.

International students should submit TOEFL scores of 80-90 and IELTS scores of 6-7.

All transcripts have to be certified and, if necessary, translated and notarised.

The University of Florida does not interview applicants or accept any references or recommendations.

All applications are made through the Common App. For more information, follow the link to Study in the USA, or call or email Elab and one of our experienced US team of consultants will walk you through any questions you may have about the application process.

University of Florida campus and accommodation


The University of Florida does not demand that undergraduates live on campus, but it does offer a number of options, should you decide to do so. You could apply to live in co-ed dorm (38 per cent of the housing stock); sorority houses (8 per cent); fraternity houses (6 percent); apartments (24 per cent); international student special housing (1 percent); disabled student housing (1 percent); or apartments (24 per cent). It has been estimated that the annual costs of living on and off campus are very similar, coming in at around $30,000 a year. International students are, however, legally permitted to work 20 hours a week to help with student costs.


The campus provides a range of student services, foremost among which is its leading careers centre, where you will get CV and interview support and placement assistance. It also offers  legal and health services, the Reitz Union with its food forecourt, bowling alley, cafes and bookshop, day care and  health insurance service. The massive George A Smathers library is the ideal place to study for your assignments. Safety is assured around the campus by 24 hour foot and vehicle patrols, a key entry system, late night transport and escort services, well-lit paths and emergency phones.

There are 60 fraternities and sororities at the University of Florida, and Greek Life is thriving. Every Friday, the campus organises a Gator Night, where students enjoy snacks and different types of entertainment. Students can go snorkelling with manatees, visit the half a million bats at the University of Florida bat houses, stroll around Kanapaha Botanic Gardens, and enjoy the lakes and Paynes Prairie State Reserve or the Butterfly Rainforest. More adventurous or simply curious individuals might like to take part in the Gainesville Scavenger Hunt on first arriving, in order to get to know the city, or visit its many venues for independent music. Every year, the University of Florida puts on a Dance Marathon, which lasts for 26.2 hours, to collect funds for the Shands Children’s Hospital, an initiative which has raised millions of dollars.

There are nine bus routes criss-crossing the campus and a regional airport in Gainesville with daily links to Dallas, Atlanta, Miami and Charlotte – and onward international routes.

If you are interested in media, you could work on the campus country and western station its other radio and tv stations or the campus magazines and journals.

Sport at the University of Florida

The University of Florida is an excellent choice if you love sport and has produced 69 Olympic gold medallists, as well as excelling in baseball and football, where Gator teams are greeted by the traditional Gator Growl! Apart from 51 competitive sports clubs, the campus has gentler sports facilities, such as massage therapy and a skate park, or individual sports such as rock climbing. Whatever your chosen sport, from gym to swimming, basketball to tennis, you will find state of the art equipment, facilities, and coaches who will train you to develop your mental and physical abilities.

In summary

The University of Florida is an excellent, lively and very well-regarded American public research university. A city within a city, it provides students with access to world-class academics, state of the art resources and an unrivalled student experience – as well as the opportunity to become part of the Gator alumni community.If you are interested in applying to the University of Florida, or simply learning more, then do not hesitate to get in touch with Elab’s US specialist consultants. Drop us an email or give us a call and we will help you with your application to this, or any other, outstanding American university.

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