Is UCF or USF better? Rankings and Majors Reviewed
Is UCF or USF better? The University of Central Florida has the distinction of being the biggest college in America, so they must be doing something right. Meanwhile, the University of South Florida’s Industrial and Organizational Psychology program ranks 3rd in America, so they have some excellent programs as well.
We’ll start by comparing general rankings and then move on to specific majors, as UCF and USF each have specific programs of academic strength.
UCF and USF General Rankings
Comparing general rankings, UCF has a slightly better average ranking across the four major ranking publications we’ll look at.
U.S. News ranks UCF 137th among national universities, while USF is ranked 97th.
Forbes top college rankings place the universities side-by-side, with USF at 118 and UCF at 119. Forbes notes that while UCF graduates average slightly lower debt, the 10-year salary average for University of South Florida graduates is slightly higher ($102,800 to $99,200).
Money Magazine ranks colleges by value, and Money put the University of Central Florida at 108, far ahead of the University of South Florida at 214. The Money Magazine rankings use acceptance rate, average price, average grants, graduation rates, and early career earnings in their formula.
Finally, there are the Washington Monthly rankings, which rate colleges based on “social mobility, research, and promoting public service”. Washington Monthly puts UCF at 47th in the nation, and USF at 98th.
Rankings are only so accurate, so we’ll look at another traditional method of comparing colleges—acceptance rates, GPA, SAT, and ACT scores.
Is UCF harder to get into than USF?
According to U.S. News data, UCF’s acceptance rate is 36%, while USF’s is 49%. While both schools are similarly respected and ranked, UCF is harder to get into.
To compare SAT and ACT scores, we’ll look at the average scores of the middle 50% of admitted students at each college.
On the SAT, the University of Central Florida has slightly higher scores, with a range of 1170-1350 compared to USF’s 1140-1340.
UCF also has a slight edge in ACT scores, with a range of 25-30 compared to USF’s 24-29.
If you’re interested in learning more about UCF acceptance rates and admissions, we’ve written a whole article for you here.
Even though UCF’s acceptance rate is reportedly much lower, both schools enroll students with similar academic records. This could just mean that more students with poor academic records apply to UCF and get rejected, or perhaps there’s another explanation.
In any case, it seems that UCF is slightly harder to get into than USF.
Is UCF or USF better for business?
UCF placed higher in our rankings of the best colleges for business in Florida, ranking 3rd in the state.
U.S. News has ranked UCF’s business program as high as 131st, while USF came in over 50 spots behind at 183rd.
In practice, business majors have a lot to do with internships and employer connections. If you plan to work in Central Florida or especially Orlando, then UCF is a better choice for business majors. If you plan to work in Tampa or South Florida, USF is a better choice.
Is UCF or USF better for engineering and computer science?
A little history may provide some insight into this question. Did you know that the University of Central Florida was launched in part to provide talent for NASA?
UCF has come a long way since its roots as a little commuter school, but engineering and computer science are still among UCF’s strongest programs.
In fact, UCF beat out the prestigious flagship University of Florida in our Florida engineering rankings, despite UF’s stronger academic rankings in general.
All this to say, USF certainly isn’t bad, but we’d rank UCF better for both engineering and computer science.
Is UCF or USF better for psychology?
After losing out in business and engineering, it’s USF’s time to shine. As we mentioned earlier, the University of South Florida’s graduate program in Industrial and Organizational Psychology has ranked as high as 3rd in America.
At the undergraduate level, USF cools down a little but still ranks inside the top 100, while UCF is down at 140.
USF is great at research and well-respected in psychology, and it ranks better than UCF in psychology.
Is UCF or USF better for nursing?
Both schools do an excellent job training nurses, with UCF having a 96.64% first-time NCLEX pass rate, and USF standing at 94.04%.
While UCF’s program also slightly edges out USF in nursing rankings, these programs are neck and neck.
As with business majors, it’s nice to have clinical connections with local hospitals and healthcare providers. If you’re looking to work in Orlando, UCF is better. If you’re looking to work in Tampa, USF is better.
With demand for nursing graduates still being high, nursing grads who pass the NCLEX can really find a nursing job just about anywhere.
With that being the case, you might just visit both colleges and consider other aspects of the colleges, such as their financial aid packages and campus environments.
Is UCF or USF better for biology and pre-med?
While UCF has roots in engineering and business, the University of Southern Florida is very strong in the sciences, and specifically biology and pre-med.
UCF does have a medical school and a fine biology and pre-med program, but this is USF’s wheelhouse.
The University of South Florida also has a selective 7-year B.S. to M.D. program, which offers an intriguing option to shave off one of the many schooling years that are necessary to become a doctor.
With some of the most common majors reviewed, let’s compare UCF and USF in a few other categories.
Is UCF bigger than USF?
With the biggest campus enrollment of any U.S. university, UCF is bigger than USF and everyone else.
UCF’s enrollment is just over 70,000, while USF’s undergraduate enrollment is just under 37,000.
Is UCF or USF cheaper?
The University of Central Florida charges $212.28 per credit hour (tuition and fees) for in-state students, and $748.89 per credit hour for out-of-state students.
USF’s most recent tuition and fee rate at their Tampa campus is $211.19 per credit hour for Florida residents, or $575.01 per credit hour for out-of-state students.
Before any grants or scholarships, USF is ever so slightly cheaper than UCF for in-state students, and way cheaper for out-of-state students.
Does UCF or USF have better scholarships and grants?
Taking into account average grants, Money estimates UCF tuition after grants at $11,700 per year, and the University of South Florida’s tuition at $10,600.
These numbers are close enough that it’s really worth applying to both schools and seeing what financial aid packages they offer. In your case, the grants and scholarships at one school may be much better than the other, but there’s no way to know without applying.
UCF is a good school for a lot of reasons, and USF matches its reputation with a different feel and different strengths.
We’ve also written about the 5 best scholarships at UCF, and the best ones cover the full cost of attendance, including tuition, fees, room, board, and more.