Is UF or USF better? Rankings and Majors Reviewed

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Is UF or USF better? The University of Florida is the state’s flagship university with heralded programs across the board. The University of South Florida is another respected public university, and ranks well nationally in some specific majors we’ll discuss later.

We’ll begin by looking at the overall consensus rankings from four ranking sources, and then go major-by-major to give you a thorough overview of the universities’ programs.

We’ve also written more comparison articles on UF that you can view here:

And here are the USF comparisons:

UF and USF General Rankings

Averaging four major ranking publications, UF places an impressive 24th in the nation, while USF is over a hundred spots below at 132nd.

That’s not to say 132nd is bad—there are a lot of good colleges in the country, and USF also has specific programs that rank higher, but overall the University of Florida is more prestigious.

In the U.S. News rankings, UF is 29th nationally, and the University of South Florida squeezes into the top hundred at 97th.

Forbes college rankings focus more on the return on investment, with factors such as student debt and expected earnings weighted heavily.

Forbes puts a slightly wider gap between the universities, with the University of Florida ranking 26th and USF placing 118th.

Money Magazine, as you might expect, also puts an emphasis on the quality of the return on investment. Its three major methodology categories are the quality of education, affordability, and employment outcomes.

Money puts the University of Florida 8th in America. USF did not fare as well in the Money rankings, placing 214th.

The Washington Monthly rankings close out our big four, and they’re focused on different criteria, including research, public service, and promoting social mobility.

In the WM rankings, UF comes in 33rd and USF ranks 98th.

So is UF or USF better? Well, there’s a lot of factors for you to consider in your college search, and rankings aren’t everything. In terms of rankings, however, the University of Florida has an undeniable edge over USF.

Is UF harder to get into than USF?

UCF’s acceptance rate is reported at 30%, while USF’s is 49%. Both schools are selective, but it’s clear that UF is harder to get into than USF.

Let’s look at test scores for the middle half of students admitted by each university.

The University of Florida’s range is 1300-1470 on the SAT, and 29-33 on the ACT. Again, this is just the 25th and 75th percentile of students, so it is possible to be admitted with lower scores.

USF’s middle half of admitted students ranged from 1140-1340 on the SAT, and 24-29 on the ACT.

That’s a difference of well over a hundred points on the SAT, and 4-5 points on the ACT, with University of Florida students having significantly higher average scores.

Between the admissions rates and the test scores, it’s clear that the University of Florida is harder to get into, but USF is still selective, with over half of applicants denied admission.

Is UF or USF better for business?

UF leads the pack in our rankings of the best colleges for business majors in Florida.

U.S. News rankings place UF 23rd, even higher than their overall ranking. USF, on the other hand, falls to 183rd. It’s not bad, but it’s not in the same league as the University of Florida when it comes to business.

With that said, if you’re looking to work in South Florida or Tampa specifically, USF is still a fine choice, as connections with local employers and internships can go a long way.

USF’s business majors also offer a breadth of opportunities, with undergraduate programs in:

  • Accounting
  • Advertising
  • Business Analytics and Information Systems
  • Entrepreneurship and Innovation
  • Finance
  • Global Business
  • Hospitality Management
  • Information Assurance and Cybersecurity Management
  • Management
  • Marketing
  • Personal Financial Planning
  • Risk Management and Insurance
  • Supply Chain Management

Is UF or USF better for engineering and computer science?

The University of Florida is also a powerhouse in engineering, even though another university edged them out in our Florida engineering rankings.

Still, UF is a premier engineering school, with engineering programs ranked as high as the top 10 nationally. Their engineering majors are:

  • Bachelor of Science in Aerospace Engineering
  • Bachelor of Science in Biological Engineering
  • Bachelor of Science in Biomedical Engineering
  • Bachelor of Science in Chemical Engineering
  • Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering
  • Bachelor of Science in Computer Engineering
  • Bachelor of Science in Digital Arts & Sciences
  • Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering
  • Bachelor of Science in Environmental Engineering
  • Bachelor of Science in Industrial & Systems Engineering
  • Bachelor of Science in Materials Science & Engineering
  • Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering
  • Bachelor of Science in Nuclear Engineering

UF is better than USF in engineering, and also has some engineering programs that are hard to find elsewhere.

With that said, engineers from UF aren’t necessarily going to make more money than USF graduates, as USF still has 9 ABET-accredited degrees.

  • Biomedical Engineering
  • Chemical Engineering
  • Civil Engineering
  • Computer Engineering
  • Computer Science
  • Cybersecurity
  • Electrical Engineering
  • Industrial Engineering
  • Mechanical Engineering

ABET accreditation is a big deal in the engineering world. Even though USF’s rankings don’t stack up with UF’s, both schools are preparing engineers for successful careers.

Is UF or USF better for psychology?

Psychology is another strong and established program at UF, and they lead the way in our Florida psychology rankings.

Psychology is also one of USF’s strongest programs, as they manage a top-100 ranking in U.S. News at 97th, compared to UF’s ranking of 39th.

Research is one of USF’s greatest strength, and it’s a great choice for psychology students. For many students, the ranking difference between these schools may not make a big practical difference in your career opportunities.

Despite UF’s higher ranking, both of these schools are great choices for psychology majors.

Is UF or USF better for nursing?

UF comes in second in our Florida nursing rankings, but this is another major where USF holds its own.

Both schools have very impressive U.S. News rankings, with UF at 21st and USF just outside the top 50 at 51st.

The 10-year NCLEX first-time pass rate averages compiled by Nursing Schools Almanac are also very close, with UF at 93% and USF at 91%.

With local clinical connections in the Tampa area, nursing students hoping to work in that area might actually be better served by a USF degree.

Once again, UF comes in with the higher ranking on nursing, but this is one of USF’s strongest subjects. If you’re considering nursing school at USF, we don’t have anything negative to say about their program’s reputation, and it fits right into USF’s institutional focus on science and research.

Is UF or USF better for biology and pre-med?

This is another subject where we’re really excited about the programs at both schools. U.S. News puts UF at 50th in the biological sciences and USF at 119th, and those are both very respectable rankings.

This is USF’s wheelhouse, but it’s also a great program at UF, as Florida’s flagship college is respected in everything.

Both schools do have medical schools and robust pre-med tracks, and USF even offers a unique and selective 7-year B.S. to M.D. program.

There’s a lot of schooling required to become a doctor, so shaving off one year sounds pretty sweet, and the clear track to medical school admission sounds even better.

Is UF bigger than USF?

UF is about the same size as USF, enrolling only a couple thousand more students.

UF’s enrollment is around 35,000, while USF’s is just over 33,000.

Is UF or USF cheaper?

In terms of the sticker price, USF is a little cheaper, with in-state tuition at $211.19 per credit hour compared to UF’s $212.71.

That’s a very small difference, so the real difference will come in your specific financial aid package.

There’s no way to know this without applying to both schools, so that’s what we’d suggest doing.

Does UF or USF have better scholarships and grants?

Money Magazine estimates the cost after aid at both schools to be $10,600. That’s right, it’s the same number at each school.

With roughly the same cost of attendance for the average student, it’s definitely worth considering UF if you get accepted.

USF is a great school, but UF does have more established programs and more prestige throughout Florida and the region.

We’ve also written about the 9 best scholarships for incoming UF students right here, and the best ones cover full tuition, room, board, and even three trips abroad!

We wish you the best in your college journey, and thanks for visiting College Guidepost.