Study in Florida

As well as being home to the world-famous Disney World and a number of other theme parks, Florida is also renowned for its sunny climate, beautiful beaches, lively arts scene and thriving nightlife. All these attractions, of course, make it a much sought-after place for holiday-makers and it is also a wonderful place to study. The following article lists some of the best universities in Florida and it describes their location. First, Florida itself is a peninsular state on the south east coast of the USA. Indeed, the state’s coastline spans more than 1,200 miles and, with a climate that varies from the subtropical to the tropical, it is a place that is mostly humid with unrelenting heat and a good share of hurricanes. The World University Rankings featured five universities spread widely across Florida as desirable places to study. Deciding where exactly to study will have a lot to do with which university best suits one’s educational background and academic aspirations, but it is also worth considering where in Florida one wants to live.

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Popular Universities in Florida

Four of the five universities listed are public institutions and one is private - the University of Miami. Each one offers a comprehensive range of courses in a broad range of subjects.

University of Florida

The University of Florida ranked highest of all universities in Florida. Currently home to 16,000 postgraduate students, the University of Florida’s overall enrolment figure presently falls just short of 50,000. The campus itself is located in Gainesville, an inland city. Even though there are no beaches, the city is noted for offering a good standard of relatively low-cost living and plenty of sunshine.

University of Miami

The University of Miami is located close to the city’s long beaches and the sea. As a private institution, the number of students is quite small –16,800 approximately. The subject areas covered here are broad-ranging and there are graduate schools for law and medical students.

Florida State University

The Florida State University is located in Tallahassee, the state’s capital city. The student population here currently stands at 41,400. As well as fairly large-scale public research facilities, the university offers courses in virtually every imaginable subject, catering for both undergraduate level and postgraduate level students.

University of South Florida

The University of South Florida can be found in Tampa, some 260 miles southwards from Tallahassee on the west coast. This university currently caters for more than 48,000 students, offering over 230 degree-level courses. The Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education has awarded this university a gold rating for its contribution to sustainability. Operating on a $1.6 billion annual budget, the University of South Florida is one of a small group of universities around the country to have received such an accolade.

University of Central Florida

Located in Orlando, the University of Central Florida is jointly ranked at No 134 in the USA and at around 701 worldwide. In terms of student population, it is the USA’s second biggest university and currently accommodates over 60,000 students from all over the USA and from almost 150 other countries. Comprised of 13 colleges, the university offers a choice of 210 degree-level courses. Continue reading if you would like to learn more about the cities where each university described above is to be found and you will also discover something about some of the other main attractions in the state.

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Top Florida Cities for Students


While it may not be the state’s capital city, Miami is certainly the best-known and most densely populated city in Florida. It is situated along the peninsula’s southeastern side and its atmosphere is quite distinct. If you hear a lot of Spanish being spoken in the beach-front bars and cafés, it is because two-thirds of the population here are Hispanic. Although Miami became renowned for high rates of poverty and crime in the 1970s and 1980s, it now has an aura of hope and affluence and is famous for the Art Deco-type hotels along the three-mile stretch known as Ocean Drive. It is, of course, also home to the University of Miami.


The home of Mickey and Minnie Mouse and friends, Orland city can be found in the center of the state between the east coast and the west coast. Dubbed “The City Beautiful,” this was once a farming district that became hugely popular for tourism in the 70s. One of the biggest universities in the state – the University of Central Florida, is sited here. As well as a choice of theme parks, there are also many other attractions in Orlando to escape the rigors of exams and student life. These include Disney World, Universal Studios, SeaWorld, Dinosaur World, Islands of Adventure and LegoLand.

Fort Lauderdale

Renowned for its fun atmosphere and party scene, Fort Lauderdale is an affluent west coast city to the north side of Miami. So, unsurprisingly perhaps, a lot of students choose to come here for Spring break. Over the past few years, Fort Lauderdale has matured into quite a sophisticated place. With numerous bars and clubs, the city obviously appeals to students but it also offers a wide variety of great places to shop, eat and drink both inwards in the direction of Las Olas Boulevard and along the coast.

St Augustine

The first permanent US settlement for Europeans, St Augustine was founded in 1565 by the Spanish. It is near Gainesville, home to the University of Florida and a large student population, and it is another popular coastal destination in Florida. As well as the beautiful beaches, St Augustine has a strong Mediterranean history, which can be felt along the cobblestone streets and in the city’s cafés. It is easy to feel as if you have gone back in time when you see local people passing by in horse-pulled carriages and dressed in period costumes. While this historical sideshow can seem a bit unreal, the architecture and relics here are entirely authentic – quite different from the theme parks a bit further south.


Tampa is yet another paradise for anyone wanting a Spring Break getaway. First, there is Tampa Bay - located close to the University of South Florida - which attracts tourists spilling over from the theme parks in Orlando. This place has a certain Latino feel, which blows inwards from the Gulf of Mexico all the way to Ybor City – a district with a strong Cuban flavor. While Tampa is primarily a business city, it is home to a number of barrier-island beach resorts as well as the world-famous St Petersburg Beaches, all of which makes it an ideal location for any student looking for a combined taste of cosmopolitan and island life.

Things to do and see in the state of Florida…

The Florida Keys

An island chain that stretches for 100 miles, the Florida Keys (the Keys) ends a mere 90 miles from Cuba. These islands are closest for students from the University of Miami and they are a haven for anyone who loves the outdoors and is weary of city life. There are numerous great places here for diving and snorkeling including the Florida Reef - a vast offshore area with living coral. And those who want a lively, relaxed and Caribbean atmosphere on the streets and in the bars should try Key West (or “Conch Republic”), a highly-desirable destination for many people. The greatest drawback, perhaps, is that you will find it difficult to leave!

The Everglades

Situated in the south of Florida, The Everglades National Park covers a large area of the region and takes over virtually the peninsula’s entire tip. Of all the top universities, it is closest to students from the University of Miami, but it makes a great destination for students from any Florida university. Although The Everglades are believed by many to be an area of stagnant swampland, they are actually wet and slow-moving prairies headed for the ocean. The ecosystem here truly is unique and, because it is almost totally unsuitable for human habitation, a guided tour is usually required. Alligators (the official reptile of Florida) live in the waters and you can often spot ospreys, snowy egrets and bald eagles flying over the expanse of mangrove bushes and sawgrass. As well as for sightseeing, students come here to fish, camp, boat, canoe, kayak, bike and hike.

Interesting Facts about the State of Florida

  • The borders of Florida are shared on the north side with Alabama and Georgia; to the east it is surrounded by the Atlantic Ocean and to the west by the Gulf of Mexico.
  • June through to November is the season for hurricanes.
  • Tallahassee is Florida’s capital city while the biggest city area-wise is Jacksonville. However, the largest city population is in Miami.
  • Around 75% of the USA’s citrus fruit and 40% of the orange juice supplied around the world is produced in Florida, making it next to Brazil in terms of producing oranges/orange juice.
  • Florida is not dominated by tourism. Another big industry is citrus, which accounts for over $9 billion (US) dollars annual revenue and over 75,000 jobs.
  • Disney World covers a huge 123 sq km (or 30,500 acres) area.
  • In a survey run by Chief in 2015, CEO’s in the US voted Florida the second best US business state (Texas was No 1).
  • Miami has been the setting for many famous movies including Miami Vice, Bad Boys, Some Like it Hot and Iron Man.
  • The historic Art Deco area in Miami Beach is home to the biggest Art Deco collection of buildings/architecture in the world.
  • The only habitat in the world where alligators and crocodiles live together is The Everglades.
  • Over one million alligators live in Florida. Derived from Spanish, the word “alligator” means “lizard.”
  • There are over 1,300 golf courses in Florida, more than in any state in the USA.