Florida’s Best Research Universities of 2021

Interested in attending a STEM school in Florida? Our ranking of top research universities for bachelor’s degrees displays schools that will best prepare you for STEM careers.

Florida’s Best Research Universities of 2021

Colleges and Universities in Florida

Coming in under the national tuition average at $6,360, Florida’s colleges and universities make earning your degree affordable. Prospective students can choose from 40 public and 50 private institutions that award associate, bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral degrees in fields like anthropology, nursing, law, religious studies, and earth sciences. With over 165,000 students across eight campuses and 21 outreach centers, Miami Dade College is the largest public college in the state with a tuition of $3,000.

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Students seeking a religious school can choose from 21 colleges and universities that are grounded in Judeo-Christian, Catholic, Seventh-day Adventist, and Christian principals. Ranked as the top two schools, the University of Florida (UF) and Florida State University (FSU) both have large student populations, with just over 45,000 at UF and just under 39,000 as FSU. Both are also affordable, with tuition at $6,000 and $7,000, respectively.

At $50,000, the University of Miami is the most expensive private college in the state and has graduated influential people, such as Gene Roddenberry, Sylvester Stallone, and Dwayne The Rock Johnson. Florida also offers its nursing students up to $4,000 in loan forgiveness through their Nursing Student Loan Forgiveness Program.

Coastal cities, sandy beaches, orange groves, and vibrant flowers — it’s no wonder Florida is called The Sunshine State. Home to the famous Everglades National Park and Disney World, Florida also boasts 90 higher education institutes.

With so many options and in such a beautiful setting, Florida has a lot to offer higher education students. Check out Florida’s best degree programs and top career paths.


What are Florida’s Colleges & Universities?

Florida’s Best Overall

Related: Differences between research universities and teaching colleges

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How do we determine Florida's best colleges and universities?

Methodology

The people affiliated with a school are ultimately what make it great. This is why, at the undergraduate level, we rank the best colleges and universities based on what we call “Concentrated Influence”. Concentrated Influence takes the combined influence score of a college or university’s top academic influencers (including faculty and alums) and divides it by the school’s total number of undergraduates.

Using concentrated influence gives small and mid-sized schools an opportunity to shine by taking away the size advantage of larger universities. A small school with proportionately more influential faculty than a large school, whose influence in absolute terms may be bigger, will nonetheless score higher in a concentrated influence ranking. Our approach highlights undergraduate schools that truly rank for excellence, regardless of size.

If you are serious about finding the best colleges and universities for a bachelor’s degree, you should be asking where the most influential professors are teaching and whether their graduates are themselves advancing the school’s reputation for academic excellence.

Most ranking sites rely on an opaque combination of reputation surveys and arbitrary performance metrics. Concentrated Influence provides a ranking that is free from bias, insulated from manipulation, and reflective of real-world educational outcomes.

10 Best Research Universities in Florida for Undergraduates

A research university is a great option for students interested in obtaining STEM degrees. Research universities invest heavily in research, which consequently provides meaningful and extensive opportunities for its students and faculty to participate in research. We’ve identified 14 research universities in Florida:

  1. It must be a fully accredited university.
  2. It must offer doctoral degrees across the range of STEM subjects (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math).
  3. It must report high levels of research activity based upon the number of research and/or practice doctorates awarded each year.
  4. Its graduation rate must be above 40%.

  1. #1

    University of Miami

    #143 institution's historical influence
    #106 overall school desirability

    Tuition + fees

    $54K

    Acceptance

    33%

    Graduation

    83%

    Student body

    15K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1355/30

    Coral Gables, FL

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    What is University of Miami known for?

    University of Miami’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Medical
    • Business
    • Biology
    • Law
    • Mathematics
    • Engineering
    • Philosophy
    • Physics
    • Education
    • History

    Most Influential Alumni

  2. #2

    University of Florida

    #72 institution's historical influence
    #45 overall school desirability

    Tuition + fees

    $6K

    Acceptance

    31%

    Graduation

    89%

    Student body

    47K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1390/30

    Gainesville, FL

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    What is University of Florida known for?

    University of Florida’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Biology
    • Medical
    • Engineering
    • Business
    • History
    • Law
    • Chemistry
    • Literature
    • Education
    • Philosophy

    Most Influential Alumni

  3. #3

    Florida State University

    #156 institution's historical influence
    #174 overall school desirability

    Tuition + fees

    $7K

    Acceptance

    32%

    Graduation

    84%

    Student body

    40K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1270/28

    Tallahassee, FL

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    What is Florida State University known for?

    Florida State University’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Business
    • Mathematics
    • Physics
    • Biology
    • Law
    • Education
    • Literature
    • Chemistry
    • Political Science
    • Engineering

    Most Influential Alumni

  4. #4

    Florida Institute of Technology

    #857 institution's historical influence
    #385 overall school desirability

    Tuition + fees

    $43K

    Acceptance

    70%

    Graduation

    60%

    Student body

    5K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1255/27

    Melbourne, FL

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    What is Florida Institute of Technology known for?

    Florida Institute of Technology’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Engineering
    • Business
    • Computer Science
    • Physics
    • Biology
    • Education
    • Mathematics
    • Chemistry
    • Law
    • Medical
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  5. #5

    University of South Florida

    #336 institution's historical influence
    #239 overall school desirability

    Tuition + fees

    $6K

    Acceptance

    49%

    Graduation

    74%

    Student body

    44K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1250/27

    Tampa, FL

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    What is University of South Florida known for?

    University of South Florida’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Medical
    • Biology
    • Engineering
    • Education
    • Business
    • Psychology
    • Chemistry
    • Mathematics
    • Computer Science
    • History

    Most Influential Alumni

  6. #6

    Nova Southeastern University

    #983 institution's historical influence
    #678 overall school desirability

    Tuition + fees

    $33K

    Acceptance

    76%

    Graduation

    62%

    Student body

    14K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1175/24

    Fort Lauderdale, FL

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    What is Nova Southeastern University known for?

    Nova Southeastern University’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Medical
    • Psychology
    • Business
    • Education
    • Biology
    • Law
    • Mathematics
    • Political Science
    • Computer Science
    • Criminal Justice
  7. #7

    Florida A&M University

    #1196 institution's historical influence
    #122 overall school desirability

    Tuition + fees

    $6K

    Acceptance

    33%

    Graduation

    55%

    Student body

    8K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1095/21

    Tallahassee, FL

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    What is Florida A&M University known for?

    Florida A&M University’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Education
    • Law
    • Engineering
    • History
    • Political Science
    • Biology
    • Medical
    • Communications
    • Chemistry
    • Psychology
  8. #8

    Florida International University

    #519 institution's historical influence
    #215 overall school desirability

    Tuition + fees

    $7K

    Acceptance

    58%

    Graduation

    67%

    Student body

    48K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1195/25

    Miami, FL

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    What is Florida International University known for?

    Florida International University’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Engineering
    • Business
    • Education
    • Biology
    • Medical
    • Political Science
    • Law
    • Computer Science
    • Literature
    • Communications

    Most Influential Alumni

  9. #9

    Florida Atlantic University

    #682 institution's historical influence
    #1363 overall school desirability

    Tuition + fees

    $5K

    Acceptance

    75%

    Graduation

    56%

    Student body

    26K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1160/24

    Boca Raton, FL

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    What is Florida Atlantic University known for?

    Florida Atlantic University’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Computer Science
    • Medical
    • Biology
    • Psychology
    • Engineering
    • Education
    • Business
    • Political Science
    • Mathematics
    • History
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  10. #10

    University of Central Florida

    #494 institution's historical influence
    #181 overall school desirability

    Tuition + fees

    $6K

    Acceptance

    45%

    Graduation

    74%

    Student body

    60K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1255/27

    Orlando, FL

    View profile

    What is University of Central Florida known for?

    University of Central Florida’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Engineering
    • Business
    • Computer Science
    • Education
    • Physics
    • Biology
    • Chemistry
    • Medical
    • Mathematics
    • History

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