University of South Florida


Established in 1956, the University of South Florida is part of the state’s official university system and is situated in the city of Tampa. With more than 47,000 students attending, the University of South Florida is one of the largest institutions of higher learning in the state. During its short history, the university has gained acclaim for its research and patenting activity. In fact, the Intellectual Property Owners Association revealed that the University of South Florida ranked in the top ten of universities for the number of patents awarded.

The school offers over 130 programs at all levels of study on campus, as well as eight undergraduate programs and 28 graduate programs for online students in a variety of areas including the arts, business, education, engineering, global sustainability, medicine, and public health. The school ranks in the top 50 schools for its public health program, according to “U.S. News & World Report.” Additionally, the school is known for its exceptional treatment of veterans and was one of only a handful of universities given status as a Tillman Partnership University of the Pat Tillman Foundation for the school’s encouraging treatment of military families.

University of South Florida Accreditation Details

The Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS) gives the University of South Florida approval to award college degrees including bachelor’s, master’s, and specialist levels, as well as doctoral degrees. The mission of SACS is the improvement of the education that students receive from colleges in the south. When a student chooses an accredited school, the likelihood of receiving a quality education is increased. In addition, accredited schools are looked upon most favorably by employers when considering the educational background of job applicants.

The University of South Florida also boasts a variety of school-specific and program-specific accreditations including accreditation from the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) for the college’s nursing programs, as well as accreditation from the Accreditation Council for Pharmacy Education (ACPE) for the Doctor of Pharmacy Program. The Doctor of Physical Therapy program is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education (CAPTE) and the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education has given accreditation to the College of Education.

University of South Florida Application Requirements

Like most universities, the University of South Florida requires standard application materials like a fee, official application, and other official documents. After filling out the application and gathering a $30 application fee, students will also need the following materials to complete their application.

  • Official transcript from high school or any college attended
  • Copies of Advanced Placement scores and International Baccalaureate scores
  • Official SAT or ACT scores and TOEFL scores for international students

After submitting these materials, the program to which the student wishes to apply may also require meeting with an advisor, submission of a college-specific application, payment of tuition, and registration for classes.

Admission to the university for graduate study requires that a student has a bachelor’s degree from an accredited institution before starting classes at USF. GPA requirements include a 3.0 on a 4.0 scale for all undergraduate work, upper division classes, and any previous classes taken at the graduate level. Just like undergraduate applications, students must submit an application fee, transcripts, and standardized test scores.

Additionally, programs have varied application deadlines for domestic and foreign students, so it’s important to speak with an admissions counselor to ensure all materials are submitted on time. For example, students who wish to enroll n the fall semester for a Master of Public Health degree in Behavioral Health will need to apply by February 15. Students are encouraged to submit their applications in full well in advance of the deadline.

Tuition and Financial Aid

Tuition rates for students at the University of South Florida are based upon a student’s course level. Costs also vary depending on the location a student wishes to attend or whether the student has decided to apply to one of the online programs. Tuition rates vary from $185.92 for undergraduate classes at the Sarasota-Manatee campus to $211.19 per credit hour at the Tampa campus. Graduate level costs vary from $417.90 at the Sarasota-Manatee campus up to $431.43 at the Tampa campus. These rates are for students on campus who have in-state status.

For students who are considered non-residents of Florida, tuition rates for undergraduate study vary from $549.74 to $575.01. Graduate level course rates for out-of-state students cost $863.64 to $877.17 per credit hour. Students may also pay extra for enrolling in an online program. For students enrolled in a program at the College of Public Health, who are taking classes online, students will pay a fee of $30 per credit hour. For example, a four-credit class would cost an extra $120.

Like most accredited universities, the University of South Florida offers students a variety of options and types of assistance for paying for college. Students need to submit a FAFSA form to the federal government to be eligible for financial aid that may include subsidized loans, unsubsidized loans, and grants, depending on a student’s status and financial need. Some students may also be eligible for certain tuition waivers, so low-income students should speak with the financial aid office about potential reductions in college costs.

Online Degrees Available

The University of South Florida offers online degrees in many areas including graduate degrees in Arts, Business, and Health and undergraduate degrees in Criminal Justice, Public Health, and a variety of other areas. The university has created what it calls an “Innovative Education” program to accommodate students who are unable to attend classes on campus because of distance issues, life circumstances, or work commitments.

The university offers many Master of Public Health degrees in areas like Epidemiology, Infection Control, and Public Health Practice. The school has created its online M.P.H. degrees with busy professionals in mind, so they expect that applicants will already have work experience and need the convenience of an online program. One of the unique benefits of the USF online health degrees is their availability for students anywhere. Because the degrees are fully online, a student can live thousands of miles away for the majority of the program. Some programs require a one or two week capstone experience on campus, but the rest of the program is available online.

One of the unique features of USF’s online programs is the Bachelor of General Studies. This inventive degree program helps students complete their bachelor’s degree when a student had to leave school years ago and leave their education unfinished. The school offers a variety of areas for study including concentrations in Criminal Justice, Information Technology, and Public Administration. This program helps students finally complete their college studies even if they have a busy lifestyle.

Generally, a Bachelor of General Studies will feature a variety of required courses alongside some electives that will allow a student to tailor the program to his or her interests. For example, the Criminal Justice concentration features interesting electives like Crime and Justice in America, Victimology, and Miscarriages of Justice.

With diverse educational offerings, the University of South Florida offers students a chance to finish a degree from almost anywhere, even if they can’t attend classes at one of the school’s Florida campuses.

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