Florida State University, colloquially known as Florida State and FSU, is a public research university well-known for its nationally ranked academic programs as well as its competitive men’s and women’s athletic teams. It is one of the largest and oldest members of the State University System of Florida.
FSU’s main campus is located in Tallahassee. There are also satellite campuses located in Panama City and Sarasota, Florida; College of Medicine campuses throughout the state; and international study centers in the Republic of Panama, London, Italy, and Spain.
The school’s beginnings date as far back as 1823, when the Territorial Legislature began discussing plans for a system of higher education. FSU was founded in 1851 as a small public institution. It became a four-year school in 1901 and received university status and its current name in 1947. The institution existed in many different forms prior to becoming a university, including separate male and female colleges.
The university now awards associate, bachelor’s, master’s, doctoral, and professional degrees. It is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools. With a total enrollment of over 40,000 students, it has grown to the size of a small city.
FSU’s mission is serving “as a center for advanced graduate and professional studies while emphasizing research and providing excellence in undergraduate programs.”
The university is comprised of 16 separate colleges and home to over 100 centers, labs, institutes, and educational facilities that offer over 300 different programs of study.
Colleges and departments include the Colleges of Arts and Sciences, Business, Communication, Education, Engineering, Human Sciences, Law, Medicine, Music, Information, and Social Science and Social Work. Schools of Criminology and Criminal Justice, Film, Nursing, Theatre, and Visual Arts and Dance are also part of the University.
Students can pursue an associate of arts degree, and the number of undergraduate and graduate degrees awarded is extensive. FSU awards bachelor’s degrees in fields as diverse as classical civilization, Latin American and Caribbean Studies, meteorology, finance, education, engineering, exercise science, music performance, social work, and graphic design. The largest number of majors is offered in the College of Arts and Sciences, which encompasses fields common in the humanities and liberal arts. There are a limited number of combined BA/MA programs as well.
Graduate programs are offered in all colleges and schools, including professional programs in law and medicine. Post-master’s specialist degrees are also offered in several fields. Dual degree programs are offered in fields such as urban planning, law, social work, and public administration.
Florida State’s academics have a strong foundation in the sciences, with biology, chemistry, and meteorology ranking among their best programs. The arts are also well represented within programs of music, dance, and drama. The performance arts “leak” some of their talent to the university’s School of Motion Picture, TV, and Recording Arts. Eligible students have access to a highly rated honors program, providing close interaction with faculty and accelerated study.
Most Popular Fields of Study
Several programs at FSU are considered “limited access” programs because student demand exceeds class space and available resources. Admission to these programs can be incredibly competitive. These include programs in the film school, college of nursing, and many business and education majors.
Some of the university’s more unique programs and divisions include the National High Magnetic Field Laboratory and the Marin Laboratory on the Gulf Coast.
Applicants for the university’s undergraduate programs are recommended to apply as soon as possible during the summer before the applicant’s senior year of high school. In addition to the completed application, which can be submitted online, and the accompanying application fee, students must provide official transcripts, standardized test scores, and a written essay.
Students generally should have at least a B+ average and have taken four units of English, three of mathematics, three of natural science, three of social science, two of a foreign language, and three of electives. Auditions are required for those who wish to major in any of the performing arts, and the School of Motion Picture, Television, and Recording Arts has limited access. Students interested in pursuing those majors should contact the schools directly for more information.
Graduate students must provide the following for admission to the graduate school: college transcripts, test scores, and required departmental materials and applications. There is also a graduate application fee.
Satisfying the basic requirements of a high school graduation and test scores of 24 on the ACT or 1100 on the SAT do not guarantee admission to Florida State, and out of state applicants are held to higher academic standards. The university also cites “other important attributes” are positive factors related to admission.
Financial aid is available for students who qualify in the form of grants, scholarships, loans, and work-study programs. Florida State encourages all applicants to file the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) as early as possible each year.
Merit-based scholarships from the school itself are awarded using students’ admissions applications; there are no forms to complete. Need-based financial aid requires the FAFSA. The Financial Aid office also offers student loan counseling, and “Loan Entrance Counseling” is required for all borrowers of Stafford loans.
Student Financial Aid Details
Dorm life includes a mixture of older dorms and more modern dorms. Typically, most mid- and upper-classmen choose to move off campus. Regardless of where they live, most students find the campus easy to navigate. Attractive architecture and shady landscaping makes a walk along the campus a pleasant trip. While students who live off-campus drive to and from school, there are plenty of skaters and cyclists rolling through the grounds.
The FSU student body is diverse, reflecting the makeup of the state itself. Ethnic and socioeconomic diversity are both prevalent. Students come from low- and high-income backgrounds, rural and urban populations, and every political affiliation in the spectrum.
Student Enrollment Demographics
Student Graduation Demographics
The Florida State Seminoles are NCAA Division I teams and an important part of student life. Men’s sports include baseball, basketball, cross-country, diving, football, golf, swimming, tennis, and track & field. Women’s sports include basketball, cross-country, diving, golf, soccer, softball, swimming, tennis, track & field, and volleyball.
Sports facilities include a large football stadium, a basketball arena, a swim center, a golf course, a gymnasium, a softball field, and track and tennis facilities.
The university has long been a powerhouse of NCAA football, and its state rivalry with the University of Florida has long intrigued the nation like few modern gridiron rivalries can. The Seminoles have won multiple national football championships.
One of the most popular traditions in all of college sports is the portrayal of the school mascot before each home game. Osceola, the famed Seminole chief, is portrayed by a student and seen riding upon a horse, Renegade, as he gallops into the stadium. The chief plants a flaming spear in the center of the field to kick off every home football game.
FSU also has a lesser-known but similarly unique tradition: The Sod Cemetery. Begun after an amazing road victory over Georgia in 1962, the Sod Cemetery contains pieces of turf taken from memorable road victories during the course of FSU history.
FSU is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools.
Melissa Rhone earned her Bachelor of Music in Education from the University of Tampa. She resides in the Tampa Bay area and enjoys writing about college, pop culture, and epilepsy awareness.