The University of Florida can be described as a major, public, comprehensive, land-grant, research university.
- Major: The University of Florida is the largest of Florida's universities and the only university in Florida with membership in the Association of American Universities, an association of 62 leading research universities in the US and Canada.
- Public: The university exists thanks to the commitment and investment of the people of the state of Florida. Therefore, we must be responsible and responsive to the needs of the citizens of our state.
- Comprehensive: UF is one of the most comprehensive in the US - it encompasses virtually all academic and professional disciplines. This adjective recognizes the universal reach of the pursuit of knowledge. No field is excluded from our purview.
- Land-grant: A land-grant college or university is an institution that has been designated by its state legislature or Congress to receive the benefits of the Morrill Acts of 1862 and 1890. The original mission of these institutions, as set forth in the first Morrill Act, was to teach agriculture, military tactics, and the mechanical arts as well as classical studies so that members of the working classes could obtain a liberal, practical education.
The Hatch Act of 1887, established agricultural experiment stations at each of the land grant colleges. The Florida Agricultural Experiment Station was established in 1888 and is now a unit of the UF Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (IFAS). Today the Florida Agricultural Experiment Station operates research and education programs at 22 locations throughout Florida.
The Smith-Lever Act of 1914 established the Cooperative Extension Service and specified that the service would be associated with a land grant college. Operating as part of IFAS, UF/IFAS Extension serves each of the state's 67 counties by providing information and conducting educational programs on issues such as sustainable agriculture, competitiveness in world markets, natural resource conservation, energy conservation, food safety, child and family development, consumer credit counseling, and youth development.
More details about the legislative history of land-grant institutions can be found through UF/IFAS. UF is a member of the Association of Public and Land-Grant Universities (APLU).
- Research: Research is the effort to expand the understanding of the natural world as well as the world of the mind and the world of the senses. Faculty at the University of Florida dedicate themselves not only to the bedrock function of education, and not only to the land-grant function of service, but equally to the essential activity of research and the creation of new knowledge. The University of Florida is classified as one of 102 public Doctoral/Research Universities-Extensive (formerly called Research Universities I) by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching.
For more information about characteristics of the University of Florida and how it compares to other major universities, check out the following Web sites: