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Office of the University Registrar

Registrar Services
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2006-07 Undergraduate Catalog

Purpose and Mission of the University of Florida

The University of Florida is a public land-grant, sea-grant and space-grant research university, one of the most comprehensive in the United States. The university encompasses virtually all academic and professional disciplines. It is the largest and oldest of Florida’s eleven universities and a member of the Association of American Universities. Its faculty and staff are dedicated to the common pursuit of the university’s threefold mission: teaching, research and service.

The University of Florida belongs to a tradition of great universities. Together with our undergraduate and graduate students, UF faculty participate in an educational process that links the history of Western Europe with the traditions and cultures of all societies, explores the physical and biological universes, and nurtures generations of young people from diverse backgrounds to address the needs of our societies. The university welcomes the full exploration of its intellectual boundaries and supports its faculty and students in the creation of new knowledge and the pursuit of new ideas.

Teaching is a fundamental purpose of this university at both the undergraduate and graduate levels. Research and scholarship are integral to the education process and to the expansion of our understanding of the natural world, the intellect and the senses. Service reflects the university’s obligation to share the benefits of its research and knowledge for the public good.

These three interlocking elements span all of the university’s academic disciplines and represent the university’s commitment to lead and serve the state of Florida, the nation and the world by pursuing and disseminating new knowledge while building upon the experiences of the past. The University of Florida aspires to advance by strengthening the human condition and improving the quality of life.

Commitment to Diversity

The University of Florida is committed to creating a community that reflects the rich racial, cultural and ethnic diversity of the state and nation. No challenge that exists in higher education has greater importance than the challenge of enrolling students and hiring faculty and staff who are members of diverse racial, cultural or ethnic minority groups. This pluralism enriches the university community, offers opportunity for robust academic dialogue and contributes to better teaching and research. The university and its components benefit from the richness of a multicultural student body, faculty and staff who can learn from one another. Such diversity will empower and inspire respect and understanding among us. The university does not tolerate the actions of anyone who violates the rights of another person.

Through policy and practice, the university strives to embody a diverse community. Our collective efforts will lead to a university that is truly diverse and reflects the state and nation.

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History of the University

The University of Florida traces its beginnings to 1853 when the state-funded East Florida Seminary acquired the private Kingsbury Academy in Ocala. After the Civil War, the seminary was moved to Gainesville. It was consolidated with the state’s land-grant Florida Agricultural College, then in Lake City, to become the University of Florida in 1906. Until 1947, UF enrolled men only and was one of only three state universities. The others were Florida State College for Women (now FSU) and Florida A&M. In 1947, the student body numbered 8,177 men and 601 women.

Today, UF is the fifth largest university in the nation.

Government of the University

A 13-member Board of Trustees governs the University of Florida. The governor appoints six of the trustees, and five are appointed by the 17-member Florida Board of Governors, which governs the State University System as a whole. The university’s student body president and faculty senate chair also serve on the Board of Trustees as ex officio members. Trustees are appointed for staggered five-year terms.

The University of Florida Board of Trustees is a public body corporate with all the powers and duties set forth by law and by the Board of Governors. The University of Florida president serves as the executive officer and corporate secretary of the Board of Trustees and is responsible to the board for all operations of the university. University affairs are administered by the president through the university administration, with the advice and assistance of the Faculty Senate, various committees appointed by the president, and other groups or individuals as requested by the president.

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The university has approximately 4,000 distinguished faculty members with outstanding reputations for teaching, research and service. The faculty attracted more than $478 million in research and training grants in last year.

UF currently has 62 eminent scholar chairs, positions funded at more than $1 million each to attract nationally and internationally recognized scholars. A variety of other endowed professorships help attract prominent faculty. More than two dozen faculty are members of the National Academies of Science and/or Engineering, the Institute of Medicine or a counterpart in another nation. Also, in a national ranking of total Fulbright Awards, UF ranks 16 among AAU public universities, with one visiting scholar and seven American scholars.

A very small sampling of honored faculty and alumni includes a Nobel Laureate, Pulitzer Prize winners in editorial writing and poetry, inventors of Gatorade and Bioglass (a man-made material that bonds with human tissue), one of the four charter members of the Solar Hall of Fame, and an art faculty with 80 percent of its members in Who’s Who in American Art.

Student Body

University of Florida students, numbering almost 50,000 in Fall 2005, come from more than 100 countries, all 50 states, and each of the 67 counties in Florida. The ratio of men to women is 47/53. Seventy percent of UF students are undergraduates, 22 percent are graduate students and 8 percent are in the professional programs of dentistry, law, medicine, pharmacy and veterinary medicine.

Approximately 3,700 African-American students, 5,400 Hispanic students and 3,400 Asian-American students attend UF. More than 90 percent of entering freshmen rank above the national mean of scores on standard entrance exams taken by college-bound students. UF consistently ranks among the top five public universities in the nation in the number of enrolled National Merit Scholars, Achievement Scholars, International Baccalaureate graduates and Advance Placement score recipients.

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The University of Florida is among the nation’s 151 leading research universities as categorized in 2000 by the Carnegie Commission on Higher Education. UF is one of 62 members of the Association of American Universities, the nation’s most prestigious higher education organization.


The University of Florida is accredited by the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools to award bachelor, master, specialist and engineer, as well as doctoral and professional degrees. It has 16 colleges and more than 150 interdisciplinary research and education centers, bureaus and institutes. Almost 100 undergraduate degree programs are offered. The Graduate School coordinates more than 200 graduate programs throughout the university’s colleges and schools. Professional postbaccalaureate degrees are offered in dentistry, law, medicine, pharmacy and veterinary medicine.

(1866 Southern Lane, Decatur, Georgia 30033-4097; 404-679-4501)

Equal Opportunity

The university encourages applications from qualified applicants of both sexes from all cultural, racial, religious and ethnic groups. UF is committed to nondiscrimination with respect to race, creed, religion, age, disability, color, sex, sexual orientation, marital status, national origin, political opinions or affiliations, or veteran status in the administration of educational policies, financial aid, employment, or in any program or activity. Refer to the Office of Equal Opportunity Programs within UF's Human Resources Services for additional information; 352-392-1075.