The University of Central Florida, or UCF, is an American metropolitan public research university in Orlando, Florida. It is the largest university in the United States by undergraduate enrollment, as well as the largest by total enrollment.
Founded in 1963 by the Florida Legislature, UCF opened in 1968 as Florida Technological University, with the mission of providing personnel to support the growing U.S. space program at the Kennedy Space Center and Cape Canaveral Air Force Station on Florida's Space Coast. As the academic scope expanded beyond its original focus on engineering and technology, "Florida Tech" was renamed The University of Central Florida in 1978. UCF's space roots continue as the university currently leads the NASA Florida Space Grant Consortium. Enrollment today amounts to some 60,821 students from 140 countries and all 50 states and Washington, D.C.
The university offers over 200 degrees through thirteen colleges and twelve satellite campuses in Central Florida. Since its founding, UCF has awarded more than 290,000 degrees, including 55,000 graduate and professional degrees, to over 250,000 alumni worldwide. U.S. News & World Report ranked as the third-best "up-and-coming" national university. U.S. News & World Report ranked The University of Central Florida as the 13th most innovative school, 91st among public universities, and 168th overall on the list of Tier I National Universities.
Many of the University of Central Florida's graduate programs have received top-100 rankings from U.S. News & World Report. UCF College of Engineering and Computer Science was ranked 70th nationally. The 2014 Academic Ranking of World Universities list assessed The University of Central Florida as among the top-300 world universities and the top-109 in the United States based on overall research output and faculty awards. UCF's engineering and business schools were rated as among the top-150, and the university's social sciences, computer science, and mathematics programs were ranked among the top-200 globally. Bloomberg Business Week ranked the UCF College of Business Administration as the number one public business school for return on investment in the nation. The university has also been recognized by Bill Gates as a leading institution.
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