University of West Florida

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Updated August 7, 2020

The University of West Florida is a public university founded in 1963. With a main campus located in Pensacola, FL, this school also has multiple campuses scattered throughout northwest Florida. In addition, this university boasts a strong online presence for students who wish to study remotely. Committed to providing a high quality but affordable educational experience, UWF sees change as inspirational and aspires to be a leader in changing the world for the better. Currently, students can pursue more than 70 degree and specialist programs encompassing all levels of undergraduate and graduate coursework. The University of West Florida is currently the choice of more than 13,000 students seeking various degrees both on campus and online.

University of West Florida Accreditation Details

UWF is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC). It has carried this accreditation since 1969 and was most recently reaffirmed in 2015. The next expected reaffirmation decision is expected to take place in the year 2025. In addition to this regional accreditation, various programs within the university are nationally accredited by the governing organizations that apply to the corresponding subject matter.

University of West Florida Application Requirements

Requirements vary depending on the degree level sought and circumstances of the student applying. While the University of West Florida offers both undergraduate and graduate degrees in political science, only the Masters degree is offered completely online. However, students wishing to study on campus for an undergraduate degree may be able to combine on campus courses with some online courses as well.

Students wishing to enter UWF as freshmen should include high school transcripts that show a strong college-prep curriculum completed and either SAT or ACT scores following completion of the online application. While each application portfolio is comprehensively reviewed, currently incoming freshman have an average GPA of 3.61, an SAT total score of 1550 or above for all three sections, or an ACT score of 24 total. Since UWF chooses to take the best subsectional scores from all SAT or ACT scores submitted, students are encouraged to submit scores for all attempts at either or both tests.

For students seeking admission at the graduate level, regardless of major, the application process involves providing official college transcripts in addition to the online application. For the Master of Arts in Political Science, offered through the Department of Government, additional requirements include official verbal and quantitative scores on the GRE or on the Miller Analogies Test (MAT) with minimum scores in each that rank in the 50th percentile or higher. Application to this program and department also requires a minimum GPA of 3.0 on undergraduate work and submission of a sample research paper.

Tuition and Financial Aid

Tuition rates vary depending upon the level of degree sought and residency status of the student applying. For in-state residents of Florida, undergraduate courses cost $218.98 per credit hour. Out-of-state undergraduate students pay $648.37 per credit hour. However, Alabama residents pay a differential tuition rate of $323.98 per credit hour rather than the full out-of-state cost, and out-of-state students seeking certain programs that are completely online may be eligible for a tuition waiver of as much as 100 percent of the out of state difference in tuition.

Florida residents pay $384.60 per credit hour for graduate level courses, while out-of-state residents pay $1044.24 per credit hour. Again, Alabama residents pay a differential tuition of $489.60 per credit hour and students involved in a completely online program can seek a waiver of some or all of the extra tuition if they live outside of Florida, but wish to study entirely online.

As a public state university, students can utilize a variety of financial aid to help offset the cost of higher education, including grants, loans, scholarships, and student employment. Students seeking financial aid should begin by filling out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid, or FAFSA and specifying UWF as the school of choice to receive any aid that is awarded. UWF awarded nearly $100 million in financial aid moneys last year alone, providing more than 65 percent of their students with the means to achieve their higher education goals.

Online Degrees Available

The University of West Florida offers seven fully online undergraduate programs and 18 fully online graduate programs. While the Bachelor of Arts in Political Science is not one of the online options at this school, the Master of Arts in Political Science is. The graduate degree involves completion of 33 semester hours and a choice of one of three concentrations that include Political Science, Public Administration, and Security and Diplomacy. This degree program is designed for students who wish to pursue careers in international relations, comparative politics, and/or public policy.

The Master of Arts degree program is offered with either a thesis or a non-thesis option. The non-thesis option involves a comprehensive exam with both oral and written components in place of the thesis and the thesis defense. In either case, students will complete 21 semester hours of core courses and are required to maintain a B or better in every core course. Students may also complete up to nine semester hours of electives in areas outside of political science, with the approval of their advisor.

Students seeking the Master of Art in Political Science degree entirely online need to be aware that this is a synchronous course delivery program, meaning that students are required to attend live lectures via the university's online video conferencing system. In this way, students are able to interact with other students in the class and with their instructors in real time. These live sessions are held for evening core seminars, and the students' success is tied to attending and participating in these sessions. Approved department electives are available as recordings.

Related Resource: Top 20 Most Affordable Online Master's in Political Science

When you choose UWF for your higher education goals, you choose the innovative and forward-thinking side of Florida. This school provides a close-knit academic community, even for those students studying remotely. Committed to growing and aspiring to be a model of excellence in both academics and community services, the University of West Florida in the Florida panhandle is a solid choice for studying both online and locally.

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