Dean's Office

Points of Pride


The College of Arts and Sciences, founded in 1956, is the intellectual heart of the University of South Florida. We are a community of teachers and scholars united in the belief that broadly educated people are the basis of a just, free, and prosperous society. By focusing on the big questions facing all of humanity, we prepare students for successful, socially responsible personal and professional lives. By conducting innovative, interdisciplinary research and scholarship, we advance knowledge in ways that prepare us to address complex social and scientific problems and enhance the quality of life for people and communities.


  • Founded In: 1956
  • Number of Students: 22,551 (USF ODS Enrollment Cube)
  • Number of Faculty: 773 (USF ODS Employee Survey Cube)
  • Number of GAs: 904 (USF ODS Employee Survey Cube)
  • Number of Postdocs: 41 (PPA Matrix, 19-20, Update 2)

Accreditation: USF is accredited to award associate, bachelor's, master's, and doctoral degrees by the Commission of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

Broad Liberal Arts Education

A liberal arts education is intended to increases the capacity of the mind to think critically and analyze information effectively. In an effort to serve an individual over a lifetime, a liberal arts education also develops and strengthens the brain to think within and across all disciplines.

In an increasingly evolving, globalized world, a degree in liberal arts allows students to become critical thinkers who have the confidence and flexibility to continually learn new skills and material. The College of Arts and Sciences at USF is uniquely poised to meet this goal.

CAS Undergraduate

CAS Graduate


The University of South Florida endeavors to make academic excellence inclusive by sustaining a community of free inquiry in which people of diverse race, ethnicity, veteran status, marital status, socio-economic level, national origin, religious belief, physical ability, sexual orientation, age, class, political ideology, gender identity and expression participate in, contribute to, and benefit equally, from the academic community.

  • 51% White
  • 22% Hispanic
  • 11% Black
  • 7% Asian
  • 4% Race Not Reported
  • 5% Two or More Races
  • <1% Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islander
  • <1% American Indian/Alaska Native

Source:  USF ODS Enrollment Cube

Commitment to Research

Research is at the center of the student and faculty experience at the University of South Florida. Designated as a “Preeminent State Research University,” the Tampa campus is one of the nation’s top public research university campuses and one of only 56 public research university campuses classified by the Carnegie Foundation as both a Doctoral University with “Highest Research Activity” and as a “Community Engaged” institution by the Carnegie Classification of Institutions of Higher Education.

Faculty Research

Student Research (Graduate and Undergraduate)

The Undergraduate Research Society promotes interdisciplinary undergraduate research among all of the undergraduate students at the University of South Florida. The organization is open to current undergraduate researchers, as well as undergraduate students interested in pursuing undergraduate research. This organization promotes research through various initiatives, including student talks, faculty talks, and peer mentorship.

As one of the nation's top 50 public research universities, USF provides graduate students outstanding opportunities to work alongside internationally renowned faculty and researchers in a variety of settings. 

CAS students have a unique opportunity to access these services and more through high-quality experiential education opportunities, including, but not limited to:

  • Internships/Practica
  • Service Learning
  • Course-based Research
  • Study Abroad


Freshmen retention rates continue to be impressive and we are again on track to retain over 90% of our FTIC. This is a direct result of the effort put forth by our proactive advising team and the talented and dedicated faculty teaching our introductory courses. Four- and six-year graduation rates are also strong and on pace to achieve 74% (four year) and 78% (six year) – both above the overall university rates for the third year in a row.

Source: PPA matrix 19-20 Update 2


U.S. Command

This past year, the college struck a historic nine-year partnership with U.S. Central Command and The Near East South Asia Center for Strategic Studies to host bi-annual joint conferences on topics directly related to national security and our national defense strategy. This year, the college held the first ever Great Power Competition Conference and it was a tremendous success, drawing thought leaders from academia, politics, non-governmental organizations and the military from around the world.

Feeding Tampa Bay

In an effort to address the role of food insecurity on health and well-being, the University of South Florida launched its newest center, the Center for the Advancement of Food Security and Health Communities (CAFSHC). Through research, education and community efforts, the center is working with Feeding Tampa Bay among other partners to transform the conversation about food security and develop programs that facilitate social equality and a healthier Florida. By providing a meeting space, services and coordinated activities, the center will help foster the multi-disciplinary collaboration of faculty, students and partners interested in addressing and finding solutions to the crisis.

Humanities Institute Community Outreach Programs

In an effort advance its mission to address fundamental and longstanding questions about the human condition, the Humanities Institute (HI) has created several programs and events that aim to engage the Tampa Bay community in such important conversations. These initiatives include the Community Book Group – where literature lovers come together to discuss a selected socially-relevant book and share its impact and the Humanities & Hops event, which is hosted at local restaurants, brings together USF scholars from different disciplines to share how their research engages with a central theme.

In Spring 2020, HI also joined with Periphery Media (a non-profit arts organization) and The Portico (a non-profit organization dedicated to homelessness initiatives) to host a community art exhibition exploring “the concepts of home.” Hundreds of people attended the gallery opening at The Portico to view art exhibits by over thirty local artists. The artwork remained on display all spring.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Community Book Group and Humanities & Hops events will be held online for the upcoming semester.

Brownfield Project

Since late-2016, USF Anthropology Professor Christian Wells, along with graduate and undergraduate students, have been working in conjunction with the University Area Community Development Corporation (UACDC). The UACDC is a public/private partnership focused on the redevelopment and sustainability of at-risk areas surrounding the USF Tampa campus.

Much of the research focuses on the study and redevelopment of brownfield land – a key component of the UACDC’s revitalization efforts. Brownfields are former industrial or commercial sites currently vacant due to real or perceived environmental contamination. 

Through the team’s work, a once abandoned parcel of land in the area has now been transformed into Harvest Hope Park, a gathering site for the area featuring a multi-purpose sports field, fishing docks as well as a community center and garden. The grand opening event took place November 21, 2019. Following the grand opening of the park, additional grant funding was awarded, giving even more students the chance to work on this brownfield redevelopment project.

USF Water Institute

The USF Water Institute, which is part of the Department of Geosciences, brings together faculty, students and stakeholders to conduct transdisciplinary research, provide innovative educational experiences, and facilitate public outreach efforts that promote science-based solutions to local and global water challenges. This group has worked in partnership with several state and local organizations (City of Tampa, Florida Department of Agriculture, Florida Division of Forestry, Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, and more), as well as national organizations (U.S. Geological Survey, National Science Foundation, and more).

ISLAC Summer Diversity Training

This past summer, USF and a group of its affiliated faculty from CAS’s Institute for the Study of Latin America and the Caribbean (ISLAC) and the College of Education, as well as Hillsborough County Public Schools, offered a professional development seminar to the School District of Hillsborough County (SDHC) high school teachers in the field of Latin American Studies.

With an emphasis on the African Diaspora, teachers spent time learning new content, pedagogical strategies, and creating lesson plans for use in the district. During the seminar, ISLAC faculty also provided SDHC secondary teachers with content and instructional material, so they can effectively teach Latin American History and have more teaching resources at their disposal in order to attract more students to this elective course. 


The College of Arts and Sciences continues to be a major contributor to the university’s remarkably successful, Student Success initiative. The faculty and staff have fully embraced the challenges of providing a better student experience while maintaining a focus on meaningful educational outcomes.

As of July 2020, 32 CAS students have received National Scholarships, including Fulbright Fellowships, Goldwater Scholarships, Gilman International Scholarships, and National Science Foundation Fellowships.

Source: Office of National Scholars

Student Awardee Spotlight

Two Judy Genshaft Honors College students, Jack Edwards and Zach Withers, whom are both working towards degrees from the College of Arts and Sciences, were named 2020 Goldwater Scholars, chosen out of nearly 1,300 students nationally who were nominated through a highly selective process. The scholarship is the most prestigious undergraduate award in the country for science research and provides $7,500 for educational expenses and research support.


The College of Arts and Sciences is comprised of faculty at the top of their fields, with diverse sets of skills and backgrounds, who boast remarkable accomplishments. They are united not only in their excellence, but also in our singular mission to transform lives. 

Fulbright Honors

The University of South Florida is one of the top producers of Fulbright scholars in the United States for 2019-20, according to the U.S. Department of State and Chronicle of Higher Education. Of the nine Fulbright faculty scholars from USF, three are from the College of Arts & Sciences.

  • Meera Nanjundan – Associate Professor, Department of Cell Biology, Microbiology, and Molecular Biology
  • Thomas Hallock – Professor, Florida Studies Program
  • Benjamin Goldberg – Instructor, Department of Humanities and Cultural Studies

The faculty who receive Fulbright awards are given the opportunity to travel abroad, explore new perspectives, establish new international collaborations and potentially discover new breakthroughs that can have a global impact.

National Scientific Honors

In late 2019, three CAS faculty were named new fellows of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS). The honor is one of the most prestigious among academic researchers worldwide. AAAS is the world’s largest scientific society, recognizing research and scholarly excellence in fields ranging from engineering to health sciences.

  • Dr. Ivan Oleynik - For distinguished contributions to the field of computational materials science that led to predictions of new materials phenomena and behavior of matter at extreme conditions.

  • Dr. Lindsey “Les” N. Shaw - For distinguished advances in understanding mechanisms of pathogenesis in drug-resistant bacteria, particularly for defining hierarchical control of disease progression in MRSA and developing antibacterial agents.

  • Dr. Paul Elliott Spector - For distinguished contributions to industrial-organizational psychology and social science research methodology, particularly for pioneering research in counterproductive work behavior, survey design and measure development.

  • Dr. Lilia Woods - For distinguished contributions to condensed matter and materials physics, particularly for theory and predictions of thermoelectric transport mechanisms and dispersive interactions in novel materials.


Phi Beta Kappa

Phi Beta Kappa is the oldest and most respected undergraduate honor society for the liberal arts and sciences in the United States. Membership in Phi Beta Kappa is highly selective. Approximately 10% of American colleges and universities have a chapter of Phi Beta Kappa and within those schools, only 10% of students in the liberal arts and sciences are invited to join the society. The University of South Florida is one of the newest additions to this prestigious community, having been granted the Eta of Florida chapter of Phi Beta Kappa in 2019. Election to the USF chapter is based primarily on scholastic achievement and breadth of education.

"The awarding of this chapter is an affirmation of USF's commitment to the arts and sciences and exemplifies our dedication to academic excellence, advocacy for freedom of inquiry and expression, and the support for unfettered and civil discourse. These are values that reach to the very heart of American higher education, and our democracy." 
-USF Provost and Executive Vice President Ralph Wilcox

The College of Arts and Sciences at USF inducted its inaugural class of Phi Beta Kappa recipients in April of 2019, while the induction ceremony for the 2020 class of Phi Beta Kappa recipients was held digitally in May 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

PBK students


The College of Arts and Sciences boasts approximately 150,000 alumni – meaning CAS alumni account for 50% of all USF alumni – ~300,000 (USF Alumni).

CAS alumni have contributed their expertise and skills in countless job sectors and career paths. Take a look at just some of the roles and titles CAS alumni have held:

  • Astrophysicist
  • Author
  • Clinical psychologist
  • Astronomer
  • Actor
  • Miss America
  • Talk show host
  • Journalist
  • Poet
  • NBC News correspondent
  • Editor in Chief
  • Judge
  • President and CEO
  • Mayor
  • Florida Secretary of State

This extremely varied assortment of roles and titles is exactly what makes graduates of the College of Arts and Sciences so unique. A liberal arts degree from USF enables our graduates to be ANYTHING they want to be.

For more information about the University of South Florida, please visit USF Points of Pride.