What Is The Difference Between Colleges And Universities?

Are you wondering the difference between colleges and universities? You’re at the right page. This article features all you need to know about colleges and universities. Read on!

Understanding What Makes A College

A college is an educational institution or a part of an institution. A college may be a degree-awarding institution, a part of a higher-education or federal university, an institution that offers vocational education, or a secondary-school.

In most countries, a college may be a high-school or secondary-school, a college of further-education, a training institution that awards qualifications on trades, an institution that provides higher-education but do not have university status (mostly without its own degree awarding powers), or a constituent part of a university.

In the U.S, a college may offer undergraduate programs either as a self-standing institution or as the undergraduate program of a university.

A college may be a residential college of a university or a community college, referring to public higher-education institutions that aspire to provide an affordable and accessible education, usually limited to two years associate degrees.

The word “college” is frequently used as a synonym for a university in the US. A college in some countries provides secondary-education such as France, Belgium, and Switzerland. However, the Collège de France is a reputable advanced research institute in Paris.

Now take a look at the the major differences between colleges and universities:

How College Is Defined In Higher Education

Within higher-education, the term “college” can be used to refer to:

  • A component of a collegiate university, for example Cambridge, King’s college or a federal university.
  • A liberal arts college, a self-standing institution of higher education concentrating on undergraduate education, such as Amherst College or Williams College.
  • A liberal arts division of a university whose undergraduate-program does not actually follow a liberal arts model, such as the Yuanpei College at Peking University.
  • An institute which provides specialized training, such as a college of further-education, for example Belfast Metropolitan College, a teacher–training college, or an art college.
  • In the U.S, college is occasionally but rarely a synonym for a research-university, such as Dartmouth College, one of the 8th universities in the Ivy League.

How College Is Defined Outside The US

A sixth form college or college of further-education is an educational institution in England, Northern Ireland, Wales, Belize, the Caribbean, Malta, Norway, Brunei, or Southern Africa, etc.

Students within the age of 16-19 typically study for advanced school-level qualifications, such as A-levels, HND, BTEC or its equivalent and the International Baccalaureate Diploma, or school-level qualifications such as GCSEs.

In Singapore and India, this is referred to as a junior-college. The civil government of the city of Paris uses the phrase “sixth form college” as the English name for a lycée (public secondary-school).

In some part of the world, secondary-schools may be called “colleges” or have “college” as part of their title.

In Australia the term “college” is applied to any private or non-governmental primary and, especially, secondary-school as distinct from a state school. Cranbrook School, Melbourne Grammar School, Sydney and The King’s School, Parramatta are considered colleges.

There has also been a recent deliberation to create or rename government secondary-schools as “colleges”. Some high-schools in the state of Victoria are referred to as secondary-colleges, although the pre-eminent government secondary-school for boys in Melbourne is still named Melbourne High School.

In South Australia, Western Australia and the Northern Territory, “college” is used in the name of all state high-schools built since the late 1990s, and also some older ones. In New South Wales, some high-schools, especially multi-campus schools resulting from mergers, are referred to as “secondary-colleges”.

Some newer schools in Queensland that accept primary and high-school students are referred to as state college, but state schools that offers only secondary-education are referred to as “State High School”.

In the Australian Capital Territory and Tasmania, “college” refers to the final two-year of high school (year 11 & 12), and the institutions which provide this. In this context, “college” is a self-standing system.

In New Zealand the word “college” usually refers to a secondary-school for teenagers (13-17 years old) and “college” appears as part of the name especially of integrated or private schools. “Colleges” usually emerge in the North Island, whereas “high-schools” are more common in the South Island.

Let’s see more of the difference between colleges and universities.

Understanding What Makes A University

A university is an institution of tertiary-education and research which awards academic degrees in different academic disciplines. Universities usually offer both undergraduate and postgraduate programs in different schools or faculties of learning.

In modern usage the term “university” means “An institution of higher-education that offers tuition in mainly non-vocational courses and normally have the power to confer degrees,” with the earlier emphasis on its co-op organization considered as applying historically to Middle-aged universities.

The first universities were created by Catholic Church monks in Europe. The University of Bologna (Università di Bologna), established in 1088, is the first university in the sense of:

  • Being a high degree awarding institute.
  • Having independence from the ecclesiastic schools, although lead by both clergy and non-clergy.
  • Using the word universitas (which was acquired at its foundation).
  • Issuing secular and non-secular degrees: grammar, logic, theology, rhetoric, canon law, notarial law.

Each university is organized differently, almost all universities have a board of trustees; a president, rector or chancellor; at least one vice president, vice-chancellor, or vice-rector; and deans of various faculties. Universities are normally divided into a number of academic departments, faculties or schools.

Public university systems are mostly ruled by government run higher education board. They review budget proposals and financial reports and then allocate funds for each university in the system. They also approve new programs of instruction and make changes or cancel in existing programs.

Additionally, they plan for the further coordinated growth and development of various universities in the state or country. However, many public universities in different part of the world have a considerable degree of research, financial and pedagogical sovereignty.

Private universities are funded privately and generally have wider independence from state policies. However, they may have less independence from business corporations, this depends on the source of their fund.

Final Words On The Difference Between Colleges And Universities

Colleges are frequently smaller institutions that focuses on undergraduate education in a wide range of academic areas. Universities are usually larger institutions that offer a variety of both undergraduate and graduate degree programs

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