What is the Difference Between a College and a University?

People studies in colleges and universities but fail to answer one simple question – what is the difference between a college and a university. If you are confused then you should first read this article to know the exact answer because this will help you in future when the same question will be asked by your kids.

The difference of a college and a university differs and each of them plays a very important role in one’s live. Most often, you might have heard in US, colleges are referred as schools that provide 4-year advanced education. On the other hand, an institution offers more than a bachelor’s degree. University on the other hand is a school that provides postgraduate programs that can be counted in masters or doctoral degree. All these are different when it comes to United States, but in other countries, colleges refer to as various levels of education which also include secondary schools.

Traditional Colleges

Earlier, college is considered as a part of university. In fact, large universities can split into colleges or schools to provide degrees to students. Deans or other heads of the departments handle such set ups. However, university holds the right to grant degrees. There are many large universities that provide advanced programs including masters and doctoral degrees.

Varied School Levels

College and university both may look synonymous, but are two different things. They even grant greater stature to an institution of higher learning. Several areas carry college and university as public, multiple and degree granting systems. This also incorporates numerous community or junior colleges and technical or art schools, all come under same level. In this segment, universities act as schools that provide higher degrees with more than two or four year program.

What is the Difference Between a College and a University

Early Context

Earlier, college was used in the United States as institutions were established for higher education and they were quite small. They failed to approach the magnificence of European (especially English), universities like Oxford. Men can only attend early schools like in Harvard College, but were not eligible for advanced doctorate degrees unless they go abroad for education.

Later Harvard College and other colleges grew; they changed some of their names to universities for offering advanced degrees and other smaller schools. There are colleges that represent oldest set up in US and still bear old name even after expansion and eligibility of providing advanced degrees. This created confusions in United States as the two terms turned out similar.

Some Countries have Alternative Uses

There are several countries that are still not eligible to provide higher learning. However, regions such as South Africa, Hong Kong, New Zealand, and Ireland frequently use the term college to name a secondary school. In UK, there are colleges that are considered as part of a larger university.

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