University & College – Education Comparison

The term university appeared in Middle English between 1250 CE and 1300 CE. It is older than the term college, which appeared 50 to 150 years later, but both of these words have Latin origins. College comes from the word collegium which means club, community, or society; and university the word universitas, which means guild, society, or corporation.

In the US the name college and university are frequently interchangeable and simply refer to a school at the tertiary level. So what are the differences between the two? That’s what we’ll be exploring in this episode of the Infographics Show: College vs. 물리치료학과

University. Though college and university are used interchangeably, there are differences between them. A university is typically a school that offers full undergraduate and graduate programs, while colleges generally offer more narrow programs and may have no graduate studies at all.

But actually, there are no official designations for these terms, and colleges and universities can call themselves whatever they want to. And the terminology can have different meanings depending on what country you are in.

In the United Kingdom, a university is an institution that awards degrees, while colleges are seen as pre-university education institutes as they prepare students to earn degrees later. But again it’s not set in stone and as a general rule; English speakers use the word university as the generic term for higher education.

The same applies in Canada and Australia, where university is used more often than college as the generic term. But if we’re looking at the US how can we better define these terms, university and college? Let’s start by looking more closely at what a college is.

Colleges are usually smaller institutions that emphasize undergraduate education. One example of a type of college is a liberal arts college that offers students an education in a broad range of academic areas as opposed to having them specialize early in one particular subject.

Liberal arts colleges are uncommon outside the United States; so prospective international students aren’t always familiar with them. Another type of school in the U.S. with a college in its name is a community college.

These are two-year schools that grant associate degrees and career-related certificates. Most colleges offer bachelor’s degrees, and some colleges also have associate degrees. Some students begin their education at a community college and then transfer to a four-year college or university to complete a bachelor’s degree.

So if that’s a college, how does a university differ? Many education institutions with universities in their name are larger than colleges and offer a variety of both undergraduate and graduate degree programs.

Universities are also highly committed to producing research whereas it’s much more rare for college students to be a part of any substantial research. But not all universities are big, says Chelsea Keeney, assistant director of international student recruitment at the University of Minnesota.

Some are relatively small, such as Marymount California University, which had a total enrollment of 985 students in the fall of 2016, according to US News data. And though many universities are public, some are also private.

One example is the Ivy League school, Princeton University. To make things even more confusing, some large universities are made up of smaller departments called colleges. Each of these colleges has a specific academic focus, such as business, social work, or engineering.

One of the clear differences seems to be that universities are often, though not always, larger than colleges. Taking data from the National Center for Education Statistics College Navigator, let’s do some head-to-head comparisons on the number of students at these institutions, starting with colleges.

McDaniel College (Westminster, MD), 3,003 total, 1,667 undergraduate; St Olaf College (Northfield, MN), 3,046, all undergraduate; Ursinus College (Collegeville, PA), 1,643, all undergraduate; Emerson College (Boston, MA) 4,479 total, 3,808 undergraduate.

And as for universities…Ohio State University (Main Campus only, Columbus, OH), 58,663 total, 45,289 undergraduate; University of South Florida (Main Campus only, Tampa, FL) 42,067 total, 31,111 undergraduate; Middle Tennessee State University (Murfreesboro, TN), 22,511 total, 20,140 undergraduate; Rutgers University (New Brunswick Campus) (New Brunswick, NJ), 49,428 total, 35,484 undergraduate.

Ok, so even the biggest colleges are no match for the enrollment numbers that large universities have. For example, Ohio State has ten times more undergraduate students than Emerson, the biggest college on the list.

And the University of Central Florida has a staggering 54,662 undergraduate students, which is more than four times as many as the combined total student numbers of the four colleges listed above. To look at staffing at these education institutes, the head of a university is called the Vice-Chancellor.

For a college, it’s a Dean or Director. Professors teach at both colleges and universities and the level of their pay varies depending on several factors, such as the size and location of the college or university, the subject taught, and whether the institution is private or public.

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that the average salary of a Professor was $75,430 annually as of May 2016. The lowest-paid 10% of all Professors earn less than $38,290, while the highest-paid 10% are paid more than $168,270 per year.

The American Association of University Professors reports that the salary of full-time professors at private colleges and universities averages $105,323, as compared to $103,019 for those teaching at public colleges and universities.

And Professors working at four-year institutions, both private and public, earn higher salaries than those employed at two-year schools. Finally, let’s take a look at a college and university that are on each other’s doorsteps; Harvard College and Harvard University.

How do they compare? Harvard College is actually the original Harvard. It was founded in 1636 as the oldest institution of higher education in the United States. There are about 6,500 undergraduate students at Harvard College with nearly equal numbers of men and women.

But the college is part of Harvard University, which comprises 10 other graduate and professional schools. Although part of the same institution, each of these schools is run independently. So they maintain independent admissions offices, teaching, and research faculties.

So the difference between college and university is far from clear. In some cases, they are part of the same institution but other times completely independent, and typically a university is larger than a college and its professors are paid more.

Are there other differences worth mentioning, that we didn’t highlight? Let us know in the comments Also be sure to check out our other video, The Most Dangerous Schools In America. Thanks for watching and as always don’t forget to like, share and subscribe.