A college (Latin: collegium) is an educational institution or a constituent part of an educational institution. Usage varies in English-speaking nations. A college may be a degree-awarding tertiary educational institution, an institution within a federal university, an institution offering vocational education, or a secondary school.
In the United States and Ireland, "college" and "university" are loosely interchangeable, whereas in the United Kingdom, Australia, Canada and other Commonwealth countries, "college" may refer to a high school, a college of further education, a training institution that awards trade qualifications, or a constituent school within a university.
- 1 Etymology
- 2 Other uses
- 3 United Kingdom
- 4 United States
- 5 Other English speaking nations
- 6 See also
- 7 References
- 8 External links
In some English-speaking countries there are secondary schools that have "college" as part of their name.
As well as an educational institution, the term can also refer, following its etymology, to any formal group of colleagues set up under statute or regulation; often under a Royal Charter. Examples are an electoral college, the College of Arms, a college of canons, and the College of Cardinals. Other collegiate bodies include professional associations such as the Royal College of Nursing and the Royal College of Physicians.
In the United Kingdom, usage of the word "college" remains the loosest, encompassing a range of institutions:
A further education college (FE college) is an institution between secondary school and university. It usually offers a wide range of vocational courses and adult education. Most students are aged 16-18, but there many mature students taking part in adult education, as well as some 14-16 year olds sent from their schools on a part-time basis for vocational study that the schools are not equipped to deliver. Most FE colleges offer A Levels, often in a sixth-form centre. Some colleges have higher education provision, normally accredited by a university in the region.
Sixth form colleges teach students aged 16 to 18, mainly offering A Levels.
In higher education a college is usually part of a university; such colleges do not award degrees. Universities with constituent colleges are collegiate universities. A college may also be a grouping of faculties or departments, notably in the University of Edinburgh, the University of Birmingham and the University of Leicester.
In the University of Oxford, University of Cambridge, and University of the Arts London (and formerly in the University of Wales), colleges provide accommodation, tuition and other facilities to students of the university: the university conducts examinations and grants degrees. However the colleges of the University of London are now de facto universities in their own right.
In the other collegiate universities, including the University of Lancaster, University of York, University of Kent, University of St Andrews and University of Durham, the colleges only provide accommodation and pastoral care.
A university college is an independent institution which prepares students to sit as external candidates at other universities or has the authority to run courses that lead to the degrees of those universities. It may also be an independent higher education institution with the power to award degrees, but does not have university status, although it is usually working towards it.
Historically, some universities originated as university colleges. For example, the University of Newcastle was originally a university college of the University of Durham.
 In the United States liberal arts colleges provide education primarily at the undergraduate level. The term can also refer to schools which offer a vocational, business, engineering, or technical curriculum. The term can either refer to a self-contained institution that has no graduate studies or to the undergraduate school of a full university (i.e., that also has a separate graduate faculty).
In popular usage, the word "college" is the generic term for any post-secondary undergraduate education. Americans go to "college" after high school, regardless of whether the specific institution is formally a college or a university. The word and its derivatives are the standard terms used to describe the institutions and experiences associated with American post-secondary undergraduate education.
Colleges vary in terms of size, degree, and length of stay. Two-year colleges, also known as junior or community colleges, usually offer an associate's degree, and four-year colleges usually offer a bachelor's degree. Often, these are entirely undergraduate institutions, although some have graduate school programs.
Four-year institutions in the U.S. that emphasize a liberal arts curriculum are known as liberal arts colleges; an example of a traditional liberal arts college is pictured to the right, Saint Anselm College. These schools have traditionally emphasized instruction at the undergraduate level, although advanced research may still occur at these institutions.
While there is no national standard in the United States, the term "university" primarily designates institutions that provide undergraduate and graduate education. A university typically has as its core and its largest internal division an undergraduate college teaching a liberal arts curriculum, also culminating in a bachelor's degree. What often distinguishes a university is having, in addition, one or more graduate schools engaged in both teaching graduate classes and engaged in research. Often these would be called a School of Law or School of Medicine, (but may also be called a college of law, or a faculty of law, and so on.).
On the other hand, public and private universities are typically more research-oriented institutions which service both an undergraduate and graduate student body. Graduate programs may grant a Master of Arts or a variety of master's degrees, including MBAs and MFAs. The doctorate is the highest academic degree in the United States, and the PhD is given in many fields. Medical schools award MDs or DOs while law schools award the JD. The extent to which graduate programs are integrated with undergraduate studies varies by university and by program. These institutions usually have a large student body. Introductory seminars on the undergraduate level can have a class size in the hundreds in some of the larger schools. Compared to liberal arts colleges, the interaction between students and full-time faculty can be limited and a higher number of undergraduate classes may be taught by graduate student TAs.
Some institutions, such as Dartmouth College and The College of William & Mary, have retained the term "college" in their names for historical reasons or because of an undergraduate focus, although they offer higher degrees. Also, many colleges may offer a Master of Arts degree in some field without a full curriculum leading to a PhD. Some schools that were branded as a "College" have changed their names to "University" (Robert Morris University and Whitworth University being relatively recent examples), but often have to receive state approval before doing so, even if they are private schools. In one unique case, Boston College and Boston University, both located in Boston, Massachusetts, are completely separate institutions altogether. Another unique case is that of Vincennes University in Indiana, which is styled and chartered as a "university" even though almost all of its academic programs lead only to (two-year) associate degrees.
Usage of the terms varies among the states, each of which operates its own institutions and licenses private ones. In 1996 for example, Georgia changed all of its four-year institutions previously designated as colleges to universities, and all of its vocational technology schools to technical colleges. (Previously, only four-year research institutions were called "universities"; the Georgia Institute of Technology, also a four-year research institution, has never been styled as a "college" or "university".) Other states have changed the names of individual colleges, many having started as a teachers' college or vocational school (such as an A&M — an agricultural and mechanical school) that ended up as a full-fledged state university.
"University" and "college" do not exhaust all possible titles for an American institution of higher education. Other options include "institute" (Massachusetts Institute of Technology), "academy" (United States Military Academy), "union" (Cooper Union), "conservatory" (New England Conservatory), and "school" (Juilliard School), although these titles are only for their official names. In colloquial use, they are still referred to as "college" when referring to their undergraduate studies.
The term college is also, as in the United Kingdom, used for a constituent semi-autonomous part of a larger university but generally organized on academic rather than residential lines. For example, at many institutions, the undergraduate portion of the university can be briefly referred to as the college (such as The College of the University of Chicago, Harvard College at Harvard, or Columbia College at Columbia) while at others, such as the University of California, Berkeley, each of the faculties may be called a "college" (the "college of engineering", the "college of nursing", and so forth). There exist other variants for historical reasons; for example, Duke University, which was called Trinity College until the 1920s, still calls its main undergraduate subdivision Trinity College of Arts and Sciences. Some American universities, such as Princeton, Rice, and Yale do have residential colleges along the lines of Oxford or Cambridge, but the name was clearly adopted in homage to the British system. Unlike the Oxbridge colleges, these residential colleges are not autonomous legal entities nor are they typically much involved in education itself, being primarily concerned with room, board, and social life. At the University of Michigan, University of California, San Diego and the University of California, Santa Cruz, however, each of the residential colleges do teach its own core writing courses and has its own distinctive set of graduation requirements.
The origin of the U.S. usage
The founders of the first institutions of higher education in the United States were graduates of the University of Oxford and the University of Cambridge. The small institutions they founded would not have seemed to them like universities — they were tiny and did not offer the higher degrees in medicine and theology. Furthermore, they were not composed of several small colleges. Instead, the new institutions felt like the Oxford and Cambridge colleges they were used to — small communities, housing and feeding their students, with instruction from residential tutors (as in the United Kingdom, described above). When the first students came to be graduated, these "colleges" assumed the right to confer degrees upon them, usually with authority—for example, The College of William & Mary has a Royal Charter from the British monarchy allowing it to confer degrees while Dartmouth College has a charter permitting it to award degrees "as are usually granted in either of the universities, or any other college in our realm of Great Britain."
The leaders of Harvard College (which granted America's first degrees in 1642) might have thought of their college as the first of many residential colleges which would grow up into a New Cambridge university. However, over time, few new colleges were founded there, and Harvard grew and added higher faculties. Eventually, it changed its title to university, but the term "college" had stuck and "colleges" have arisen across the United States.
In U.S. usage, the word "college" embodies not only a particular type of school, but has historically been used to refer to the general concept of higher education when it is not necessary to specify a school, as in "going to college" or "college savings accounts" offered by banks.
The Morrill Land-Grant Act
In addition to private colleges and universities, the U.S. also has a system of government funded, public universities. Many were founded under the Morrill Land-Grant Colleges Act of 1862. When the Morrill Act was established, the original colleges on the east coast, primarily those of the Ivy League and several religious based colleges, were the only form of higher education available, and were often confined only to the children of the elite. A movement had arisen to bring a form of more practical higher education to the masses, as "…many politicians and educators wanted to make it possible for all young Americans to receive some sort of advanced education." The Morrill Act "…made it possible for the new western states to establish colleges for the citizens." Its goal was to make higher education more easily accessible to the citizenry of the country, specifically to improve agricultural systems by providing training and scholarship in the production and sales of agricultural products, and to provide formal education in "…agriculture, home economics, mechanical arts, and other professions that seemed practical at the time."
The act was eventually extended to allow all states that had remained with the Union during the American Civil War, and eventually all states, to establish such institutions. Most of the colleges established under the Morrill Act have since become full universities, and some are among the elite of the world.
Numerous professional bodies in the U.S. also use the appellation "College". Examples in medicine include the American College of Physicians, the American College of Emergency Physicians, and the American College of Surgeons, in osteopathic medicine the American College of Osteopathic Family Physicians and the American College of Osteopathic Internists, and in dentistry the American College of Dentists and the American College of Prosthodontists.
Other English speaking nations
Influenced by their origins in the British Empire, by contact with and sometimes imitation of U.S. academia, and even by modern American pop culture, the rest of the English-speaking world seems to have adopted a mix of the U.S. and British practices.
In Australia, the term "college" has several different, and unrelated, meanings.
- It can refer to an institution of tertiary education that is smaller than a university, run independently or as part of a university. Following a reform in the 1980s many of the formerly independent colleges now belong to a larger university.
- A notable exception is Campion College which operates in Western Sydney, following the American Liberal Arts College Tradition.
- The term can also be used to refer to parts of a university. In that context there are residential colleges which provide residence for students, both undergraduate and postgraduate, called university colleges, as in the United Kingdom. These colleges often provide additional tutorial assistance, and some host theological study. Many colleges have strong traditions and rituals, so are a combination of dormitory style accommodation and fraternity or sorority culture.
- Less commonly college can refer to a superfaculty organizational unit, as in the ANU Colleges.
- Most TAFEs, which offer certificate and diploma vocational courses, are styled "TAFE colleges" or "Colleges of TAFE". Some private institutions offering TAFE certificates, university bridging courses, or theological courses of study (i.e. Bible colleges) style themselves "Institutes" or "Colleges".
- Many private as well as state high schools that provide secondary education are called "colleges" in Australia. As secondary education is managed by state authorities rather than nationally, the term's use varies on a regional basis.
- Some professional and registration bodies, especially in the medical arena, which are not educational bodies style themselves a "College" or "Institute": for example, the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners. In some cases, they have legal status and members of a profession must obtain and maintain College membership to be allowed to practice.
In Tasmania and the Australian Capital Territory, "college" refers to the final two years of high school (years 11 and 12), and the institutions which provide this. In this context, "college" is a system independent of the other years of high school. Here, the expression is a shorter version of matriculation college.
In the state of Victoria, most public schools providing secondary education are known as "high school", though some are referred to as secondary colleges.
In Western Australia, South Australia and the Northern Territory, "College" is used in the name of all state high schools built since the late 1990s, and in some older ones which have been renamed since that time. The term for the sector, however, is still "high schools", or in official Government usage, "schools with secondary students". Many private or independent schools, including many who accept K-7 students, are styled "Colleges".
In New South Wales, some high schools, especially multi-campus schools resulting from mergers, are known as "secondary colleges".
In Queensland, the term college is used by some private secondary institutions, although some newer schools which accept primary and high school students are being styled "State College", whilst schools which offer only secondary education are styled "State High School".
In Canada, the term "college" usually refers to a community college or a technical, applied arts, or applied science school. These are post-secondary institutions granting certificates, diplomas, associate's degree, and bachelor's degrees. In Quebec, the term is seldom used, the equivalent being CEGEP (College d'enseignement général et professionnel, "college of general and professional education"), a form of post-secondary education specific to the Quebec education system that is required to continue onto university (unless one applies as a 'mature' student, meaning 21 years of age or over, and out of the educational system for at least 2 years), or to learn a trade. In Ontario, British Columbia and Alberta, there are also institutions which are designated university colleges, as they only grant undergraduate degrees. This is to differentiate between universities, which have both undergraduate and graduate programs and those that do not. In contrast to usage in the United States, there is a strong distinction between "college" and "university" in Canada. In conversation, one specifically would say either "They are going to university" (i.e., studying for a three- or four-year degree at a university) or "They are going to college" (suggesting a technical or career college).
The Royal Military College of Canada, a full-fledged degree-granting university, does not follow the naming convention used by the rest of the country, nor does its sister school Royal Military College Saint-Jean or the now closed Royal Roads Military College.
The term "college" also applies to distinct entities within a university (usually referred to as "federated colleges" or "affiliated colleges"),to the residential colleges in the United Kingdom. These colleges act independently, but in affiliation or federation with the university that actually grants the degrees. For example, Trinity College was once an independent institution, but later became federated with the University of Toronto, and is now one of its residential colleges. In the case of Memorial University of Newfoundland, located in St. John's, the Corner Brook campus is called Sir Wilfred Grenfell College. Occasionally, "college" refers to a subject specific faculty within a university that, while distinct, are neither federated nor affiliated—College of Education, College of Medicine, College of Dentistry, College of Biological Science among others.
There are also universities referred to as art colleges, empowered to grant academic degrees of BFA, Bdes, MFA, Mdes and sometimes collaborative PhD degrees. Some of them have "university" in their name (NSCAD University, OCAD University and Emily Carr University of Art and Design)and others do not.
In a number of Canadian cities, many government-run secondary schools are called "collegiates" or "collegiate institutes" (C.I.), a complicated form of the word "college" which avoids the usual "post-secondary" connotation. This is because these secondary schools have traditionally focused on academic, rather than vocational, subjects and ability levels (for example, collegiates offered Latin while vocational schools offered technical courses). Some private secondary schools in Toronto (such as Upper Canada College) choose to use the word "college" in their names nevertheless. Some secondary schools elsewhere in the country, particularly ones within the separate school system, may also use the word "college" or "collegiate" in their names.
A small number of the oldest professional associations use "college" in the name in the British sense, such as the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada.
A new online and distance education ( e-learning ) use "college" in the name in the British sense, for example : Canada Capstone College.
One use of the term "college" in the American sense is by the Canadian Football League (CFL), which calls its annual entry draft the Canadian College Draft. The draft is restricted to players who qualify under CFL rules as "non-imports"—essentially, players who were raised in Canada (see the main CFL article for a more detailed definition). Because a player's designation as "non-import" is not affected by where he plays post-secondary football, the category includes former players at U.S. college football programs ("universities" in the Canadian sense) as well as CIS football programs at Canadian universities.
In Hong Kong, the term "college" has a range of meanings, as in the British case. In the first case it can refer to a secondary school. It is also used by tertiary institutions as either part of their names or to refer to a constituent part of the university, such as the colleges in the collegiate Chinese University of Hong Kong; or to a residence hall of a university, such as St. John's College, University of Hong Kong. The term college is also used in the names of professional bodies.
In India, the term "college" is commonly reserved for institutions that offer degrees at year 12 ("Junior College", similar to American high schools), and those that offer the bachelor's degree. Generally, colleges are located in different parts of a state and all of them are affiliated to a regional university. The colleges offer programmes under that university. Examinations are conducted by the university at the same time for all colleges under its affiliation. There are several hundred universities and each university has affiliated colleges.
The first liberal arts and sciences college in India was C. M. S. College Kottayam, Kerala (estd. 1817), and the Presidency College, Kolkata (estd. 1817), initially known as Hindu College. The first commerce and economics college in India was Sydenham College, Mumbai, which was established in 1913. The first Missionary institution to impart Western style education in India was the Scottish Church College, Calcutta (estd. 1830). The first modern university in India was the University of Calcutta (estd. January 1857). The first research institution for the study of the social sciences and ushering the spirit of Oriental research was the Asiatic Society, (estd. 1784). The first college for the study of Christian theology and ecumenical enquiry was Serampore College (estd. 1818).
The Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs), Indian Statistical Institute, Indian Institute of Management, Indian Institute of Science and Tata Institute of Fundamental Research are examples of autonomous institutions in India that award their own degrees.
Republic of Ireland
In Ireland the term "college" is usually limited to an institution of tertiary education, but the term is quite generic within this field. University students often say they attend "college" rather than "university", with the term college being more popular in wider society. This is possibly because, until 1989, no university provided teaching or research directly. Instead, these were offered by a constituent college of the university, in the case of the National University of Ireland and University of Dublin — or at least in strict legal terms. There are many secondary education institutions that use the word college. Many secondary schools, formerly known as technical colleges, were renamed as community colleges. These are secondary institutions in contrast to the American community college.
The state's only ancient university, the University of Dublin, is really English in its origins and, until recently, its outlook. Created during the reign of Elizabeth I, it is modelled on the universities of Cambridge and Oxford. However, only one constituent college was ever founded, hence the curious position of Trinity College, Dublin today. For a time, degrees in Dublin Institute of Technology were also conferred by the university. However, that institution now has its own degree awarding powers and is considering applying for full university status.
Among more modern foundations, the National University of Ireland, founded in 1908, consisted of constituent colleges and recognised colleges until 1997. The former are now referred to as constituent universities — institutions that are essentially universities in their own right. The National University can trace its existence back to 1850 and the creation of the Queen's University of Ireland and the creation of the Catholic University of Ireland in 1854. From 1880, the degree awarding roles of these two universities was taken over by the Royal University of Ireland, which remained until the creation of the National University in 1908 and the Queen's University Belfast.
The state's two new universities Dublin City University and University of Limerick were initially National Institute for Higher Education institutions. These institutions offered university level academic degrees and research from the start of their existence and were awarded university status in 1989 in recognition of this. These two universities now follow the general trend of universities having associated colleges offering their degrees.
Third level technical education in the state has been carried out in the Institutes of Technology, which were established from the 1970s as Regional Technical Colleges. These institutions have delegated authority which entitles them to give degrees and diplomas from the Higher Education and Training Awards Council in their own name.
Other types of college include Colleges of Education, such as National College of Ireland. These are specialist institutions, often linked to a university, which provide both undergraduate and postgraduate academic degrees for people who want to train as teachers.
In New Zealand the word "college" normally refers to a secondary school for ages 13 to 17. In contrast, most older schools of the same type are "high schools". Also, single-sex schools are more likely to be "Someplace Boys/Girls High School", but there are also many coeducational "high schools". The difference between "high schools" and "colleges" is usually only one of terminology. However, many private or integrated schools are known as "such and such college". There does seem to be a geographical difference in terminology: "colleges" most frequently appear in the North Island, whereas "high schools" are more common in the South Island.
The constituent colleges of the former University of New Zealand (such as Canterbury University College) have become independent universities. Some halls of residence associated with New Zealand universities retain the name of "college", particularly at the University of Otago (which although brought under the umbrella of the University of New Zealand, already possessed university status and degree awarding powers). The institutions formerly known as "Teacher-training colleges" now style themselves "College of education".
Some universities, such as the University of Canterbury, have divided their University into constituent administrative "Colleges" - the College of Arts containing departments that teach Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences, College of Science containing Science departments, and so on. This is largely modelled on the Cambridge model, discussed above.
Like the United Kingdom some professional bodies in New Zealand style themselves as "colleges", for example, the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons, the R.A.C. of Physicians.
In the Philippines, colleges usually refer to institutions of learning that grant degrees but whose scholastic fields are not as diverse as that of a university (University of Santo Tomas, University of the Philippines, Ateneo De Manila University, De La Salle University, Far Eastern University), such as the San Beda College which specializes in law and the Mapua Institute of Technology which specializes in engineering, or to component units within universities that do not grant degrees but rather facilitate the instruction of a particular field, such as a College of Science and College of Engineering, among many other colleges of the University of the Philippines.
A state college may not have the word "college" on its name, but may have several component colleges, or departments. Thus, the Eulogio Amang Rodriguez Institute of Science and Technology is a state college by classification.
Usually, the term "college" is also thought of as a hierarchical demarcation between the term "university", and quite a number of colleges seek to be recognized as universities as a sign of improvement in academic standards (Colegio de San Juan de Letran, San Beda College), and increase in the diversity of the offered degree programs (called "courses"). For private colleges, this may be done through a survey and evaluation by the Commission on Higher Education and accrediting organizations, as was the case of Urios College which is now the Fr. Saturnino Urios University. For state colleges, it is usually done by a legislation by the Congress or Senate. In common usage, "going to college" simply means attending school for an undergraduate degree, whether it's from an institution recognized as a college or a university.
The term "college" in Singapore is generally only used for pre-university educational institutions called "Junior Colleges", which provide the final two years of secondary education (equivalent to sixth form in British terms or grades 11-12 in the American system). Since 1 January 2005, the term also refers to the three campuses of the Institute of Technical Education with the introduction of the "collegiate system", in which the three institutions are called ITE College East, ITE College Central, and ITE College West respectively.
The term "university" is used to describe higher-education institutions offering locally conferred degrees. Institutions offering diplomas are called "polytechnics", while other institutions are often referred to as "institutes" and so forth.
In Sri Lanka the word "college" (known as Vidyalaya in Sinhala) normally refers to a secondary school, which usually signifies above the 5th standard. During the British colonial period a limited number of exclusive secondary schools were established based on English public school model (Royal College Colombo, S. Thomas' College, Mount Lavinia, Trinity College, Kandy) these along with several Catholic schools (St. Joseph's College, Colombo, St Anthony's College, Kandy) traditionally carry their name as colleges. Following the start of free education in 1931 large group of central colleges were established to educate the rural masses. Since Sri Lanka gained Independence in 1948, many schools that have been established have been named as "college".
There are several professional and vocational institutions that offer post-secondary education without granting degrees that are referred to as "colleges". This includes the Sri Lanka Law College, the many Technical Colleges and Teaching Colleges.
In South Africa, some secondary schools, especially private schools on the English public school model, have "college" in their title. Thus no less than six of South Africa's Elite Seven high schools call themselves "college" and fit this description. A typical example of this category would be St John's College.
Private schools that specialize in improving children's marks through intensive focus on examination needs are informally called "cram-colleges".
Although the term "college" is hardly used in any context at any university in South Africa, some non-university tertiary institutions call themselves colleges. These include teacher training colleges, business colleges and wildlife management colleges.
- College bullying
- ^ http://dictionary.cambridge.org/dictionary/british/college_1
- ^ a b c Lightcap, Brad. ND.edu The Morrill Act of 1862
- ^ "A Land-Grant Institution". Dafvm.msstate.edu. 2009-08-11. http://www.dafvm.msstate.edu/laws/history.html. Retrieved 2009-09-14.
- ^ "College of Biological Science | University of Guelph". Uoguelph.ca. http://www.uoguelph.ca/cbs/. Retrieved 2010-06-19.
- ^ Private Elementary and Secondary Schools search form on the Ministry of Education of Ontario web site—enter "college" in the "name contains" field and check the "secondary" checkbox
- ^ Find a School or School Board search form on the Ministry of Education of Ontario web site—click "Secondary" and "Separate"
Schools by educational stage by funding / eligibility by style of education by scope
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