A college (Latin: collegium) is an educational institution or a constituent part of one. Usage of the word college varies in English-speaking nations. A college may be a degree-awarding tertiary educational institution, a part of a collegiate university, or an institution offering vocational education.
In the United States, "college" formally refers to a constituent part of a university, although in Ireland and in some cases in the US, "college" and "university" are interchangeable, whereas in Ireland, the UK, New Zealand, Australia, Canada and other former and present Commonwealth nations, "college" may refer to a secondary or high school, a college of further education, a training institution that awards trade qualifications, or a constituent part of a university. (See this comparison of British and American English educational terminology for further information.)
- 1 Etymology
- 2 Australia
- 3 Canada
- 4 Georgia
- 5 Hong Kong
- 6 India
- 7 Ireland
- 8 Israel
- 9 New Zealand
- 10 Philippines
- 11 Singapore
- 12 South Africa
- 13 Sri Lanka
- 14 United Kingdom
- 15 United States
- 16 Secondary schools
- 17 Other uses
- 18 See also
- 19 References
In Australia a college may be 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.
Referring to parts of a university, there are residential colleges which provide residence for students, both undergraduate and postgraduate, called university colleges. 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 the term college can refer to a superfaculty organizational unit, as in the ANU Colleges.
Most technical and further education institutions (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".
In Tasmania the term is also used to describe a secondary school that only teaches the final two years of high school (years 11 and 12), e.g. Hellyer College and Hobart College. Throughout Australia many private secondary schools are called colleges.
In Canada, the term "college" usually refers to a technical, applied arts, applied science school or community college. These are post-secondary institutions granting certificates, diplomas, associate's degree, and bachelor's degrees. In Quebec, the term is seldom used; the French acronym for public colleges, CEGEP (College d'enseignement général et professionnel, "college of general and professional education"), is colloquially, yet incorrectly, used as an umbrella term to refer to all collegiate level institutions specific to the Quebec education system, a step 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 (though it remains a degree granting institution through its Faculty of Divinity). 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.
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.
International Association of "Tourists and Travelers" – College International association "tourists and travelers” is a non-commercial, non political and non industrial organization, which is created to develop tourism in Georgia.
In Hong Kong, the term 'college' is 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 The Chinese University of Hong Kong; or to a residence hall of a university, such as St. John's College, University of Hong Kong. Many older secondary schools have the term 'college' as part of their names.
The modern system of education was heavily influenced by the British starting in 1835.
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, established in 1817, and the Presidency College, Kolkata, also 1817, initially known as Hindu College. The first college for the study of Christian theology and ecumenical enquiry was Serampore College (1818). The first Missionary institution to impart Western style education in India was the Scottish Church College, Calcutta (1830). The first commerce and economics college in India was Sydenham College, Mumbai (1913).
In Ireland the term "college" is normally use to describe an institution of tertiary education. University students often say they attend "college" rather than "university". Until 1989, no university provided teaching or research directly; they were formally offered by a constituent college of the university.
There are number of secondary education institutions that traditionally used the word "college" in their names: these are either older, private schools (such as Gonzaga College and St. Michael's College) or what were formerly a particular kind of secondary school. These secondary schools, formerly known as "technical colleges," were renamed "community colleges," but remain secondary schools.
The country's only ancient university is the University of Dublin. Created during the reign of Elizabeth I, it is modelled on the collegiate universities of Cambridge and Oxford. However, only one constituent college was ever founded, hence the curious position of Trinity College, Dublin today; although both are usually considered one and the same, the University and College are completely distinct corporate entities with separate and parallel governing structures.
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.
A number of state funded further education colleges exist - which offer vocational education and training in a range of areas from business studies, I.C.T to sports injury therapy. These courses are usually 1, 2 or less often 3 three years in duration and are validated by FETAC at levels 5 or 6 or for the BTEC Higher National Diploma award - validated by Edexcel which is a level 6/7 qualification. There are numerous private colleges (particularly in Dublin and Limerick) which offer both further and higher education qualifications. These degrees and diplomas are often certified by foreign universities/international awarding bodies and are aligned to the National Framework of Qualifications at level 6, 7 and 8.
In Israel, any non university facility is called a college. Some would be accepted as higher-learning that are accredited by CHE to confer a Bachelor's (and, in some cases, also a Master's) degree are called "Academic Colleges." There are over twenty teacher training colleges or seminaries, most of which may award only a Bachelor of Education (B.Ed.) degree
Any educational facility that had been approved to offer at least Bachelor degree is entitled by CHE to use the term academic college in its name. Some of the colleges (at least 4 for 2012) provide M.Sc. degree and act as a Research facilities.
Engineering academic college
Any academic facility that offer at least Bachelor degree and most of it faculties are providing an Engineering degree and Engineering license.
Educational academic college
After an educational facility that had been approved for "Teachers seminar" status is then approved to provide a Bachelor of Education, it's name is changed to include "Educational Academic college."
A "Technical college" is an educational facility that is approved to allow to provide P.E degree (14'th class) or technician (טכנאי) (13'th class) diploma and licenses. Between the more common Technical colleges are
- Be'er sheva technical college
- Tel - Hai (telhai) technical college
- The Ruppin technical college
- the Air-force Academy
A "Training College" is an educational facility that provides basic training for person that would allow to a person to receive a working permit in a field such as alternative medicine, cooking, Art, Mechanical, Electrical and other professions. A trainee could receive the right to work in certain professions as apprentice (j. mechanic, j. Electrician etc.). After working in the training field for enough time an apprentice could have a license to operate (Mechanic, Electrician  and other professions. This educational facility is mostly used to provide basic training for low tech jobs and for job seekers without any training that are provided by the employment service he:שירות התעסוקה.
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.
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, La Consolacion College Manila), such as the San Beda College which specializes in law and the Central Colleges of the Philippines 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.
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. See: List of universities in South Africa#Private colleges and universities; List of post secondary institutions in South Africa.
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.
A sixth form college is an educational institution in England, Wales, Northern Ireland, Belize, The Caribbean, Malta, Norway, Brunei, among others, where students aged 16 to 19 typically study for advanced school-level qualifications, such as A-levels and the International Baccalaureate Diploma, or school-level qualifications such as GCSEs. In Singapore and India, this is known as a junior college. The municipal government of the city of Paris uses the phrase "sixth form college" as the English name for a lycée.
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 Salford, 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, there are over 4,400 colleges and universities. A "college" in the US formally denotes a constituent part of a university, but 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. Some students choose to dual-enroll, by taking college classes while still in high school. The word and its derivatives are the standard terms used to describe the institutions and experiences associated with American post-secondary undergraduate education.
Students must pay for college before taking classes. Some borrow the money via loans, and some students fund their educations with cash, scholarships, or grants, or some combination of any two or more of those payment methods. In 2011, the state or federal government subsidized $8,000 to $100,000 for each undergraduate degree. For state-owned schools (called "public" universities), the subsidy was given to the college, with the student benefiting from lower tuition. The state subsidized on average 50% of public university tuition.
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. 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 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). An exception is Vincennes University, Indiana, which is styled and chartered as a "university" even though almost all of its academic programs lead only to two-year associate degrees. Some institutions, such as Dartmouth College and The College of William & Mary, have retained the term "college" in their names for historical reasons. In one unique case, Boston College and Boston University, both located in Boston, Massachusetts, are completely separate institutions.
Usage of the terms varies among the states. 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.
The terms "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). 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 does teach its own core writing courses and has its own distinctive set of graduation requirements.
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 that 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.
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.
In some national education systems, 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 independent (non-government) primary and, especially, secondary school as distinct from a state school. Melbourne Grammar School, Cranbrook School, Sydney and The King's School, Parramatta are considered colleges.
There has also been a recent trend to rename or create government secondary schools as "colleges". In the state of Victoria, some state high schools are referred to as secondary colleges. Interestingly, the pre-eminent government secondary school for boys in Melbourne is still named Melbourne High School. 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 also some older ones. In New South Wales, some high schools, especially multi-campus schools resulting from mergers, are known as "secondary colleges". In Queensland some newer schools which accept primary and high school students are styled state college, but state schools offering only secondary education are called "State High School". 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 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 (such as Upper Canada College, Vancouver 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.
In New Zealand the word "college" normally refers to a secondary school for ages 13 to 17 and "college" appears as part of the name especially of private or integrated schools. "Colleges" most frequently appear in the North Island, whereas "high schools" are more common in the South Island.
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".
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".
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, particularly in medicine and allied professions. In the UK these include the Royal College of Nursing and the Royal College of Physicians. Examples in the United States include the American College of Physicians, the American College of Surgeons, and the American College of Dentists. An example in Australia is the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners.
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