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Arbitrary Person Said,
June 15th, 2011 @3:15 pm  

In the United States, colleges offer undergrad degrees (Associate’s and Bachelor’s), while universities offers graduate degrees. Universities have can have colleges within them. Americans use the term university and college interchangeably, though I hear more people refer to undergrad as college rather than university.

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crimedoc Said,
June 15th, 2011 @3:49 pm  

In the US there is no real difference between the two. However, as the word “university” seems to sound more important than “college”, in recent years a number of colleges have changed their names to universities. For example, Valdosta State College recently became Valdosta State University.

In general, institutes of higher education that are known as “colleges” are less likely to offer graduate degrees than those known as “universities.” But this is not always the case.

Most universities are divided up into “colleges” today. A typical university may have a College of Arts and Sciences, a College of Health, a College of Education, a College of Business, and so on. Then each college may be broken down into “schools” or “departments” (or sometimes both). It’s more an organizational thing – each college is run by a dean, while each school or dept is run by a dept chair, associate dean, or director (depending on how the particularly university is organized).

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michiruugirl1337 Said,
June 15th, 2011 @4:18 pm  

university seems to be more prestigious.
in canada they use college as the term for community colleges and university for.. well.. universities.

in the US the terms are pretty much interchangeable. here in the US a university is a school with undergrad and grad programs. a college probably only has undergrad programs. it seems that “college” in US is wither just a 2-year program.. like a junior college/community college.. and a 4-year “college” seems to still be sort of limited. universities just seem to have it all…

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doncasual Said,
June 15th, 2011 @5:05 pm  

This has probably already been answered, but I’ll take a shot at it:

A “college” is a stand-alone educational institution that may either offer a whole lot of different courses (for, let’s say, a liberal arts education or a B.A. in Liberal Arts) or it may specialize in offering a degree in a particular area of study (for, example, there are colleges that specialize in engineering, in veterinary medicine, in design, etc.). When you go (and graduate) from these colleges, your future work associates will look up to you as knowing pretty much all there is to know in your particular profession.

A “university” is a collection (a bunch of) different kinds of colleges mostly standing on the same, super big campus. For example, the University of California will have a school (college) of medicine, a school (college) of law, a school (college) of engineering, and so forth.

So, yeah: If somebody is attending the Yale School of Law, they are still attending a law college on the Yale University campus (that’s a big deal). But if somebody asks, they’re much more likely to say they’re attending Yale University (which is a BIG, big deal) and then they’ll add on the fact that they are specializing in a degree in Law.

So: A college is relatively small, a university (because it is made up of several colleges) is usually very large.

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