In this article we are particularly focusing on two very similar looking terms “University” and “College”.These terms are known to most of us.The differences between this two terms appears to be hazy, but we have taken steps to clear the hazy shadow between these two terms.Jotted below are the major differences between university and college apart from the to the point definition ,which we give to every term ,for the better understanding of our viewers.



What is  University?


University is a collection of colleges and has certain guidelines of itself which are unique to a particular university. These guidelines are to be followed by a college in their day to day functions. A university basically is an institution that offers number of courses of under graduation and post-graduation. Usually a university offers more number of courses than that of college.  A university may have any number of colleges under it  and this colleges have to get affiliation from this universities and on the same hand the university has to get certification from the central government/state government – depending upon whether the university  is state or central body.

Etymology:- University Origin 

Middle English university , from Anglo-French university, from Medieval Latin universitas-, university ,from Latin universes.

First use – 14thcentury.

What is College?


College refers to the single entity affiliated under a university which follows the norms  under  laid  by the university for its functioning. Its a smaller institute than university and normally offers undergraduate courses to students (however many colleges nowadays also offer post graduate courses ).  One major difference between two is that in exam papers are set and corrected in university itself while that in a particular college the  papers are set and sent to university body for correction.

Etymology:- College origin

Middle English, from Anglo-French , from Latin collegiums society, from college colleague- more at colleague.

First use -14th century

University vs College

The terms  University  and college refer to the  higher institutes in an  education  system. These two terms have different meanings in different countries.The difference between college and university thus vary from region to region. While university can be defined as a common education body which involves a number of colleges under it , college on the other hand is a single entity (body) which is affiliated by a university. Colleges are of various categories – they may be colleges offering courses in engineering , medical, law, arts and various other degree courses.

Research in College and University –

As the funding is more in a university the number of research programs in a university are much more than a  college .Due to this superior funding only, universities are able to offer both graduate and undergraduate courses, also the innovation is too high here as a result of more number of researches.

Sr No. University College
1. University is a large institutional body which offers a number of courses in various disciplines.  College is a much smaller institutional body and offers lesser number of courses in comparison to university
2.  University in general offers both  postgraduate and undergraduate courses normally.  College on the other hand normally offers undergraduate courses (however some universities  also offer  postgraduate programs)
3.  Number  of students enrolled in a university is very large as compared to college.  Number of students enrolled in a college is smaller as compared to a university.
4.  University is affiliated to either central government or state government depending on whether its a central or state university.  College is affiliated to a university which in turn is affiliated with the government.
5.  University is free to practice its own way of conduct – from conduction of exam to evaluation and other day to day activities.  College on the other hand follows the rules and guidelines set up by the particular university to which it is affiliated.
6.  Owing to their larger size funds involved in a university is much higher as compared to college.  Funds involved in a College is much less than a university
7. As funds are more the research activities are more in a university as compared to college Research activities are lesser as compared to university.



IN United States :-

Colleges and university are used to refer to the third grade schools. However universities offer a large number of courses both undergraduate as well as post graduate courses while the colleges offer only undergraduate degrees. There is also a term called ‘SECONDARY COLLEGE” which offers lower courses and the term is of two years .It is also called JUNIOR COLLEGE by many people in the US.

IN UK :-

In UK colleges are the institutions which do not offer degrees. These are called as schools in colleges. Many colleges are directly not related to essential learning but are more about the accommodations and other facilities that students enjoy in the campus.In Canada-

In Canada-

“College” refers to tertiary education in various vocational, technical, artistic,  and scientific fields. In Alberta, British Columbia, and Ontario, the term “university college” also exists. This term also finds its use in various commonwealth nations and relates more to institution which are not totally independent unlike universities which are more liberal.

In Australia:-

secondary education is often referred to as college. Few times the vocational schools (e.g., TAFE colleges)  are also referred to as college or schools within a university (e.g., college of medicine). “Faculty” is generally used in place of college at the tertiary level (e.g., faculty of social sciences).



These two terms have different meanings country to country. In US, schools mean any place where people learn. College too is commonly called as school  by several US citizens in day to day talks. Even universities are called schools in some cases. In US college and university follows after high school, and begins in the 13th year of school, when student is of 17-18 years of age or older. A two-year college offers an associate degree and certificates. A four year college or university on the other hand, offers undergraduate degrees. The schools offering these degrees are thus called undergraduate schools.

In my opinion, people in US use college to describe an institutional body which is smaller than a university and offers generally four year undergraduate courses and degree courses. The university is described as a bigger body which, besides offering undergraduate courses like college also offers graduate courses. In other words, here students receive even advanced degrees – such as Masters (M.S.) , doctorate (Ph.D.). University thus has  a number of colleges offering courses in various disciplines.



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