What is the Difference Between College and University?

What is the Difference Between College and University?

Faculty is a Latin word “facultas,” meaning aptitude to develop something. In another circumstance, it may mean a subdivision of a university.

The word university, on the other hand, also comes from Latin, but it has another meaning: “Universitas” is the institution of higher education formed by various colleges and with various academic degrees. Thus, it is understood at the outset that the university is larger than the college.

Higher education is already very old. The first university, according to historians, was created in China before Christ. However, it was only developed and resembled the current Persian in the fourth century. The faculty was formed as it is nowadays known from the former University of Paris, which was made up of four faculties: law, medicine, theology, and the arts.

Differences between College and University

These are the differences between college and university:



For the educational institution to earn the name of university it is necessary that at least one-third of the faculty have a master’s or doctorate degree. The higher the teachers’ degree, the more knowledge, and more research can be developed with the students. In addition, a third of teachers must have a full-time contract with the institution – the so-called exclusive dedication.


Faculty must have at least postgraduate degrees,

 which offer lower masters and doctoral degrees.

Number of Courses


To maintain the title of university, the institution must offer various activities of teaching, extension and scientific research in different areas of knowledge. In addition, the university needs to serve and approach the community.

The university has the autonomy to create new courses without asking permission from the Ministry of Education.



The college usually focuses on a smaller number of areas of knowledge, or specializes in just one area, offering only one course such as health or economics, for example. Another difference pointed out is that the college does not have the autonomy to create new courses, it needs to request authorization from the Ministry of Education.



Universities need to develop at least four postgraduate programs (masters and doctorate) to maintain this denomination. At least one of them must be doctoral. In addition, they can create several postgraduate programs concurrently with the master’s and doctorate programs.


The college does not need to develop a postgraduate program.

Campus Size


The university needs a more spacious campus so that all of its colleges are set up and courses can be developed in a manner consistent with the needs of students. Some institutions offer restaurants, a museum, and accommodation within the university city.

Read also: What is a Campus Life Like at University in Canada?


The campus of a college should be in line with the reality of the institution and it is understood that the college need not necessarily be large, as it offers only a few courses and few or no postgraduate programs.

Scientific research


Teachers with masters and / or doctorates must develop scientific research with undergraduates of the institution in which they work. On the other hand, the university also requires that such research be conducted.


In colleges, the incentive for scientific research is not very strong, because the focus of this type of institution is to enable students for professional life only and not for academic, as is the case with universities.

Did you know that there were so many differences between the university and the Brazilian college? Do you know other points that characterize them? Tell us in the comments!

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