Is There Really a Difference Between COLLEGE and UNIVERSITY?

If you watch American movies, you may have often heard characters talk about going to college, or finishing from college when talking about tertiary education. Like most, you may have wondered if that is the American term for university. But what if I told you this isn’t the case, and that many Americans use this term ignorantly, unaware of this fact?

While it is true that in the United States, college is often used in the same term as university, they are as different in their operations as night and day! So just what is the difference between a college and a university? you ask.

A College Is….

In general, though barring a few exceptions, colleges only offer and focus on undergraduate programmes. They may be smaller than universities because they only offer undergraduate degrees – think Bachelor’s degrees like B.A, B.Sc, B.Tech.

And in the case of Yaba College of Technology, offer only Diploma degrees like OND and HND.

A certain college might also be associated with a larger university. For a time, the University College, Ibadan was affiliated with the University of London in the United Kingdom, before becoming a university in its own right in 1962.

And a University?

Universities, on the other hand, usually offer both undergraduate and graduate degrees like Masters and doctorate degrees; and may even have colleges and graduate schools.

For example, the University of Lagos offers both undergraduate and graduate degrees, while also having a College of Medicine.

Hence, at the University of Lagos, you can get a B.A in English (undergraduate degree), an MSc. in Civil Engineering (graduate degree), and a PhD in Medicine (advanced graduate degree); something that is impossible at Yaba College of Technology.

 And that’s all there is to the two.

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