Difference Between University and College

Colleges and universities are institutions imparting post-secondary education. These two types of educational institutions have several distinguishing factors, depending on where you are located.

For starters, colleges are a pre-requisite for admission into universities. Before going on for higher education, you will need to have a strong academic base, which is generally provided at the college level. College settings are relaxed and offer students a chance to mature and tap into various fields. They usually offer associate degrees, undergrad programs, diplomas and certificates, unlike universities, which tend to deal with higher qualifications such as undergrad, masters programs or PhDs. College programs usually have a shorter time frame (1 to 2 years) whereas attaining an undergrad degree requires students to enroll in a three to four-year program.

Therefore the costs associated with university education are greater than college due to the higher skill and expertise of professors and Deans. Moreover, students are dealing with specialization in a particular area rather than learning the basic elements of each subject, which is usually the case in colleges.

While both colleges and universities provide students with tertiary level education, the former may not need to be affiliated with any university and will work as an independent institution. However, it lays the platform for candidates to enroll in the best of universities around the world.  Therefore, the transition from college to university will be greater for most candidates when compared to shifting their base from high school to college.

Differences further exist in the respective career scopes. For college graduates, they are most likely to get entry level jobs with limited growth. However, for university graduates, they can tap into various markets, depending on their academic qualifications, with unlimited growth.


  • 1


    It is referred to an institution which grants academic degrees – undergraduate and post graduate education - in a wide variety of fields. The term originated from a Latin phase, which means ‘community of teachers and scholars’.

    Image Courtesy: pba.edu

  • 2


    Colleges are educational institutions which provide tertiary or higher learning in general or liberal arts but do not to cater to professional or technical training. Colleges can be a part of a collegiate university, or can be institutions which offer vocational education.

    Image Courtesy: psu.edu

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

× 6 = twelve