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The Difference Between a College and a University

Are There More Differences Besides Just the Name?


Many people, college students included, aren't fully aware of the difference between a college and a university. In fact, while the names are used interchangeably, they often refer to much different things. So just what is the difference between a "college" and a "university" anyway?

In general -- and, of course, there are exceptions -- colleges only offer and focus on undergraduate programs. They may be smaller than universities because they only offer undergraduate degrees (think Bachelor's degrees).

Universities, on the other hand, usually offer both undergraduate and graduate degrees. They can include Master's programs and Ph.D. programs as well as graduate schools, like law schools and medical schools. Some universities -- like the University of Michigan, for example -- offer both undergraduate degrees and graduate degrees. So in theory you could get your B.A. in Politics and then a law degree from the University of Michigan. Getting a law degree from a college wouldn't be possible, although there are of course exceptions to this rule.

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