College (Latin: collegium) is an educational institution or component. A college may be a degree-granting postsecondary institution, part of a collegiate or federal university, or a secondary school.
In much of the globe, a college may be a high school or secondary school, a college of further education, a training institution that grants trade credentials, or a non-university higher-education provider (sometimes without its own degree-awarding authority). In the U.S., a c ollege may provide undergraduate programs as an independent institution or as the undergraduate program of a university, or it may be a residential college of a university or a community colle ge, which offers inexpensive and accessible two-year associate degrees. The term is a US university synonym. France, Belgium, and Switzerland have secondary schools.
“College” comes from the Latin verb lego, legere, legi, lectum, “to collect, gather, choose,” and cum, “together,” meaning “chosen together.” “Colleagues” means “chosen to work together.” A collegium was a political society or trade guild comprising magistrates, praetors, tribunes, priests, and augurs in ancient Rome. Thus, a c ollege was a company or corporate body, an artificial legal entity that could enter into legal contracts, sue and be sued. In mediaeval England, there were colleges of priests, such as in chantry chapels; modern survivors include the Royal Colle ge of Surgeons in England (originally the Guild of Surgeons Within the City of London), the Colle ge of Arms in London (a body of heralds enforcing heraldic law), an electoral c ollege (to elect representatives), etc., all groups of persons “selected in common” to perform a specified function and appointed by a monarch, founder, or other person Eton C ollege was founded in 1440 by King Henry VI for the constitution of a colle ge of Fellows, priests, clerks, choristers, poor scholars, and old poor men, with one master or governor, whose duty it shall be to instruct these scholars and any others who may resort thither from any part of England in the knowledge of letters, and especially of grammar, without charge.
The phrase refers to:
A sixth form college or college of further education is an educational institution in England, Wales, Northern Ireland, Belize, the Caribbean, Malta, Norway, Brunei, or Southern Africa where students aged 16 to 19 study for advanced school-level qualifications such as A-levels, BTEC, HND or its equivalent, and the International Baccalaureate Diploma or school-level qualifications such as GCSEs. Junior colle ge in Singapore and India. Paris’ local administration calls a lycée a “sixth form co llege”
In certain countries, secondary schools are named “c olleges”
In Australia, “colle ge” refers to private or independent (non-government) elementary and secondary schools. Melbourne Grammar, Cranbrook School, and The King’s School are colle ges.
Government secondary schools are increasingly being renamed “colleges” In Victoria, some state high schools are called secondary colleges, although Melbourne High School remains the premier government high school for males. All state high schools erected after the late 1990s and some older ones are called “co llege” in Western Australia, South Australia, and the Northern Territory. In New South Wales, multi-campus high schools are called “secondary c olleges.” In Queensland, newer institutions that take elementary and high school students are termed state colleges, although state high schools provide only secondary education. “Colle ge” refers to years 11 and 12 of high school in Tasmania and the ACT. “Colle ge” is a separate structure from high school. Here, matriculation colle ge is shortened.
Many government-run secondary schools in Canada are termed “collegiates” or “collegiate institutes” (C.I. ), a variant of “colle ge” that avoids the “post-secondary” connotation. These secondary schools have typically concentrated on academic, not vocational, topics and abilities (for example, collegiates offered Latin while vocational schools offered technical courses). Some private secondary schools use “colle ge” in their titles (Upper Canada C ollege, Vancouver Co llege). Some secondary schools, especially in the separate school system, utilize “colle ge” or “collegiate” in their titles.
In New Zealand, “co llege” refers to a secondary school for ages 13 to 17, notably private or integrated institutions. North Island has more colle ges than South Island has.
“C ollege” is HBO in the Netherlands (Higher professional education). It emphasizes professional training with a vocational focus, unlike colleges.
Some South African secondary schools, notably private institutions modeled after English public schools, are called “col lege.” Six of South Africa’s Elite Seven secondary schools are “co lleges” St John’s College is one example.
“Cram-c olleges” are private institutions that concentrate intensively on test preparation.
In Sri Lanka, “college” (Vidyalaya in Sinhala) refers to a secondary school above 5th grade. During the British colonial period, a limited number of exclusive secondary schools were established based on the English public school model (Royal Co llege Colombo, S. Thomas’ College, Mount Lavinia, Trinity C ollege, Kandy). These along with several Catholic schools (St. Joseph’s Colle ge, Colombo, St Anthony’s Co llege) traditionally carry the name co llege. After free education began in 1931, a considerable number of rural central col leges were constructed. Since 1948, several Sri Lankan schools have been titled “co llege.” [Bibliography]
The phrase may also apply to any official organization of colleagues established by legislation or regulation, frequently under a Royal Charter. The Col lege of Cardinals, Coll ege of Arms, and Coll ege of Canons are examples. Other collegiate entities include medical and associated professional organisations. Royal Coll ege of Nursing and Royal Coll ege of Physicians are UK examples. The American College of Physicians, Surgeons, and Dentists are U.S. examples. Royal Australian Coll ege of General Practitioners is one example.
In Australia, a co llege is a smaller, independent or part of a university academic institution. After a 1980s reform, several previously autonomous institutions joined bigger universities.
University colleges house undergraduate and graduate students at a university. These colleges provide tutoring and theology. Many institutions combine dormitory-style housing with fraternity or sorority life.
Most technical and further education institutes (TAFEs) are called “TAFE co lleges” or “Co lleges of TAFE.”
Don C ollege in Tasmania is also a college.
Colleges in Bangladesh provide 11th–12th-grade education.
“C ollege” in Canadian English refers to a trades school, applied arts/science/technology/business/health school or community college. They provide certifications, diplomas, associate degrees, and (in certain situations) bachelor’s degrees. CEGEP refers to public institutions in Quebec’s system of pre-university and technical education. Students enroll in them if they want to attend university in Quebec or learn a skill. University c olleges in Ontario and Alberta exclusively give undergraduate degrees. This distinguishes colleges with undergraduate and graduate programs from those without.
In Canada, “colle ge” and “university” are separate. In discussion, one might say “they are going to university” or “they are going to college”
College also refers to different institutions that are linked with a university, called federated colle ges or affiliated colleges. A university may comprise numerous colle ges, constituting a collegiate university. Trent University and Toronto University are Canadian coll eges. These institutions have their own endowments and possessions. They remain associated or federated with the underlying university, which provides degrees. Trinity College was previously autonomous but eventually federated with UofT. Several centralized Canadian universities have adopted the collegiate model, while component colle ges remain under central management. University of British Columbia has Green Coll ege and St. John’s Coll ege; Memorial University of Newfoundland has Sir Wilfred Grenfell Colle ge.
Sometimes “c ollege” refers to a subject-specific faculty inside a university that is not federated nor affiliated—Coll ege of Education, College of Medicine, Coll ege of Dentistry, College of Biological Science, etc.
RMC trains officers for the Canadian Armed Forces. The institution is a full-fledged university that can grant graduate degrees, yet it’s still called a college. Royal Military C ollege Saint-Jean utilizes the word college in its name, however it’s more like a CEGEP in Quebec. Despite becoming universities, certain Canadian post-secondary art institutions traditionally used the designation college. Most of these schools omitted college from their names in the early 21st century.
Ontario’s public secondary schools are still called c olleges. Several Canadian independent schools use the term college.
Ontario’s public secular schools are called collegiate institutions. School boards use collegiate institution differently. Most Ontario school boards utilize collegiate institute alongside high school and secondary school in the titles of their institutions. Regina and Saskatoon have Collegiate secondary schools.
In Chile, multilingual schools like Santiago College and Saint George’s C ollege are called “colleges.” Since 2009, Pontifical Catholic University of Chile has offered bachelor’s degrees in natural sciences, social sciences, and arts and humanities. It mixes majors and minors like U.S. institutions. Students might continue their education at the same institution.
Kollegio (in Greek ) refers to the private Centers of Post-Lyceum Education (KEME). Some have ties to EU or US higher education institutions or accrediting agencies like NEASC. Kollegio (or Kollegia) also refers to private non-tertiary institutions like Athens College.
In Hong Kong, tertiary institutions use the word ‘college’ as part of their titles or to refer to a component portion of the university, such as The Chinese University of Hong Kong’s colle ges, or a university resident hall, such as St. John’s College, University of Hong Kong. Many older secondary schools are called coll eges.
In India, “col lege” refers to institutions that grant high school certificates at year 12 (“Junior Coll ege,” akin to American high schools) and bachelor’s degrees; some colle ges offer PhD courses. All state colleg es are linked with a regional university. Coll eges provide university degrees. Autonomous colleges are rare. Autonomous colleges set their own curriculum and conduct and grade their own exams; in non-autonomous institutions, the university conducts exams for all affiliated colle ges at the same time. Each university has several connected coll eges.
Kerala’s “Syrian Institution” was India’s first liberal arts and sciences colle ge in 1815. This colle ge began Asia’s first interlingual residential school. It’s presently an Orthodox Theological Seminary or Old Seminary. After then, CMS Colle ge, Kottayam, 1817, and Presidency C ollege, Kolkata, 1817, formerly Hindu Coll ege. Serampore Colle ge was the first to study Christian theology and ecumenism (1818). Scottish Church Co llege, Calcutta was the first missionary college to provide Western education in India (1830). Sydenham Coll ege, Mumbai, was India’s first business school (1913).
Autonomous Institutes & C olleges are new in India. Autonomous c olleges must be associated with a university. These colleges may set their own admissions, exams, and fees. They can’t award their own degree or certification upon course completion. Affiliated university offers final degree or diploma. The NEP (New Education Policy 2020) may also alter university and college rules.
In Ireland, “co llege” is a tertiary institution. Students commonly call university “co llege.” Teaching and research were supplied by a university’s constituent col lege until 1989.
Some secondary schools, such as Belvedere C ollege, Gonzaga C ollege, Castleknock Co llege, and St. Michael’s C ollege, have historically utilized the term “college” in their titles. Formerly called “technical colleges,” these secondary institutions are now “community colleges”
Dublin University is Ireland’s only ancient university. Modeled after Cambridge and Oxford, it was founded by Elizabeth I. Only one constituent c ollege was ever formed, explaining Trinity C ollege Dublin’s unique status today; while both are widely regarded one and the same, the university and college are different corporate organizations with parallel governance systems.
The National University of Ireland, established in 1908, had constituent colleges until 1997. The former are now called component universities – independent universities. The National University began in 1850 with the Queen’s University of Ireland and 1854 with the Catholic University of Ireland. From 1880, the Royal University of Ireland awarded degrees for these two institutions until the National University in 1908 and Queen’s University Belfast.
Dublin City University and University of Limerick were once NIHEs. These institutions provided university-level degrees and research from the outset and received university status in 1989.
Institutes of Technology, formerly Regional Technical Colle ges, provide third-level technical education in the state. These institutions have QQI degrees and certificates allocated to them under their own names.
Dublin Business School and other private institutions provide undergraduate and postgraduate degrees accredited by QQI and other universities.
Other colleges include the Church of Ireland College of Education. These institutes, frequently associated to a university, provide undergraduate and postgraduate teaching degrees.
State-funded institutions provide vocational education and training in business studies, IT, and sports injury rehabilitation. These one-, two-, or three-year programmes are validated by QQI at Levels 5 or 6 or for the BTEC Higher National Diploma, a Level 6/7 certificate recognized by Edexcel. Private coll eges (especially in Dublin and Limerick) provide FE and HE. These degrees and certificates are frequently from foreign universities/international awarding organizations and correlate with the National Framework of Qualifications at Levels 6, 7 and 8.
In Israel, colleges are non-university higher-learning institutions. “Academic Colleges” (Hebrew:, Mikhlala; plural Hebrew:, Mikhlalot) are CHE-accredited bachelor’s degree-granting institutions. At least 4 of these institutions provide master’s degrees and do research in 2012. Over 20 universities or seminaries provide teacher training, however most only offer a Bachelor of Education (BEd).
In Macau, the word “colle ge” (colégio) has historically been used in the titles of private (and non-governmental) pre-university educational institutions. Macau’s Catholic church or missionaries administer such schools. Chan Sui Ki, Yuet Wah, and Sacred Heart Canossian are examples.
The Netherlands has 3 primary post-high school educational paths.
HBO graduates may get Baccalaureus (bc.) and Ingenieur (ing.). WO institutions may grant more bachelor’s and master’s degrees. Bachelor’s degrees: BA, BSc, and JD (LLB). MA, LLM, and MS degrees (MSc). PhDs are conferred after defending a doctorate thesis.
Canterbury University Colle ge and other former UNZ institutions are now separate universities. Some New Zealand university residential halls are called “college,” especially at Otago (which although brought under the umbrella of the University of New Zealand, already possessed university status and degree awarding powers). “Teacher-training c olleges” are currently called “College of education.”
Some institutions, like the University of Canterbury, have administrative “Colle ges” — the Co llege of Arts has Arts, Humanities, and Social Science departments, etc. This is based on the Cambridge model.
New Zealand’s Royal Australasian C ollege of Surgeons and Royal Australasian College of Physicians are “colle ges” as in the UK.
Some sections of the nation refer to high school as college. This puzzles some New Zealanders. New Zealand’s biggest secondary school, Rangitoto College, has “Coll ege” in its name.
In the Philippines, colle ges refer to institutions of learning that grant degrees but whose scholastic fields are not as diverse as a university (University of Santo Tomas, University of the Philippines, Ateneo de Manila University, De La Salle University, Far Eastern University, and AMA University), such as San Beda College, which specializes in law, and AMA Computer Co llege, which has campuses all over the Philippines.
A state colle ge may not have “c ollege” in its name yet have many c olleges or departments. EARIST is a state college.
Many schools aim to become universities as a symbol of improved academic standards (Colegio de San Juan de Letran, San Beda C ollege) and increased degree program variety (called “courses”). For private institutions, this may be done through the Commission for Higher Education and accrediting bodies, as with Urios Colle ge, now Fr. Saturnino Urios University. Congress or the Senate usually pass laws for state co lleges. “Going to colle ge” implies attending a colle ge or university for an undergraduate degree.
C ollege is associated with postsecondary or higher education. A student who earned an undergraduate degree at a college or university is regarded to be in c ollege.
In Portugal, colégio (college) refers to a private (non-government) institution that offers basic through secondary education. Many private schools use colégio. Some public schools, mainly boarding institutions, contain the phrase in their names, such as Colégio Militar (Military C ollege). Colégio interno refers to a residential school.
A colégio was a secondary or pre-university institution where students lived together until the 19th century. The 1542 Royal C ollege of Arts and Humanities in Coimbra was a model for similar institutions.
Singaporean “Junior C olleges” give the last two years of secondary school and are dubbed “colleges” (equivalent to sixth form in British terms or grades 11–12 in the American system). Since 1 January 2005, the word also refers to the three campuses of the Institute of Technical Education with the establishment of the “collegiate system”
“University” refers to local degree-granting institutions. Diploma-granting institutions are termed “polytechnics,” whereas others are “institutes”
Some non-university tertiary institutions in South Africa name themselves c olleges. These include teacher training, business, and wildlife institutions. List of postsecondary institutions in South Africa.
There are “c olleges” that provide post-secondary education without degrees. Sri Lanka Law C ollege, Technical C olleges, and Teaching Colleges are included.