Difference Between College and University

4 mins read65.9K Views 7 Comments
Rahul Singha
Study Abroad Expert
Updated on Aug 29, 2023 00:00 IST

Difference between University and College: As students start to explore their postsecondary education options, they often tend to wonder about the difference between a college and a university. While most of the time, the two are confused by most students and parents alike, we have brought you a comprehensive list of how a college is different to a university. The article will help you understand the difference between university and college. Colleges are usually smaller in size as compared to universities. Due to their small size, colleges provide limited research options for students wanting to pursue their higher education. On the other hand, a university could be home to multiple colleges functioning on or off campus. They are vast in size and offer a number of choices to their students. 

Difference between college and university

A college typically offers its students undergraduate and associate degrees due to the availability of limited courses in the college. A university, on the other hand, is home to various departments and faculties that provide students with all major degrees including undergraduate and postgraduate degrees leading to a master’s degree or a PhD. It is also important to note that due to limited resources provided in a college, it is comparatively cheaper to enrol into a college than compared to a university where the fee structure is much higher due to the number of facilities and programs available to the students.

Not all colleges provide students with professional degrees, however, all universities are integrated with medical or law schools for students wishing to pursue professional degrees. Many a time universities also offer special programs, where a student can pursue an undergraduate degree along with a graduate degree in a reduced amount of time, a facility that is rare to find in a college.  In short, we can conclude, by saying, universities have a more diverse offering of classes and programs than a college because of the larger number of enrolled students.

Difference between University and College: At a Glance





Smaller in size

Larger in size


Courses are limited to undergraduate studies.

Courses vary from graduate-level studies to professional courses.


Due to the limited space and facilities, the fee structure is usually lesser compared to a university.

Due to multiple facilities and programmes being offered to students, universities are deemed more expensive.


Offers student undergraduate and associate degrees.

Offers students postgraduate degrees leading to a master’s degree or a PhD.


Due to the restricted space, the facilities provided are limited.

The large size of the university provides a plethora of facilities to the students.

Important Colleges Abroad

Some of the important colleges and universities abroad are mentioned in the points below. Their importance is on the basis of various factors such as their rankings, admission policies, etc.

Score Predictor

Predict your English proficiency score by sharing few details

Share 12th Board, Percentage, english score
Get estimated scores or IELTS, TOEFL & PTE

SPP Colleges in Canada

Student Partners Program or SPP is meant for Indian students looking to develop practical and technical skills. These institutes mainly offer certificates and diplomas, with a few offering degrees as well. SPP was developed in partnership between the Association of Canadian Community Colleges (ACCC) and Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC). It is an arrangement between selected Canadian educational institutions and the Canadian High Commission in India to provide quick and easy study visas for the prospective students of participating institutions in Canada.

TAFE Institutes in Australia

TAFE institutes or Technical and Further Education Institutions offer students a wide range of Vocational and Educational Training courses which range from 3 months to over 3 years. These courses are administered by Registered Training Organizations which can be both private as well as government funded. Australian Education System is, broadly speaking, more focused on skill development.  So if you are looking at Australia for employment opportunities after your education, TAFE institutes are an excellent alternative path and opportunity to achieve the same.

You might be interested in these free downloads
MBBS in Abroad at MCI Approved Medical Colleges (country-wise)
MBBS in Abroad at MCI Approved Medical Colleges (c...447 downloads
How to select the right college abroad
How to select the right college abroad254 downloads
Canada Student Visa Guide: Requirements, Fees, Application Process
Canada Student Visa Guide: Requirements, Fees, App...45k downloads

Institutes of Technology and Polytechnics (ITPs) in New Zealand

In New Zealand, Institutes of Technology and Polytechnics (ITPs) are government-owned and funded polytechnics that provide cost-effective education. For applied courses, polytechnics are preferred over university education as they place more importance on preparing students for joining the workforce. Because of their emphasis on practical learning, a lot of international students who wish to gain employment right after graduating, prefer enrolling at ITPs.

Top Universities

These universities have consistently been ranked highly in various world universities rankings such as the QS World University Rankings and the Times Higher Education World University Rankings. However, it is important to note that the definition of "top universities" can vary based on different factors such as location, the field of study, and individual preferences.

Now that you have understood the difference between university and college, you can take a well-informed decision before selecting an educational institution.

Candidates looking to study abroad can get in touch with our Shiksha Study Abroad Counsellors for assistance with university applications. Candidates can also write to us in the comments section below.

Also, Read:

Study in the US Study in the UK
Study in Canada Study in Australia

Download this article as PDF to read offline

Download Guide
About the Author
Rahul Singha
Study Abroad Expert

With over 8 years of experience in overseas education, Rahul Singha has been previously associated with prominent education houses. He is also responsible for keeping a sharp eye on education policies of major study... Read Full Bio



Hello Rahul, can you please help me with this?. Do colleges/universities accept 15 yrs education in USA?. If yes then what are they?.. i am tired of searching online and couldn't find satisfactory results.

Reply to Mohammed Abdul Sami


Rahul SinghaStudy Abroad Expert

2 years ago

Hello Mohammaed. The majority of the Universities recognise 12+4 years of study. You can know about the studying in the USA here: https://studyabroad.shiksha.com/student-guide-to-the-united-states-of-america-usa-guidepage-15 Or know about popular Universities in the US here: https://studyabroad.sh


Where studying is best abroad or India.....????

Reply to Geetanjali Tiwari


Rahul SinghaStudy Abroad Expert

2 years ago

Hello Geetanjali. That is a very personal choice. You can however know about the benefits of studying abroad here: https://studyabroad.shiksha.com/5-benefits-of-studying-abroad-articlepage-285



2 years ago

Sir, I have passed PTE and got scored 59 .can I apply for study in Australia

Reply to Tamanna


Rahul SinghaStudy Abroad Expert

2 years ago

Hello Tamanna. You can check out popular universities in Australia here: https://studyabroad.shiksha.com/australia and for top universities visit: https://studyabroad.shiksha.com/australia/universities


Anjneya Singh

2 years ago

Can I land in a good job in IT field after doing a diploma?

Reply to Anjneya Singh


Rahul SinghaStudy Abroad Expert

2 years ago

Hello Anjneya. No one can guarantee you a job abroad. You will have to understand the market, get in touch with university alumni, and know the popular job sectors to improve your chances of getting a job.


Anjneya Singh

2 years ago

Can I work part time while doing a diploma and then can I get a work permit after completing the diploma?

Reply to Anjneya Singh


Rahul SinghaStudy Abroad Expert

2 years ago

Which country are you looking to study?

We use cookies to improve your experience. By continuing to browse the site, you agree to our Privacy Policy and Cookie Policy.