The Difference Between College Degrees & University Degrees


Students considering higher education have many options, from two-year colleges and vocational schools to universities providing advanced degrees. Whether a school is a college or a university is less important than the quality of the institution and the programs it offers.

The Facts

  • A college is a post-secondary educational institution that usually offers associate's and bachelor's degrees, or both. A university usually offers undergraduate (bachelor's) degrees and graduate (master's and doctoral) degrees.


  • A degree from any college or university is a valuable asset for future employment, as long as the school granting the degree has been regionally accredited.


  • Some colleges offer more affordable degree programs than universities, making them a cost-effective choice. A benefit of many universities is that they offer graduate programs for students pursuing advanced degrees.


  • Not all colleges are limited to undergraduate degrees, and not all universities provide degrees of higher quality or more prestige than colleges. Universities do not necessarily provide a better education than colleges, which is a commonly held misconception.


  • The quality of an institution and the degree programs it offers matter more than whether the school is a college or a university. Research any school thoroughly to verify that it is regionally accredited, offers the degree you seek and has the qualities most important to you.


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