A university is a prominent institution of higher learning and research that awards diplomas in many different academic fields. Universities usually offer both postgraduate and undergraduate courses. The scope of a university includes not only academics but also administration, research, teaching and facilities for students. University courses help students acquire knowledge and practical skills in a specific subject or field of study.
There are two types of universities – public and private. The difference between the two lies in the nature of the faculty, resources, finances, student-faculty relations, access to grants and fees. Private universities are mostly academic institutions that are not funded by state or federal governments, whereas public universities are generally recognized and accredited by states, government bodies and other educational institutes. Most private universities have limited enrollment. In most cases, all students are expected to participate in the university, although there are some exceptions.
University colleges and universities are separated into two categories – professional universities and private colleges. Professional universities are those that are established to train people for specific vocations such as law, medicine, engineering and other medical specialties. These universities also offer Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees. Large universities such as those found in the US or UK have been able to extend their presence outside their home countries by offering bachelor’s and master’s degree programs at the university locations in other countries as well.
The term ‘university’ refers to a school that is publicly supported and managed. The major components of a typical university include departments of academics and departments of administration and facilities for students. Students may choose to complete their graduate and undergraduate studies in any of the departments they are interested in, as long as they meet minimum admission requirements. The majority of students major in the arts and sciences, with some also choosing to major in mathematics, business, nursing and other liberal arts. A smaller number of students opt for a minor in a particular field of study such as psychology, mathematics, English or sociology.
Some of the main functions of universities are to educate students, give them knowledge and assist them in gaining employment. These institutions also undertake research and teach new knowledge to their students and to others who may require it. In order for a university to be considered legitimate it must fulfil the legal requirements of government authorities. It has to be registered with the government authority and accredited by the Department of Education. The various universities are categorized into two broad types – professional universities and public universities. The former are recognized by the government but not by all governmental or non-governmental bodies, while the latter are fully accredited by both the government and the academic institutions.
Many top universities throughout the world are members of the Association of American Universities (AAU). The most prominent institutions in this league are Harvard, Yale, Cambridge, Stanford and Columbia University. The most recent additions to this league are Johns Hopkins University and Minnesota. Many colleges also belong to the American Council for Higher Education (ACHE), including Arizona State University, California State University, Colorado State University, Florida International University, George Washington University, Kentucky State University, Miami Dade College, Michigan State University, New Jersey State University, New Mexico State University, North Carolina State University, Oregon State University, Rice University, Southern New Hampshire University, Southern Utah University of California, San Diego. There are many more colleges and institutions in this league.