Liberal Arts College vs University
Liberal Arts College and University are two educational institutions that show some differences between them when it comes to the nature of study, courses offered, infrastructure, and the like. A liberal arts college is more like an undergraduate college where you cannot expect professional schools in the campus. On the other hand, a university runs almost all the courses and would also have some professional schools in its campus. This is the main difference between Liberal Arts College and university. Some argue that liberal arts colleges are better than universities for undergraduates. However, some say it is just a waste of time as having a degree with just academic perspective is not helpful in the real world. Let us see what each has to offer.
What is a Liberal Arts College?
It can be said that the primary emphasis of a Liberal Arts College is on the undergraduate education in science and liberal arts. A Liberal Arts College can be explained as a college or university curriculum that is aimed at imparting broad general knowledge and developing general intellectual capacities. They focus on these academic and personal development goals giving them more value than giving value to a professional, vocational, or technical curriculum.
It is interesting to note that Liberal Arts College first began in Europe, but it is a term that is primarily associated now with the colleges in the United States of America. Liberal Arts Colleges are found in several countries of the world. Some of the examples of Liberal Arts Colleges include the European College of Liberal Arts in Germany, the University College Utrecht in Holland, John Cabot University in Rome, Concordia University in Montreal, Bishop’s University in Canada, and Champion College in Sydney.
It is important to know that the Liberal Arts Colleges are smaller. This only means that individual attention can be given to students in Liberal Arts Colleges. That means, in a classroom, in a Liberal Arts College, you will find a low number of students. This is not more than 50. Some introductory courses can have about 50 students. But, other than that, generally the number of students is less. As a result, professors can pay more attention to each student. Most Liberal Arts Colleges are residential in nature, which means that the students have to stay away from home to study. This gives an opportunity for the students to mingle with others and live in unison. The residential setting in a Liberal Arts College also gives an opportunity for the students to conduct cultural events in the campus thereby, show their talents in various fields.
What is a University?
A university is a higher educational institution that focuses on both undergraduate and graduate degree. However, more attention of a university is for graduate degrees. Individual attention cannot be given to students studying in universities. This is due to the fact that the universities are larger than the Liberal Arts Colleges in size. As universities are larger in size, one class will have hundreds of students. So, it is impossible for the lecturer to pay attention to each student individually. Universities do not necessarily prescribe the residential form of learning. It depends upon the choice of the student whether to attend to classes from their homes or to stay in the hostel attached to the universities. Universities offer courses up to PhD level, and conduct convocations on their own. Most of the universities conduct post-graduate courses in almost all the disciplines. Some universities award research degrees. Students can complete them from other colleges affiliated to these universities. Thus, a university is a very large educational institution that caters to all the needs of the students who aspire to take up various careers after their undergraduate study.
What is the difference between Liberal Arts College and University?
• Liberal Arts College focuses on undergraduate studies while university focuses on undergraduate and graduate studies. You will see that universities generally put most of their interest to graduates rather than undergraduates.
• It is important to know that the Liberal Arts Colleges are smaller than universities in size. This only means that individual attention can be given to students in Liberal Arts Colleges. On the other hand, individual attention cannot be given to students studying in universities. This is due to the fact that the universities are larger than the Liberal Arts Colleges in size.
• Most Liberal Arts Colleges are residential in nature. On the other hand, universities do not necessarily prescribe the residential form of learning. An undergraduate or a graduate can choose to stay at a hostel or attend class from home.
• The attention given to individual student at Liberal Arts College makes them good writers, listeners, and presenters as they have to do all the work by themselves and they are highly observed. University students can be behind in these disciplines as they are not observed so highly as a result of the large number of students per class.
These are the differences between Liberal Arts College and University.
- Texas A&M College of Liberal Arts by Oldag07 (CC BY-SA 3.0)
- University of Otago by Ulanwp (CC BY-SA 3.0)