Collegiate university, Former collegiate universities

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A collegiate university (also federal university or affiliating university) is a university in which governing authority and functions are divided between a central administration and a number of constituent colleges. Often, the division of powers in a collegiate university is realized in the form of a federation, analogous to the geopolitical arrangement in which a country comprises member regions (provinces, states, etc.) and a central federal government.


Some universities that once featured collegiate systems had gradually lost them to mergers and amalgamation, due to financial, political or other reasons. Examples include the following:

  • At the University of St. Andrews, the colleges joined together to become St Mary's College, St Andrews for Divinity, the United College of St Salvator and St Leonard and St Leonard's College for postgraduates. The divisions are now largely administrative, although St Mary's retains a distinctive identity within the university and St Leonard's operates as a postgraduate society 'without walls'.
  • The colleges of the former University of Paris were suppressed after the French Revolution. In the twentieth century, the university was split into 13 institutions (Paris I - Paris XIII). Some of these universities are currently in the process of forming new collegiate systems, such as Sorbonne Paris Cité University, Sorbonne Universities and HéSam.
  • At the University of Coimbra, independent colleges much like the Oxbridge ones were created throughout the 16th, 17th and 18th centuries. They were abolished with the extinction of religious orders in 1836.

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