University, Classification

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A university (Latin: "universitas", "a whole") is an institution of higher education and research which grants academic degrees in a variety of subjects and provides both undergraduate education and postgraduate education. The word "university" is derived from the Latin universitas magistrorum et scholarium, which roughly means "community of teachers and scholars."


The definition of a university varies widely, even within some countries.

There is no nationally standardized definition of the term in the United States, although the term has traditionally been used to designate research institutions and was once reserved for doctorate-granting research institutions. Some states, such as Massachusetts, will only grant a school "university status" if it grants at least two doctoral degrees.

In the United Kingdom, the Privy Council is responsible for approving the use of the word "university" in the name of an institution, under the terms of the Further and Higher Education Act 1992.

In India, a new designation deemed universities has been created for high-performing universities, giving them additional autonomy. Through this provision many universities that are commercial in nature and have been established just to exploit the demand for higher education have sprung up.

In Canada, "college" generally refers to a two-year, non-degree-granting institution, while "university" connotes a four-year, degree-granting institution. Universities may be sub-classified (as in the Mcleans rankings into large research universities with many PhD granting programs and medical schools (for example, McGill); "comprehensive" universities that have some PhDs but aren't geared toward research (such as Waterloo); and smaller, primarily undergraduate universities (such as St. Francis Xavier).

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