A Civilization advance.
In the Middle Ages, some royal governments and ecclesiastical organizations founded exclusive schools dedicated to training young men in specific professions. At that time, every university specialized in a single topic, like law, theology, music, or medicine. A modern university consists of several faculties, or colleges, each of which has a specific curriculum. Then as now, the university was a center for basic research.
Prerequisites: Mathematics and Philosophy.
Allows for: Theory of Gravity, Chemistry, and Metallurgy.

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As Webster's definition suggests, universities differ in several ways from colleges; however, his writeup doesn't really capture the modern use of the term.

Many people think of a college as "an institution that grants only bachelors' degrees," but the technical definition is "an institution that bestows degrees in one particular field of study." So a undergraduate liberal-arts institution like Swarthmore is a college--but so is a medical school or a law school or a divinity school. (The latter are usually called "schools," "institutes," or occasionally "faculties," so people will often look at you oddly if you say you're in "graduate college.") Along the same lines, people sometimes think that any institution that grants graduate degrees is a university, but that isn't true either. Thus, some colleges (such as Middlebury) offer MA degrees as well as BAs, and others (such as the Medical College of Wisconsin) offer no undergraduate degrees at all.

In the US, a university is almost always a collection of two or more colleges, one of which is usually a graduate institution. Thus a university may actually contain several colleges.

Exceptions include Dartmouth College, which has medical and business schools, and Rockefeller University, which only offers PhD degrees.

In New Zealand universities are institutions that offer and confer both under-graduate and graduate degrees, in a number of different fields of study. For example, Victoria University (in Wellington), includes faculties in the Arts, Humanities, Science, and Law. There are no 'colleges' as such.

To (further) confuse matters, colleges in New Zealand refer to high schools!

In Civilization and Civilization II, the University is a City Improvement related to knowledge production, boosting the knowledge production in the city it is built in by 50%. The improvement requires the university knowledge advance, and a good amount of production squares. It also requires that a library already be built in that city.

Everything that could be said about a library can also be said about a university, that is, that any city that has the resources to build a library, and will benefit from the bonus, perhaps doesn't need it all that much. Since a university is somewhat expensive to maintain, a city must already be producing quite a bit of knowledge for the benefit to be worthwhile.

I find myself mostly building universities fairly late in the game, and then more for the long term goal of getting Future Tech advances for score then to win in the knowledge race against other Civilizations. If I do build universities early on, it is because I have a small amount of large cities, or have switched to an advanced form of government early on.

Unlike the USA, universities in the UK are rarely a collection of colleges. The only universities (to my knowledge, and having researched which one to attend only two years ago, I think I might know) are Oxford, Cambridge, London, and Durham.

Universities are institutions licenced by the Queen (i.e. the Privy Council secretariat) to a) Award degrees b) Call themselves universities. These are the only requirements. A college here (and in this context, for the term is also applied to non degree-awarding schools which kids don't have to go to unless they want to) is an institution franchised by a university to award degrees. For instance, University of Southampton used to be University College Southampton, a college of the University of London, like say SOAS. However, non-collegiate universities, like Bristol also franchise, so University of Gloucestershire used to be franchised by Bristol.

Colleges in collegiate universities (Those mentioned in the first paragraph) other than London, also do not award their own degrees. In these universities, colleges have certain administrative and pastoral roles (This phrase does not do justice to the importance of the colleges in these universities), while their academic staff will also be associated with various academic faculties and departments of the university. Degree certicates will not bear the name of the college that the student belonged to (Except at London, where colleges are much more independant).

U`ni*ver"si*ty (?), n.; pl. Universities (#). [OE. universite, L. universitas all together, the whole, the universe, a number of persons associated into one body, a society, corporation, fr. universus all together, universal: cf. F. universit'e. See Universe.]


The universe; the whole.


Dr. H. More.


An association, society, guild, or corporation, esp. one capable of having and acquiring property.


The universities, or corporate bodies, at Rome were very numerous. There were corporations of bakers, farmers of the revenue, scribes, and others. Eng. Cyc.


An institution organized and incorporated for the purpose of imparting instruction, examining students, and otherwise promoting education in the higher branches of literature, science, art, etc., empowered to confer degrees in the several arts and faculties, as in theology, law, medicine, music, etc. A university may exist without having any college connected with it, or it may consist of but one college, or it may comprise an assemblage of colleges established in any place, with professors for instructing students in the sciences and other branches of learning.

The present universities of Europe were, originally, the greater part of them, ecclesiastical corporations, instituted for the education of churchmen . . . What was taught in the greater part of those universities was suitable to the end of their institutions, either theology or something that was merely preparatory to theology. A. Smith.

From the Roman words universitas, collegium, corpus, are derived the terms university, college, and corporation, of modern languages; and though these words have obtained modified significations in modern times, so as to indifferently applicable to the same things, they all agree in retaining the fundamental signification of the terms, whatever may have been added to them. There is now no university, college, or corporation, which is not a juristical person in the sense above explained [see def. 2, above]; wherever these words are applied to any association of persons not stamped with this mark, it is an abuse of terms.

Eng. Cyc.


© Webster 1913.

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