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Language tip of the week: college

Learn English with Macmillan DictionaryIn this weekly post, we bring more useful content from the Macmillan Dictionary to English language learners. These tips are usually based on areas of English which learners find difficult, e.g. spelling, grammar, collocation, synonyms, usage, etc.

This week’s language tip helps with the differences in usage in American and British English of the word college:



In the UK, a college usually means a place where students over the age of 16 are trained in a particular subject or skill, earning a qualification that is not usually an academic degree. People studying for an academic degree go to a university, also informally called a uni.

However, a place in the UK that gives students degrees in one particular subject is also called a college:

art/agricultural college
the Royal College of Music

In the US, a college is a place where students can earn a bachelor’s degree (=first degree), and a university offers both bachelor’s degrees and advanced degrees.

In some UK universities, a college is one of the parts that make up the university, providing students with accommodation and other services. In a few universities the colleges also provide tuition, but they do not award degrees.

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Liz Potter

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