US colleges and universities

While the terms “college” and “university” are not identical, they are often used interchangeably in the United States. Usually colleges offer a four-year program of study leading to undergraduate degrees. Colleges can exist independently, offering exclusive programs of higher primary education, or be part of a university education which allows you to receive a diploma of higher education or start a complete higher education. Universities pay much attention to research and often include vocational schools, colleges, primary education in the humanities and natural sciences and colleges for the complete college education.

In the US there are more than two thousand traditional four-year colleges and universities, each of which has its own specifics. Each college determines its goals, specialization and rules of admission of students. For example, liberal arts colleges focus on teaching basic subjects such as humanities, social sciences and languages.

In addition to these colleges, there are many other types of higher education institutions. Historically, some colleges to enroll only men, only women or only black students. But many of them are now open to all applicants and knowledgeable. Other colleges with a special focus on religious education. Colleges and universities that train for a career, may have special educational programs or short courses in which students work part-time as a condition for graduation.

How colleges and universities can be public or private

Schools with a high quality of training occur equally among public and among private universities. The main difference between them is the source of funding.

Public universities are divided into two main categories:

Research Universities

Most states have at least one public university to provide educational opportunities in the traditional fields of science and training. These universities, in addition to the initial programs of higher education, pay considerable attention to scientific – research and teaching. Typically, training programs, to a lesser extent related to applied research and more – with the theoretical or “pure” research.

University of “land – grant” and “B – Grant”

This so-called “land” and “sea” universities whose names reflect fully their orientation. Besides providing general training in many areas, these universities have a special focus on the application of knowledge in areas such as agriculture, technology and engineering (“land – grant”) and in marine research (“B – Grant”).

A special group of non-traditional educational institutions, make extensive use of computer technology, ( open universities, etc.).

The best universities of national importance (prestige, competition entry, scientific potential of the faculty, the level of funding) are Harvard, Princeton, Yale, Michigan, Stanford, Columbia, Chicago, California, University of Illinois, and Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Williams College, Amherst College and Wellesley College (Massachusetts), Pomona College (California), Swarthmore College (Pennsylvania), Middlebury College (Vermont), Bowden’s College (Maine). Within this group  qualitative contribution of private universities are still significantly higher than the state.

The academic year at US universities typically lasts 9 months – from the end of August or September to May or June and is in the vast majority of universities from 15 to 16-week semesters, or (in some schools) of the three 10-11-week semesters.

The main form of training sessions is the lectures given for streams sometimes numbering up to thousands of students.

The concept of “academic group” does not exist, because each student has an individual program and attend lectures by choice. Students listen and take notes of the lecturer gave them in the text. This allows the lecturer wide use educational technology, audio-visual equipment, without burdening students redraw the charts, graphs, formulas, etc. Continues lecture from 50 minutes to 2 hours, a change – 10 minutes. Classes start at 8 am, weekends – Saturday and Sunday.

Courses in colleges are divided into two categories of training

  • undergraduate
  • and graduate.

Graduate courses of study – a 4-year cycle of disciplines, the results of the study of which is assigned an academic bachelor’s degree. Traditional subjects to be studied at the graduation level are scientific disciplines, “core”, or general professional, as well as the discipline of their choice.

Usually twice a year, students meet with the curator (adviser), which recommends which subjects to choose in a given specialty, reports, which will host classes. At the end of each semester, students take exams: the shape of their teacher chooses. If a student is doing well during the semester, you can get a  positive evaluation without an exam. Exams and tests can retake several times (students are not subject to dismissal).

To obtain a bachelor’s degree, students must earn a certain number of credits and pass the required examinations.

Unlike BA Master’s degree in the US is focused on specialized activities (music, business management, technology, education, etc.). Persons with a bachelor’s degree should be trained for another 1-2 years to write and defend the “theses” in some universities require knowledge of a foreign language. Abstracts can be viewed as an analytical report or the report of the applicant on his master’s degree research work on the chosen topic, which demonstrates the ability to collect, analyze and summarize, synthesize, and present the material.

The highest stage of excellence is to train doctoral program, focused on clearly specialized training and independent scientific research.

American universities usually have training camps, called campuses. They are educational and laboratory buildings, libraries, dormitories, housing for faculty, catering facilities, sports and cultural facilities.

Classrooms  are equipped with modern technical facilities, including electronic computers, tape recorders, projectors and Closed Circuit Television. Language laboratories are well represented, since the foreign language teaching focuses on conversational practice. Research laboratories constantly updated equipment, allowing to carry out research to date.