Collegiate Universities

Collegiate universities are higher education institutions that are divided up into a series of different colleges.

The role of these colleges varies from university to university: some function as a mini university within a university, directing learning, providing accommodation and offering pastoral care, while others are more akin to halls of residence.

Oxford & Cambridge…

Oxford and Cambridge are perhaps the most famous collegiate universities. Colleges play a huge role in university life. They are financially independent from the university and consequently have their own unique ethos and environment.

For example, King’s College, Cambridge is known to be slightly more left-wing and alternative, while Caius College is more conservative and traditional.

Most undergraduate students apply to the university through a college and many spend their entire three years at university living in their college or in a college-owned property. Much of the social life revolves around the colleges, as most have their own societies and sports teams. Each college is also partly responsible for teaching, with tutorials and supervisions taking place in college.

Durham University…

The college structure is a little bit different at Durham University. The colleges aren’t financially independent (apart from St Chad’s College, St John’s College and Ushaw College) and don’t have any teaching duties either.

They do, however, play an active role in student pastoral care and each one has its own unique atmosphere. Students also apply to the university through the college system.

Lancaster, York & Kent…

At Lancaster, York and Kent, the collegiate system has been watered down a little bit further. Essentially, all students are just members of different colleges and live in on-campus accommodation that is linked to their college.

However, it would be wrong to call them glorified student halls, as they do play a strong part in the social lives of their students, with their own bars and JCRs.

University of London…

A totally different example of a collegiate university is the University of London, which is a federal university comprising of twenty constituent colleges, such as Birkbeck and UCL.

The colleges perform (pretty much) all of the duties of a university and are almost completely self-governed; although some of the colleges don’t have degree awarding powers.

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