Higher education

Higher education (also called post-secondary education, third-level or tertiary education) is an optional final stage of formal learning that occurs after completion of secondary education. Often delivered at universities, academies, colleges, seminaries, conservatories, and institutes of technology, higher education is also available through certain college-level institutions, including vocational schools, trade schools, and other career colleges that award academic degrees or professional certifications. Tertiary education at non-degree level is sometimes referred to as further education or continuing education as distinct from higher education. The right of access to higher education is mentioned in a number of international human rights instruments. The UN International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights of 1966 declares, in Article 13, that "higher education shall be made equally accessible to all, on the basis of capacity, by every appropriate means, and in particular by the progressive introduction of free education". In Europe, Article 2 of the First Protocol to the European Convention on Human Rights, adopted in 1950, obliges all signatory parties to guarantee the right to education.

In the days when few pupils progressed beyond primary education or basic education, the term "higher education" was often used to refer to secondary education, which can create some confusion.[6] This is the origin of the term high school for various schools for children between the ages of 14 and 18 (United States) or 11 and 18 (UK and Australia).[7]

Higher education includes teaching, research, exacting applied work (e.g. in medical schools and dental schools), and social services activities of universities.[8] Within the realm of teaching, it includes both the undergraduate level, and beyond that, graduate-level (or postgraduate level). The latter level of education is often referred to as graduate school, especially in North America. In addition to the skills that are specific to any particular degree, potential employers in any profession are looking for evidence of critical thinking and analytical reasoning skills, teamworking skills, information literacy, ethical judgment, decision-making skills, fluency in speaking and writing, problem solving skills, and a wide knowledge of liberal arts and sciences.[9]

Since World War II, developed and many developing countries have increased the participation of the age group who mostly studies higher education from the elite rate, of up to 15 per cent, to the mass rate of 16 to 50 per cent.[10][11][12] In many developed countries, participation in higher education has continued to increase towards universal or, what Trow later called, open access, where over half of the relevant age group participate in higher education.[13] Higher education is important to national economies, both as an industry, in its own right, and as a source of trained and educated personnel for the rest of the economy. College educated workers have commanded a measurable wage premium and are much less likely to become unemployed than less educated workers.[14][15] However, the admission of so many students of only average ability to higher education inevitably requires a decline in academic standards, facilitated by grade inflation.[16][17] Also, the supply of graduates in many fields of study is exceeding the demand for their skills, which aggravates graduate unemployment, underemployment, credentialism and educational inflation.[18][19]

Var 132
The University of al-Qarawiyyin founded by Fatima al-Fihri in Fez, Morocco is the world's oldest existing, continually operating and the first degree awarding institution of higher learning in the world according to UNESCO and Guinness World Records.[1][2]
University of Bologna, located in Bologna, Italy, is the oldest institution of higher education in the Western world.[3][4][5]
College Hall U Penn
The University of Pennsylvania considers itself the first institution in the United States of America to use the term "university" in its name.
The University of Cambridge is an institution of higher learning in Cambridge, United Kingdom.
McGill University Arts Building2
McGill University is an institution of higher learning in Montreal, Quebec, Canada and one of two Canadian members of the Association of American Universities.
Moskva MGU 3
The Moscow State University is an institution of higher learning in Moscow, Russia.
Tsinghua University - Grand auditorium
The Jeffersonian architecture of Tsinghua University, an institution of higher learning in Beijing, China.
University of Tokyo - Gogetsusai 2010
The University of Tokyo is an institution of higher learning in Tokyo, Japan.
Faculdade de Direito da USP 01
The University of São Paulo is an institution of higher learning in São Paulo, Brazil.
NOLA Experience (3853268761)
Students of a U.S. university with their professor on extreme right, 2009


The U.S. system of higher education was heavily influenced by the Humboldtian model of higher education. Wilhelm von Humboldt's educational model goes beyond vocational training. In a letter to the Prussian king, he wrote:

There are undeniably certain kinds of knowledge that must be of a general nature and, more importantly, a certain cultivation of the mind and character that nobody can afford to be without. People obviously cannot be good craftworkers, merchants, soldiers or businessmen unless, regardless of their occupation, they are good, upstanding and – according to their condition – well-informed human beings and citizens. If this basis is laid through schooling, vocational skills are easily acquired later on, and a person is always free to move from one occupation to another, as so often happens in life.[20]

The philosopher Julian Nida-Rümelin criticized discrepancies between Humboldt's ideals and the contemporary European education policy, which narrowly understands education as a preparation for the labor market, and argued that we need to decide between McKinsey and Humboldt.[21]

Entrance standards: reading, mathematics, and writing

Demonstrated ability in reading, mathematics, and writing, as typically measured in the United States by the SAT or similar tests such as the ACT, have often replaced colleges' individual entrance exams, and is often required for admission to higher education.[22] There is some question as to whether advanced mathematical skills or talent are in fact necessary for fields such as history, English, philosophy, or art.[23]



The general higher education and training that takes place in a university, college, or Institute of technology usually includes significant theoretical and abstract elements, as well as applied aspects (although limited offerings of internships or SURF programs attempt to provide practical applications). In contrast, the vocational higher education and training that takes place at vocational universities and schools usually concentrates on practical applications, with very little theory.

In addition, professional-level education is always included within Higher Education, and usually in graduate schools since many postgraduate academic disciplines are both vocationally, professionally, and theoretically/research oriented, such as in the law, medicine, pharmacy, dentistry, and veterinary medicine. A basic requirement for entry into these graduate-level programs is almost always a bachelor's degree, although alternative means of obtaining entry into such programs may be available at some universities. Requirements for admission to such high-level graduate programs is extremely competitive, and admitted students are expected to perform well.

US household wealth by education
Mean financial wealth of U.S. families by education of the head of household, 1989-2010
US household income by education
Mean income of U.S. families by education of the head of household, 1989-2010

When employers in any profession consider hiring a college graduate, they are looking for evidence of critical thinking, analytical reasoning skills, teamworking skills, information literacy, ethical judgment, decision-making skills, communication skills (using both text and speech), problem solving skills, and a wide knowledge of liberal arts and sciences. However, most employers consider the average graduate to be more or less deficient in all of these areas.[24]

In the United States, there are large differences in wages and employment associated with different degrees. Medical doctors and lawyers are generally the highest paid workers, and have among the lowest unemployment rates. Among undergraduate fields of study, science, technology, engineering, math, and business generally offer the highest wages and best chances of employment, while education, communication, and liberal arts degrees generally offer lower wages and a lower likelihood of employment.[14][25]

Liberal arts

Academic areas that are included within the liberal arts include environmental science, great books, history, languages including English, linguistics, literature, mathematics, music, philosophy, political science, psychology, religious studies, science, sociology and theater.


Teaching engineering is teaching the application of scientific, economic, social, and practical knowledge in order to design, build, maintain, and improve structures, machines, devices, systems, materials and processes. It may encompass using insights to conceive, model and scale an appropriate solution to a problem or objective. The discipline of engineering is extremely broad, and encompasses a range of more specialized fields of engineering, each with a more specific emphasis on particular areas of technology and types of application. Engineering disciplines include aerospace, biological, civil, chemical, computer, electrical, industrial, and mechanical.

Performing arts

The performing arts differ from the plastic arts or visual arts, insofar as the former uses the artist's own body, face and presence as a medium; the latter uses materials such as clay, metal or paint, which can be molded or transformed to create a work of art.

Performing arts institutions include circus schools, dance schools, drama schools and music schools.

Plastic or visual arts

The plastic arts or visual arts are a class of art forms, that involve the use of materials, that can be moulded or modulated in some way, often in three dimensions. Examples are painting, sculpture, and drawing.

Higher educational institutions in these arts include film schools and art schools.


Higher vocational education and training takes place at the non-university tertiary level. Such education combines teaching of both practical skills and theoretical expertise. Higher education differs from other forms of post-secondary education such as that offered by institutions of vocational education, which are more colloquially known as trade schools. Higher vocational education might be contrasted with education in a usually broader scientific field, which might concentrate on theory and abstract conceptual knowledge.

Professional higher education

This describes a distinct form of higher education that offers a particularly intense integration with the world of work in all its aspects (including teaching, learning, research and governance) and at all levels of the overarching Qualifications Framework of the European Higher Education Area. Its function is to diversify learning opportunities, enhance employability, offer qualifications and stimulate innovation, for the benefit of learners and society.

The intensity of integration with the world of work (which includes enterprise, civil society and the public sector) is manifested by a strong focus on application of learning. This approach involves combining phases of work and study, a concern for employability, cooperation with employers, the use of practice-relevant knowledge and use-inspired research.[26]

Examples of providers of professional higher education may include graduate colleges of architecture, business, journalism, law, library science, optometry, pharmacy, public policy, human medicine, professional engineering, podiatric medicine, scientific dentistry, K-12 education, and veterinary medicine.


A report titled 'Education at a Glance 2014' published by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development on 9 September 2014, revealed that by 2014, 84 percent of young people were completing upper secondary education over their lifetimes, in high-income countries. Tertiary-educated individuals were earning twice as much as median workers. In contrast to historical trends in education, young women were more likely to complete upper secondary education than young men. Additionally, access to education was expanding and growth in the number of people receiving university education was rising sharply. By 2014, close to 40 percent of people aged 25–34 (and around 25 percent of those aged 55–64), were being educated at university.[27]

Recognition of studies

The Lisbon Recognition Convention stipulates that degrees and periods of study must be recognised in all of the Signatory Parties of the Convention.

As employers

2015-04-23 Kirylo Cope DSC0072
University governance generally involves input from the Faculty. Here James D. Kirylo, president of Southeastern Louisiana University's Faculty Senate confers with Kevin L. Cope, president of the LSU Faculty Senate and president of the Association of Louisiana Faculty Senates, during a 2015 panel presentation in Hammond on university funding issues for Fiscal Year 2016.

Universities may employ a number of people. Depending on the funding, a university typically hires one teacher per 3–25 students. According to the ideal of research-university, the university teaching staff is actively involved in the research of the institution. In addition, the university usually also has dedicated research staff and a considerable support staff. Typically to work in higher education as a member of the academic faculty, a candidate must first obtain a doctorate in an academic field, although some lower teaching positions require only a master's degree.

Most of the administrative staff works in different administrative sections, such as Student Affairs. In addition, there may be central support units, such as a university library which have a dedicated staff.[28]

The professional field involving the collection, analysis, and reporting of higher education data is called institutional research. Professionals in this field can be found at locations in addition to universities, e.g. state educational departments.

Post-secondary institutions also employ graduate students in various assistantship roles. In the US, close to 50% of graduate students are employed as graduate assistants at some point. These apprenticeship-like positions provide opportunities for students to gain experience in, and exposure to, professional roles in exchange for funding of their academic programs.[29]

Recent controversy

From the early 1950s to the present, more and more people in the United States have gone on to pursue degrees or certificates of higher education. However this has sparked some debate in recent years as some advocates say that a degree is not what it was once worth to employers. To clarify some advocates say that the financial costs that universities require from their students has gone up so dramatically that it is leaving many students in debt of loans of an average of $37,172[30] compared to 2000, where the average debt students graduated with was $16,928.[31] In the United States there is an estimated 44 million Americans with a combined $1.3 trillion student loan debt.[32] Advocates advise parents to not send their children to college unless these children are committed to pursuing their future education. An increasing number of freshman every year drop out of their perspective programs or do not possess the maturity to have a balanced life away from home.[33] Higher education has faced more challenges than ever before. It is often accused of such high fees that many students from poor families can’t afford the courses without loans. Some people also criticize that educational resources and fund are distributed unequally between college students and vocational school students. Moreover, advocates, including Charles Murray, claim that people have different experiences, intelligence level and abilities, and therefore going to college is not the best choice for everyone. Even for those who do have some kind of academic abilities, higher education may not be an appropriate choice, because not all the people are qualified enough for the challenging college work and life. Moreover, since their capacity is limited, it is very likely that they would not enjoy their higher education experience. Charles Murray believes that many of these people are not well prepared for college life, but simply follow the mainstream of the society, or are forced to make the choice of receiving higher education under the pressure of their parents and the society.[34]

More and more critics also appear regarding the weaknesses of liberal education in the form of a brick-and-mortar campus. Charles Murray, for example, pointed out that with the development of the internet, the scholarship that flourishes through colleagueships no longer exists, because the scholars could now be informed with the most up-to-date publications in a specific field, and use other scholars’ ideas for reference now. According to these scholars, the four-year brick-and-mortar residential college fail to teach the students to make a living. Colleges should be a place for people to learn how to make a living instead of a place that simply offers 32 semester-long courses. The classrooms in these colleges are inefficient, and people could learn more quickly by themselves. In order to become skillful and professional in a certain area, 32 course are too many. Moreover, work experiences are more important than course work for some of the occupations including high-school teacher and journalist. Next, most academic sources such as technical journals and books are available and searchable online for a price or for free now. Therefore, libraries in the colleges only provide a pleasant surrounding for students to study nowadays. The system of colleagueships, which is the basic for colleges, is fading. With the development of science and technology, the scholars could now contact and communicate with each other using emails and the internet. Moreover, they could get updated with the latest academic news and information in every field. Therefore, the physical proximity is no longer an advantage of a brick-and-mortar college. Additionally, the technology of distance learning now enables students to communicate with the teachers online. Students could purchase online courses or videotape in order to learn something. As a result, colleges lost its advantage to some extent. [35]

However, the interaction between teachers and students are not easy in distant learning. Moreover, statistics from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics indicate that the college educated are employed at a rate nearly twice that of the national average when compared to high school graduates.[36] The type of degree one pursues will determine how safe and prosperous his/her career path is. A study published by the Pew Charitable Trusts, shows that among Americans ages 21 to 24, the drop in employment and income was much steeper among people who lacked a college degree. "Among those whose highest degree was a high school diploma, only 55% had jobs even before the downturn, and that fell to 47% after it. For young people with an associates degree, the employment rate fell from 64 to 57. Bachelor's degree slipped from 69 to 65."[37] Professor Lisa Kahn of Yale stated that people who graduated from college in the most recent recession were in a position to gain better security than others.

Moreover, in recent years, with the rapid development of the science and technology, there has been an increasing demand for higher education. People receive systematic training through higher education, which means that they not only acquire knowledge, but also improve their research ability and learning skills in college. Higher education does not only benefit individuals, but also play an important role in the current skilled labor market, as education level has become one of the recruiting requirements. Andrew Delbanco, for example, has mentioned in his article that college degrees had already replaced high school diplomas and become the minimum requirement in the job market. Many employers believe that employees with higher educational levels tend to be more effective and efficient at work, because they have acquired specialized knowledge in a certain area as well as the ability to do research and solve problems independently. Since the college degree reflects a person’s education level, it is not surprising that one with a higher education would earn more[38]. As a result, people benefit from higher education and are able to maintain and improve competitiveness in a highly competitive society. Accordingly, the world would develop faster with a workforce of higher skill levels.

Current Situation

Higher education has been taken various measures to provide students with more equal chances and resources. Many colleges have developed and constantly improved the financial aid system for the students with financial issues or even unforeseen financial difficulties in order to provide them with an equal opportunity to receive education. Some colleges choose to reduce or even waive the tuition fees for students who have an excellent academic performance. Some have set many awards and scholarships to help those who are in need or who perform well in all kinds of activities. Others offer on-campus job opportunities to students in the form of teaching assistant, research assistant, or tutor. This is an ideal strategy in my viewpoint because it not only solves the financial problem for students with poor background, but also allows students to practice university teaching in a professional manner. For example, Georgia State University supports students from poor families in all aspects to complete their studies. Originally, the university was regarded as a night school that was unremarkable. However, in order to help those who dropped out due to financial issues, the school has developed a series of linked programs in regard to the financial difficulties faced by those poor students who possessed less resources. It is obvious that the strategies are quite effective. For example, from 2011 on, the school has offered an one time reward of a few hundred dollars to student who cannot afford their tuitions. As Georgia State was working on retaining these low-income students, rather than just enrolling them, the graduation rate of the university has increased by 22 percent from 2003 to 2017.[39] As more students were graduating with fewer financial concerns, the university has increased its reputation, attracted more students, and received more state fund in return. In short, higher education has made an effort to achieve the real equal education in the financial aspect, and it is a virtuous circle to provide the financial aid to students. Colleges have also worked on providing students with resources that were once only accessible or available to those wealthy students. Many colleges provide students with paid software for free.

Also some colleges have introduced the concept of online library with e-books available to enrolled students for free. Moreover, colleges have provided all kinds of resources such as career planning courses and advisors to students who have problems with their future plan. Traditionally wealthy students would get more information in terms of careers and occupations. However, with the measures taken by higher education in order to provide more useful resources, now all the students have a more equal chance in the face of career choices. Additionally, many colleges have provided students with counseling and psychological resources so that they can better cope with stress and relieve the pressure they get in study and daily life. Research study has indicated that there is a close relationship between counseling experience and student retention. In other words, students who receive the psychological counseling services provided in higher education are more likely to stay enrolled in school[40]. Therefore, the measures taken by higher education of providing various resources prove to be effective and efficient in helping students getting an equal chance of education.

Additionally, in order to benefit a wider population and provide an opportunity to those who are restricted by time and financial conditions but are willing to learn by themselves, many elite universities, such as Yale, Stanford and MIT, have offered massive open online courses, generally known as MOOCs, to make the resources of higher education available to an increasing number of students. In the article “They Year of The MOOC” on New York Times, Aaura Pappano mentioned that back in early 2000s, MOOCs had already been used as teaching aids. However, in 2012, MOOC experienced an explosive development, and a great number of elite universities participate in such events.[41]The majority of these open courses are available on the internet, providing more opportunities to students who want to learn what they are interested in. Literally everyone with internet access could enroll in these courses. Although the interaction between the faculty and students may be limited, the courses are usually well designed to make sure that all the knowledge points are explained in detail. Also students who come from the same cities have formed study groups with the help of internet. By this way, the remarkable achievements of higher education benefit a wider population and save many resources such as facilities, time and energy. To some extent, higher education today is not restricted by time and space anymore with the development of MOOCs and other online courses.

See also


  1. ^ Oldest University
  2. ^ Verger, Jacques: "Patterns", in: Ridder-Symoens, Hilde de (ed.): A History of the University in Europe. Vol. I: Universities in the Middle Ages, Cambridge University Press, 2003, ISBN 978-0-521-54113-8, pp. 35–76 (35)
  3. ^ Top Universities World University Rankings Retrieved 2010-1-6
  4. ^ Our History - Università di Bologna
  5. ^ Paul L. Gaston (2010). The Challenge of Bologna. p. 18. ISBN 978-1-57922-366-3. External link in |title= (help)
  6. ^ For example, Higher Education: General and Technical, a 1933 National Union of Teachers pamphlet by Lord Eustace Percy, which is actually about secondary education and uses the two terms interchangeably.
  7. ^ [1]
  8. ^ Pucciarelli F., Kaplan Andreas M. (2016) Competition and Strategy in Higher Education: Managing Complexity and Uncertainty, Business Horizons, Volume 59
  9. ^ "Employers Judge Recent Graduates Ill-Prepared for Today's Workplace, Endorse Broad and Project-Based Learning as Best Preparation for Career Opportunity and Long-Term Success" (Press release). Washington, DC: Association of American Colleges and Universities. 20 January 2015. Retrieved 11 April 2017.
  10. ^ Trow, Martin (1973) Problems in the transition from elite to mass higher education. Carnegie Commission on Higher Education, Berkeley, http://www.eric.ed.gov/ERICWebPortal/search/detailmini.jsp?_nfpb=true&_&ERICExtSearch_SearchValue_0=ED091983&ERICExtSearch_SearchType_0=no&accno=ED091983, accessed 1 August 2013
  11. ^ Brennan, John (2004) The social role of the contemporary university: contradictions, boundaries and change, in Center for Higher Education Research and Information (ed.)
  12. ^ Ten years on: changing education in a changing world (Buckingham: The Open University Press), https://www.open.ac.uk/cheri/documents/ten-years-on.pdf, accessed 9 February 2014
  13. ^ Trow, Martin (2007) [2005] Reflections on the transition from elite to mass to universal access: forms and phases of higher education in modern societies since WWII, Springer International Handbooks of Education volume 18, 2007, 243-280
  14. ^ a b "Risk-Based Student Loans". 2011-09-05. SSRN 1941070.
  15. ^ OECD, Education at a Glance (2011)
  16. ^ Cote, James; Allahar, Anton (2007), Ivory Tower Blues: A University System in Crisis, University of Toronto Press, p. 256, ISBN 978-0802091819
  17. ^ Arum, Richard; Roska, Josipa (2011), Academically Adrift: Limited Learning on College Campuses, University of Chicago Press, p. 272, ISBN 978-0226028569
  18. ^ Barshay, Jill (4 August 2014). "Reflections on the underemployment of college graduates". Hechniger Report. Teachers College at Columbia University. Retrieved 30 March 2015.
  19. ^ Coates, Ken; Morrison, Bill (2016), Dream Factories: Why Universities Won't Solve the Youth Jobs Crisis, Toronto: Dundurn Press, p. 232, ISBN 978-1459733770
  20. ^ Günther, Karl-Heinz (1988). "Profiles of educators: Wilhelm von Humboldt (1767–1835)". Prospects. 18: 127–136. doi:10.1007/BF02192965.
  21. ^ Nida-Rümelin, Julian (29 October 2009). "Bologna-Prozess: Die Chance zum Kompromiss ist da". Die Zeit (in German). Retrieved 29 November 2015.
  22. ^ O'Shaughnessy, Lynn (26 July 2009). "The Other Side of 'Test Optional'". The New York Times. p. 6. Retrieved 22 June 2011.
  23. ^ Andrew Hacker (July 28, 2012). "Is Algebra Necessary?". The New York Times. Retrieved July 29, 2012.
  24. ^ "Employers Judge Recent Graduates Ill-Prepared for Today's Workplace, Endorse Broad and Project-Based Learning as Best Preparation for Career Opportunity and Long-Term Success" (Press release). Washington, DC: Association of American Colleges and Universities. 20 January 2015. Retrieved 11 April 2017.
  25. ^ "The Economic Value of College Majors" (Press release). Georgetown University. May 2015. Retrieved 17 August 2016.
  26. ^ "Harmonising Approaches to Professional Higher Education in Europe". Harmonising Approaches to Professional Higher Education in Europe. EURASHE. 2013. Retrieved 2014-10-17.
  27. ^ Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (September 2014). "Higher levels of education paying off for young, says OECD". Retrieved September 11, 2014.
  28. ^ "Cornell University Library Staff Web". Retrieved 8 January 2013.
  29. ^ Haley, K., Hephner LaBanc, B., & Koutas, P. (2011). New school, new job, new life: Transitions of graduate assistants in student affairs. Journal of College Orientation and Transition, 18(2), 5 - 19.
  30. ^ "U.S. Student Loan Debt Statistics for 2017 | Student Loan Hero". Student Loan Hero. Retrieved 2017-12-09.
  31. ^ "Student debt increasingly unmanagable - Mar. 8, 2002". money.cnn.com. Retrieved 2017-12-09.
  32. ^ Friedman, Zack. "Student Loan Debt In 2017: A $1.3 Trillion Crisis". Forbes. Retrieved 2017-12-09.
  33. ^ "Some Career Pathways Require a Four-Year Degree, Many Don't - US News". US News & World Report. Retrieved 2015-10-11.
  34. ^ "Are Too Many People Going to College?". AEI. 2008-09-08. Retrieved 2019-04-27.
  35. ^ "Are Too Many People Going to College?". AEI. 2008-09-08. Retrieved 2019-04-27.
  36. ^ "U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics". www.bls.gov. Retrieved 2015-10-11.
  37. ^ Pérez-peña, Richard (2013-01-09). "Study Shows College Degree's Value During Economic Downturn". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2015-10-11.
  38. ^ "3 reasons college still matters - The Boston Globe". BostonGlobe.com. Retrieved 2019-04-27.
  39. ^ Fausset, Richard (2018-05-15). "Georgia State, Leading U.S. in Black Graduates, Is Engine of Social Mobility". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2019-04-27.
  40. ^ Lee, Donghyuck; Olson, Elizabeth A.; Locke, Ben; Michelson, Sandra Testa; Odes, Eleonora (2009). "The Effects of College Counseling Services on Academic Performance and Retention". Journal of College Student Development. 50 (3): 305–319. doi:10.1353/csd.0.0071. ISSN 1543-3382.
  41. ^ Pappano, Laura (2012-11-02). "Massive Open Online Courses Are Multiplying at a Rapid Pace". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2019-04-27.


External links

Preceded by
Grade 13
Higher education
age varies (usually 18-22)
Succeeded by
Graduate school
Academic degree

An academic degree is a qualification awarded to students upon successful completion of a course of study in higher education, usually at a college or university. These institutions commonly offer degrees at various levels, usually including bachelor's, master’s and doctorates, often alongside other academic certificates and professional degrees. The most common undergraduate degree is the bachelor's degree, although in some countries lower qualifications are titled degrees (e.g. associate degrees in the US or foundation degrees in the UK) while in others a higher-level first degree is more usual.


A college (Latin: collegium) is an educational institution or a constituent part of one. A college may be a degree-awarding tertiary educational institution, a part of a collegiate or federal university, an institution offering vocational education or a secondary school.

In the United States, "college" may refer to a constituent part of a university or to a degree-awarding tertiary educational institution, but generally "college" and "university" are used interchangeably, whereas in the United Kingdom, Oceania, South Asia, Southern Africa and Canada, "college" may refer to a secondary or high school, a college of further education, a training institution that awards trade qualifications, a higher education provider that does not have university status (often without its own degree-awarding powers), or a constituent part of a university (See this comparison of British and American English educational terminology for further information).

College and university rankings

College and university rankings are rankings of institutions in higher education which have been ranked on the basis of various combinations of various factors. None of the rankings give a comprehensive overview of the strengths of the institutions ranked because all select a range of easily quantifiable characteristics to base their results on. Rankings have most often been conducted by magazines, newspapers, websites, governments, or academics. In addition to ranking entire institutions, organizations perform rankings of specific programs, departments, and schools. Various rankings consider combinations of measures of funding and endowment, research excellence and/or influence, specialization expertise, admissions, student options, award numbers, internationalization, graduate employment, industrial linkage, historical reputation and other criteria. Various rankings mostly evaluating on institutional output by research. Some rankings evaluate institutions within a single country, while others assess institutions worldwide. The subject has produced much debate about rankings' usefulness and accuracy. The expanding diversity in rating methodologies and accompanying criticisms of each indicate the lack of consensus in the field. Further, it seems possible to game the ranking systems through excessive self-citations or by researchers supporting each other in surveys. UNESCO has questioned whether rankings "do more harm than good", while acknowledging that "Rightly or wrongly, they are perceived as a measure of quality and so create intense competition between universities all over the world".


A diploma is a certificate or deed issued by an educational institution, such as college or university, that testifies that the recipient has successfully completed a particular course of study. The word diploma also refers to an academic award which is given after the completion of study in different courses such as diploma in higher education, diploma in graduation or diploma in post graduation etc. Historically, it can also refer to a charter or official document, thus diplomatic, diplomat and diplomacy via the Codex Juris Gentium Diplomaticus.The diploma (as a document certifying a qualification) may also be called a testamur, Latin for "we testify" or "certify" (testari), so called from the word with which the certificate begins; this is commonly used in Australia to refer to the document certifying the award of a degree. Alternatively, this document can simply be referred to as a degree certificate or graduation certificate, or as a parchment. The certificate that a Nobel laureate receives is also called a diploma.

The term diploma is also used in some historical contexts, to refer to documents signed by a King affirming a grant or tenure of specified land and its conditions (see Anglo-Saxon Charters and Diplomatics).

Education in Jordan

Jordan prides itself on its advanced education system. Jordanians are well educated since education is considered a core value in Jordanian culture. Jordan has the highest ratio of researchers in Research and Development among all 57 Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) member states. In Jordan, there are 8060 researchers per million people, higher than the EU average of 6494, and much higher than the world average of 2532 per million.Jordan provides a higher proportion of its public budget for education than most countries in the world. In 2003, the share of the budget allocated to education was 6.4% of total government expenditure; education spending as a percentage of GDP was 13.5% in the same year. Jordan had one of the highest literacy rates in world at about 97.9% in 2012, which increased to 98.01% in 2015, and is expected to reach almost 100% by 2020. The primary gross enrollment ratio has reached 100% by 2007 for both girls and boys combined. The primary to secondary transition rate has reached 98.79% as of 2013, and the rate of transition to higher education is 85% of secondary school graduates. Along with these high enrollment and transition rates, Jordan has achieved a full parity in all education levels since 1999 and has maintained that parity since then. On the sub-indices for enrollment in secondary and tertiary education, Jordan ranked number one out of 142 countries.Jordan is ranked 80 out of 188 in the Human Development Index. Despite strained resources, the Ministry of Education developed a highly advanced national curriculum and many other nations in the region have developed their education system using Jordan as a model. Jordan ranks number one in the Arab World in education. The Jordanian Ministry of Education is now making it mandatory for students to be computer literate and able to apply their studies in computers to their regular studies, most especially the scientific and mathematical courses. Jordan's educational system meets international standards and its secondary education diploma is accepted in world-class universities.

Educational institution

An educational institution is a place where people of different ages gain an education. Examples of some institutions are preschools, primary schools, secondary schools, and further and higher education. They provide a large variety of learning environments and learning spaces. The institution can be public, private or unconventional.

The American Educational System typically divides learning facilities by an age grade system. Students are designated to a grade level based on their age, advancing one grade each year. They are required to learn and do tasks at this level or they will be set back a grade. This designation determines what educational institution would be an appropriate setting for the individual student.

Higher education in the United States

Higher education in the United States is an optional stage of formal learning following secondary education. Higher education, also referred to as post-secondary education, third-stage, third-level, or tertiary education occurs most commonly at one of the 4,360 Title IV degree-granting institutions, either colleges or universities in the country. These may be public universities, private universities, liberal arts colleges, community colleges, or for-profit colleges. US higher education is loosely regulated by several third-party organizations varying in quality.High-visibility issues include college affordability, rising tuition and increasing student loan debt, unfair admissions and academic cheating,

greater use of online education, competency-based education,

free speech and hate speech, bullying of students in higher education,fraternity hazing, campus sexual assault, cutbacks in state and local spending, the adjunctification of academic labor,

and student poverty and hunger.According to the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) and National Student Clearinghouse, college enrollment has declined since a peak in 2010–11 and is projected to continue declining or be stagnant for the next two decades.In 2018, U21, a network of research-intensive universities, ranked the US first globally for overall higher education, but only 15th when GDP was factored into the equation. Accounting for GDP, the top 10 nations for higher education in 2018 were Finland, the United Kingdom, Serbia, Denmark, Sweden, Portugal, Switzerland, South Africa, Israel and New Zealand.Strong research funding helped elite American universities dominate global rankings in the early 21st century, making them attractive to international students, professors and researchers. Other countries, though, are offering incentives to compete for researchers as funding is threatened in the US and US dominance of international tables has lessened.The system has also been blighted by fly-by-night schools, diploma mills, visa mills, and predatory for-profit colleges. There have been some attempts to reform the system through federal policy such as gainful employment regulations, but they have been met by resistance.According to Pew Research Center and Gallup poll surveys, public opinion about colleges has been declining, especially among Republicans and the white working class. The higher education industry has been criticized for being unnecessarily expensive, providing a difficult-to-measure service which is seen as vital but in which providers are paid for inputs instead of outputs, which is beset with federal regulations that drive up costs, and payments coming from third parties, not users. In a 2018 Pew survey, 61 percent of those polled said that US higher education was headed in the wrong direction. A 2019 Gallup survey found that, among graduates who strongly felt a purpose in life was important, "only 40 percent said they had found a meaningful career after college."The US is unique in its investment in highly competitive NCAA sports, particularly in American football and basketball, with large sports stadiums and arenas.

List of universities in Switzerland

This list of universities in Switzerland lists all 12 Swiss universities (10 cantonal universities and 2 federal institutes of technology) and a number of public Swiss Universities of Applied Sciences and other education institutions, as higher education institutions. The Swiss law on publicly financed universities, the Swiss University Conference and its accreditation body the CRUS-OAQ is responsible for their recognition according to the Federal Higher Education Act, HEdA.

Monterrey Institute of Technology and Higher Education

Instituto Tecnológico y de Estudios Superiores de Monterrey (ITESM) (in English: Monterrey Institute of Technology and Higher Education), also known as Tecnológico de Monterrey or simply as Tec, is a private, nonsectarian and coeducational multi-campus university based in Monterrey, Mexico. Founded in 1943 by industrialists in the city of Monterrey, ITESM has since grown to include 31 campuses in 25 cities throughout the country, becoming the most recognized in Latin America. ITESM was the first university to be connected to the Internet in Latin America and the Spanish-speaking world, having the top-ranked business school in the region according to the Economist and being one of the leaders in patent applications among Mexican universities. The medical school offers the only MD-PhD program available in Mexico, in partnership with the Houston Methodist Hospital.

Private university

Private universities (and private colleges) are typically not operated by governments, although many receive tax breaks, public student loans, and grants. Depending on their location, private universities may be subject to government regulation. This is in contrast to public universities and national universities. Many private universities are non-profit organizations.

Public university

A public university is a university that is publicly owned or receives significant public funds through a national or subnational government, as opposed to a private university. Whether a national university is considered public varies from one country (or region) to another, largely depending on the specific education landscape.

Research university

A research university is a university that is committed to research as a central part of its mission. It does not matter whether the institution is public or private, or how the research is funded. Such universities have a strong focus on research and often have well known names. Undergraduate courses at many research universities are often academic rather than vocational and may not prepare students for particular careers, but many employers value degrees from research universities because they teach fundamental life skills such as critical thinking. Globally, research universities are predominantly public universities, with notable exceptions being the United States and Japan.Institutions of higher education that are not research universities (or do not aspire to that designation, such as liberal arts colleges) instead place more emphasis on student instruction or other aspects of tertiary education, and their faculties are under less pressure to publish or perish.

It is also possible for a research university to combine both functions, hosting in effect a liberal arts college for undergraduates while maintaining a heavy focus on research in its graduate degree programs, as is commonplace in the American Ivy League institutions.

Système universitaire de documentation

The système universitaire de documentation or SUDOC is a system used by the libraries of French universities and higher education establishments to identify, track and manage the documents in their possession. The catalog, which contains more than 10 million references, allows students and researcher to search for bibliographical and location information in over 3,400 documentation centers. It is maintained by the Bibliographic Agency for Higher Education (ABES).

Tertiary education

Tertiary education, also referred to as third-level, third-stage or postsecondary education, is the educational level following the completion of a school providing a secondary education. The World Bank, for example, defines tertiary education as including universities as well as trade schools and colleges. Higher education is taken to include undergraduate and postgraduate education, while vocational education beyond secondary education is known as further education in the United Kingdom, or continuing education in the United States.

Tertiary education generally culminates in the receipt of certificates, diplomas, or academic degrees.

The UNESCO stated that tertiary education focuses on learning endeavors in specialized fields. It includes academic and higher vocational education.The World Bank's 2019 World Development Report on the future of work argues that given the future of work and the increasing role of technology in value chains, tertiary education becomes even more relevant for workers to compete in the labor market.

The Chronicle of Higher Education

The Chronicle of Higher Education is a newspaper and website that presents news, information, and jobs for college and university faculty and student affairs professionals (staff members and administrators). A subscription is required to read some articles.The Chronicle, based in Washington, D.C., is a major news service in United States academic affairs. It is published every weekday online and appears weekly in print except for every other week in June, July, and August and the last three weeks in December (a total of 42 issues a year). In print, The Chronicle is published in two sections: section A with news and job listings, and section B, The Chronicle Review, a magazine of arts and ideas.

It also publishes The Chronicle of Philanthropy, a newspaper for the nonprofit world; The Chronicle Guide to Grants, an electronic database of corporate and foundation grants; and the web portal Arts & Letters Daily.

Times Higher Education

Times Higher Education (THE), formerly The Times Higher Education Supplement (THES), is a weekly magazine based in London, reporting specifically on news and issues related to higher education. It is the United Kingdom's leading publication in its field.

Times Higher Education World University Rankings

Times Higher Education World University Rankings is an annual publication of university rankings by Times Higher Education (THE) magazine. The publisher had collaborated with Quacquarelli Symonds (QS) to publish the joint THE–QS World University Rankings from 2004 to 2009 before it turned to Thomson Reuters for a new ranking system. The publication now comprises the world's overall, subject, and reputation rankings, alongside three regional league tables, Asia, Latin America, and BRICS & Emerging Economies which are generated by different weightings.

THE Rankings is often considered as one of the most widely observed university rankings together with Academic Ranking of World Universities and QS World University Rankings. It is praised for having a new, improved ranking methodology since 2010; however, undermining of non-science and non-English instructing institutions and relying on subjective reputation survey are among the criticism and concerns.


A university (Latin: universitas, 'a whole') is an institution of higher (or tertiary) education and research which awards academic degrees in various academic disciplines. Universities typically provide 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". While antecedents had existed in Asia and Africa, the modern university system has roots in the European medieval university, which was created in Italy and evolved from cathedral schools for the clergy during the High Middle Ages.

University Grants Commission (India)

The University Grants Commission of India (UGC India) is a statutory body set up by the Indian Union government in accordance to the UGC Act 1956 under Ministry of Human Resource Development, and is charged with coordination, determination and maintenance of standards of higher education. It provides recognition to universities in India, and disbursements of funds to such recognised universities and colleges. Its headquarters is in New Delhi, and has six regional centres in Pune, Bhopal, Kolkata, Hyderabad, Guwahati and Bangalore.UGC is modelled after University Grants Committee of UK which was an advisory committee of the British government and advised on the distribution of grant funding amongst the British universities. The committee was in existence from 1919 until 1989.

Levels of academic degree
Higher education by region
School types
By educational stage
By funding / eligibility
By style of education
By scope
Stages of formal education

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