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  1. What is the difference between University vs college vs academy vs institute vs community college?
  2. What are degrees people can get (in order)?
  3. What are the other type of schools? (e.g primary school, kindergarten)?

closed as off-topic by Edwin Ashworth, choster, FumbleFingers, Andrew Leach Aug 6 '14 at 23:03

  • This question does not appear to be about English language and usage within the scope defined in the help center.
If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

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    They are all names for kinds of advanced schools. They mean different things in different countries and areas. They are not fixed by law, except locally, and local laws vary greatly. – John Lawler Aug 6 '14 at 22:44
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    This question appears to be off-topic because it is about the (US?) education system rather than the English language. – Edwin Ashworth Aug 6 '14 at 22:44
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    Welcome to EL&U. This question is far too broad for the format on this site; in fact, any one of your three questions is too broad. Past questions like Difference between “college” and “university” and “When I was in college…” Do you really mean college? Or university? may help, but there is enormous variation from country to country— and often within countries. Various terminology is used for equivalent institutions in some places and very different ones in others. – choster Aug 6 '14 at 22:46
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    The title of this question looks like the announcement for an epic colosseum battle of higher education things. – user85526 Aug 6 '14 at 23:17
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    Who will be victorious in this showdown? MY money's on academy. – user85526 Aug 6 '14 at 23:17
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In the United States

University - Has a connotation of well respected and well known. Secondary and post graduate education

College - Can mean roughly the same as University as well as a general area of study. For example at my University we have a College of Math and Science as well as A College of Engineering, but people also say the are "going to college" when they mean attending University.

Academy - In the United States often denotes pre-college education (High School) but not necessarily. More generic term for school or educational institution. For example the Air Force Academy would be considered a University, but there are many academies in the United States that would be closer to primary schools.

Institute - Even more general, there are many institutes that do not fall under the category of University or even Academy. LDS Institute is an example.

Community College - Local secondary school. Essentially a university but with less prestige associated. People tend to commute to school as they often do not have housing on campus.

Primary School - Schooling that takes place before college or Secondary School (elementary school through High School or GED)

Secondary School - Optional, students in primary schools are often encouraged to attend secondary school but there is no requirement. (Bachelors)

Post-Graduate - Also optional, takes place after secondary school (Masters, Ph.D...)

  • In particular, the United States armed forces have institutes of higher education that grant degree(s) and get you a commission as an officer in the service. These are all called academies: the United States Air Force Academy (which Ian mentioned), the United States Naval Academy, and the United States Military Academy (USMA), which is the Army's academy and is better known by its location (West Point). (I don't know whether they all offer post-graduate education.) – Scott Aug 6 '14 at 23:03
  • 3-Laws-Safe, your answer would be improved if you mention where in the world your definitions apply. They don't in the UK. – Tristan r Aug 11 '14 at 18:53
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    Thought I mentioned it was United States, guess not, thanks for that. – Spaceman Spiff Aug 11 '14 at 18:56
  • That's better now. – Tristan r Aug 11 '14 at 21:43
  • @SpacemanSpiff, ''Post-Graduate - Also optional, takes place after secondary school (Masters, Ph.D...)'' --shouldn't it be post-tertiary education?, because the pre-requisite for Masteral or Ph.Ds is tertiary graduates... – John Arvin Oct 27 '18 at 13:50
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  • A university grants graduate degrees (MAs, PhDs, etc.) as well as bachelor's degrees.
  • A college grants only bachelor's degrees, and it may function as part of a larger university.
  • A community college grants Associate degrees and other types of certifications.
  • "Academy" and "Institute" are much broader terms that might apply to learning in any field and at any level, including as a part of a college or university.

There are many different types of degrees at the post-secondary level (after high school); they generally break down into Associate's degrees (1-2 years), Bachelor's degrees (4 years), Master's degrees (Bachelor + 1-2 years), and Doctoral degrees (Bachelor + 3-10 years). Doctors, lawyers and professors receive different types of Doctoral degrees (generally MDs, JDs, and Phds, respectively).

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    This categorization does not hold outside the United States, and even within the US represents a great oversimplification. There are many colleges which offer graduate degrees and many community colleges which offer bachelor's degrees, for example. – choster Aug 6 '14 at 23:04
  • It does not hold any country, as far as I know. It definitely does not hold in the US. – Drew Aug 7 '14 at 5:45
  • @choster I think it holds on my country (Vietnam) – Ooker Mar 7 '15 at 17:33

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