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Reading: Higher Education in the USA

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There is no national system of higher education in the USA. Basically American higher education developed its own pattern by the adaption of two traditions: the collegiate tradition of England and the university tradition of the continent.

In the USA there is no consistent distinction between the term "college" and "university". The general tendency, however, is to call a college a higher educational institution offering mainly courses of instruction leading to the Bachelor's degree; a university is a college or a group of colleges or departments under one control offering courses of instruction leading not only to the Bachelor's degree but also the Master's and the Doctor's degree. The term college is also sometimes loosely applied to institutions which are actually only secondary schools.

The American college, although it is the outgrowth of the English college of Oxford and Cambridge, has developed into an institution which has no counterpart in Europe. The college course of study, at first three years in duration, was soon extended to 4 years and the classes are uniformly known as the freshman, the sophomore, the junior and the senior.

The traditional degree which crowns the college course is that of Bachelor of Arts (B.A.). The studies ordinarily insisted on in case of candidates for this degree are Latin, Greek, mathematics, English, philosophy, political economy, history and at least one modern European language (French or German) and at least one natural science.



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