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Universities and colleges

Universities and colleges, schools that are designed for the continuation of education beyond high school and that emphasize the study of liberal arts, arts, and sciences. A university generally offers courses in many subjects, including agriculture, art, history, literature, philosophy, and science. It may be divided into different departments, or colleges. For example, a university may have a College of Education within it. A college may also be a separate school, which usually emphasizes study in one area, such as liberal arts. Most U.S. universities and colleges are sponsored either privately (often by a church) or by local, state, or federal government. Most universities and colleges offer students a course of study leading to an undergraduate degree, a bachelor of arts or science degree. Most also have various graduate programs in which a student may continue to work toward a master of arts or science degree or a doctor's degree. Though the oldest university in the world is probably Al-Azhar University in Egypt (founded in A.D. 970), the prototypes for U.S. universities sprang up in Europe during the 12th century. These universities were usually associated with the Church, though by the 14th century, they were designed to train students in medicine and law as well as theology. The earliest U.S. university is Harvard, which was founded in 1636. Like their European models, the first U.S. universities and colleges were training centers for ministers. They soon, however, expanded their curricula to include engineering, art, medicine, science, and law. Today the population of the student body in these schools can range from several hundred, as might be found in a small liberal college, to many thousands (Ohio State University in Columbus, Ohio, has an enrollment of over 50,000).

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21st Century Webster's Family Encyclopedia21st Century Webster's Family Encyclopedia - United Empire Loyalists to Victor Emmanuel