Image of some students at university


A university is known as an institution of higher education and research where students can enrol in order to obtain academic degrees in a variety of subjects.

A university is essentially a corporation that provides scholars with the opportunity to study at an undergraduate or postgraduate level.

University has been defined as the notion of academic freedom. The first university, Bologna university, was the first evidence of this when an academic charter was created guaranteeing the right of a travelling scholar to unhindered passage with the reason of education.

The end of the medieval period saw the transformation of universities with influences such as humanism, enlightenment, reformation and revolution shaping research universities into development.

History of the University

The 18 th century saw universities publish their own research journals and by the 19 th century the German and French university models came into effect. The German, or Humboldtian, model features ideas of the importance of liberal ideas such as freedom, seminars and the use of laboratories in universities. The French model was concerned with strict discipline and control over each aspect of the university.

Before the 19 th century religion had a significant role in the curriculum of universities, with the end of the 19 th century seeing the Humboldtian model spreading across the world. The concentration in universities was around science in the 19 th and 20 th centuries with increasing accessibility for the mass populations.

Each institution has a different method of organisation, with nearly all universities featuring a board of trustees, comprised of a president, chancellor, a vice chancellor, vice president and various deans for each division.

Public universities are ruled by government-run higher education boards, who review financial requests and budgets then allocate specific funds for each individual university. The government will also approve new instructions and make changed in existing programs, as well as planning the coordinated growth and development of various institutions in the country. Private universities are privately funded and feature a broader independence from government policies.

Cultural and economic standards that are available in a specific geographical location can create disparity between universities across the world and in a country. The majority of universities will offer courses including, but not limited to, natural science, engineering, architecture, medicine, sports sciences, social sciences, law and humanities.

You will also find universities offering their students a range of amenities to further enhance their university experience, including places to eat, banks, bookshops, printing stores, job centres, gyms, sports centres, libraries, student unions, computer labs, research labs and bars. A number of large universities also have excellent facilities such as botanical gardens, astronomical observatories, business incubators and even university hospitals, to ensure a full range of working methods can be utilised.

Choosing a University

When you are deciding on which university you wish to go to, you can assess each university by its relevance, reputation, facilities and location. You can apply to universities in your own country or abroad, with many schemes that can help you with your funding and education.

A number of students will opt to choose a degree alongside the language of the country they are studying in, for example an English student wishing to study economic in Japan may be able to study economics and Japanese, which is especially handy if you decide to live in the country where you want to study. Some countries offer scholarships for those who excel in a particular area, for example US universities can offer you a paid place on a particular course if you are an exceptional footballer, etc.

If you feel you may not be able to afford university, there are a number of organisations that can offer you help in the way of loans and grants, which can cover your tuition fees and any maintenance costs, which is an attractive option for those studying away from home. These loans are paid back in small, regular amounts once you are earning a specific wage so you barely notice the cost leaving your income.

There are a huge range of courses available at many different universities, so it is important to choose the best university for the course you wish to study. There are a number of lists compiled by various reputable resources that identify the top univerisites for each subject, for example sciences are highly regarded at Cambridge University and Newcastle University , so if you wish to study a science these may be your best option. History is widely regarded as being best at Durham University , so you may want to apply for this institution.

Unfortunately, admissions for these courses is high, with a lot of stiff competition from both national and international prospective students. It is important to choose a range of universities to apply to in case you don't get accepted to your first choice. Using a resource such as UCAS you can put forward your grades, UCAS tariff points and experience to six different institutions in order to find your perfect course.

This is ideal for student who do not know their grades, particularly in instances where the student is studying their A-Levels. If you already have your qualifications you can contact the admissions department for any individual university and ask if your requirements may measure up, which is worth doing to better understand what additional requirements you may need.

Location is another important factor when considering your university, as some students may wish to study at home or perhaps an area you are wishing to study in may be undesirable in expenses or reputation. Visiting the university where you wish to study can affect your decision and give you a better understanding of where you may fit in.

Another thing to consider is accommodation prices, as sometimes Halls of Residence for a university can be costly and the surrounding student accommodation choices may be the same. You may also wish to assess the amenities available by the university before you decide to study there. If you are a sporty individual you may prefer to go to a university offering a free or cheap gym or sports club as opposed to a university that does not offer these activities, as a full gym membership may be outside your budget.