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University & College

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: What’s the difference between a college and a university?

A: The terms "college" and "university" are often used interchangeably. A university is usually comprised of multiple degree-conferring colleges. The University of Wyoming is comprised of six colleges with a set number of degree options and academic departments. 

Q: What is a liberal arts education?

A: A liberal arts education focuses on critical thinking and communication skills necessary in an ever-changing job market. A liberal arts degree covers the humanities, social sciences, natural sciences, and mathematics. According to Gerald Greenberg (Syracuse University), “the liberal in liberal arts and liberal education does not stand in contrast to conservative. Rather, it derives from the Latin liberalis, associated with the meaning of freedomLiberal, not as opposed to conservative, but as free, in contrast to imprisonedsubjugated, or incarcerated.” A liberal education would enable people to function successfully as free citizens (Strauss, Washington Post, 2 April 2015).

Q: What is the difference between "Undergraduate" and "Graduate" degrees?

A: Undergraduate programs follow high school and lead to an associate's (two-year) degree or a bachelor's (four-year) degree. The University of Wyoming does not offer associate degrees, but many community colleges offer them. Graduate programs follow a bachelor’s degree and lead to a master’s or doctoral degree (PhD).

Q: What is distance education?

A: Distance education occurs when a student and an instructor are in different locations. Learning occurs via online, video, audio, or combination (hybrid) deliveries. Courses offered online are designated with section numbers in the 40s (Example, ENGL 1010-40). Hybrid courses are classes offered in a classroom but accessible to students in other communities. They are designated with section numbers in the 80s (ENGL 1010-80). Distance students also have access to online resources such as advising, tutoring, and other educational opportunities. 

Q: What is the difference between online studies and distance studies?

A: Essentially there is no difference.

Q: What is a major?

A: An undergraduate major is the study of a body of knowledge in a subject area of interest. Most undergraduate majors at the University of Wyoming result in either a Bachelor of Science degree or a Bachelor of Arts degree.

Q: What is a concentration?

A: A concentration (also called option or program area) is a collection of courses within a major that focuses on a particular subject area. Not all majors require the selection of a concentration. International Studies and Family and Consumer Sciences are just two examples of UW majors that do require this.

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General university and college frequently asked questions and answers


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