Uni vs. College: What’s the difference?

Our Uni vs. College: What’s the difference? webinar was one of our most watched this year. Here is a recap on the webinar with the key differences between universities and colleges.


Are they the same? Absolutely! Our Diploma and Bachelor degrees are the same qualifications you would get at a sandstone university. So why do they take a shorter amount of time to complete? We use trimesters rather than semesters, meaning we have 3 terms per year instead of 2.


The most obvious difference between colleges and universities is the size. The big Australian universities can vary from 30,000 to 50,000 students (give or take). Colleges by comparison are significantly smaller with numbers generally sitting below below 1,000.

What does this mean for students? The learning environment is more intimate, it’s easier to make friends, and in an academic sense it’s less intimidating. With smaller class sizes (Macleay’s are capped at 25) you are able to ask your lecturers plenty of questions and for help if you need it. This may be intimidating to do in a lecture hall with hundreds of other students.

Style of teaching and learning

A key difference between universities and colleges is the style of teaching. Macleay for example is very hands on. We focus on project based learning, or experiential learning. All of the programs are built around assessments, projects, real world briefs and group work, which mirror the projects you will be given in the workplace. This might include working on a social media campaign where you are expected to supply your own photography; create the concept and film your own TV commercial; start your own business; or write an investigative news piece.

Working on real briefs and with real clients.

At Macleay we work with as many real clients as possible, these range from start-up to large corporations. In this year alone, Macleay students have worked on campaigns for RUOK, The Australian Institute of Fitness and the Sydney Symphony Orchestra.


Internships aren’t always compulsory at universities, but at many colleges they are. Macleay students get hands on experience in their field through our internship program. With many entry-level roles requiring some level of experience, an internship will set you apart from other applicants.

If you are struggling to decide on the right course for you (or are ready to apply) our careers advisers are always available to speak with you about your options. Click here to to make an appointment.


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