Uni vs. College: What’s the difference?

Our Uni vs College: What’s the difference? webinar was incredibly popular, so we’ve put together a recap for you. Let’s start with the qualification you’ll get at the end though because it’s important to know they are the same. Our Diploma and Bachelor’s degrees are just like qualifications you would get at a sandstone university.

However, there are some key differences between colleges and universities:

Course completion times

It’s possible to complete our courses in a shorter amount of time because we use trimesters (3 semester per year), unlike universities who utilise semesters (2 semesters per year).


Size does matter, with this being the most obvious difference between colleges and universities. Some of the large Australian universities have around 30,000-50,000 students. Colleges are significantly smaller in size, with often less than 1,000 students.

A smaller institution means a more intimate learning environment, in contrast to a large-scale lecture hall setting. It may be less intimidating, and it’s certainly easier to make friends. Small class sizes (Macleay caps them at 25) allow for plenty of individualised attention from teachers, and the opportunity to ask questions. 

Teaching and learning

A critical difference between universities and colleges is the style of teaching offered. Macleay is committed to experiential project-based learning. Our hands-on programs are designed around real-world briefs to mirror the sorts of projects you will experience in the workplace. An assessment may include writing an investigative news piece, creating your own business, creating a concept and filming a TV commercial, or working on a social media campaign.

At Macleay, we work with as many real clients as possible, ranging from start-ups to large corporations. Students have worked on campaigns for organisations such as RUOK, the Australian Institute of Fitness and the Sydney Symphony Orchestra.


While internships aren’t always compulsory at universities, at many colleges, they are. Macleay’s internship program offers students hands-on experience in their field, and the competitive edge when applying for graduate roles.


Whether you are still deciding which is the right course for you, or you are ready to apply, our careers advisors can help. Get in touch to make a time to chat about your options.

Latest News And Events