Difference between Institute and University

Difference between Institute and University

University and Institute are education platforms that are building blocks of any community. Sometimes these education platforms are confusing, and some would think that they are one and the same thing. This is not the case, as they have distinguishing factors that differentiate them.

Institute Vs. University

The major distinguishing factor between the two education platforms is that universities are mainly dedicated to higher education. At the same time, institutes are education organizations solely dedicated to any function like fashion, media, and business, among other things. Another difference between the two educational platforms is that an institute specializes in industry-related programs. Universities, on the other hand, will focus on research-oriented programs.

Universities offer graduate and post-graduate courses, while institutes offer diplomas and other special courses. Universities have various college branches under them, whereas institutes have a franchise that provides their programs in multiple locations. Even so, they do not provide degrees for learners in those affiliated colleges. When talking about institutes, it can be schools that offer education to toddlers, like primary and secondary schools.

What is an Institute?

In paper, an institute is defined as an organizational body in the community that was formed with a specific purpose. It can be anything small like a nuclear family to a massive thing like a business franchise or something in between. But in recent times, the institutions have taken the educational route.

They are now regarded as educational forums related to either education or research purposes. Their body can either be governmental or non-governmental. They are usually led by a board of directors who manage the institution and make all the decisions as far as the institute is concerned. They are also semi-autonomous.

The word was derived from the Latin word “institutum”, which refers to a facility or habit. It is part and parcel of an organizational structure of a community or society. This is so clear by the way you can relate the two. For one, you can understand the way a society functions by looking at the functioning of this organizational body.

You can refer to it as an academic body if the intuition offers degrees and other research-oriented programs. But majorly, they are used to refer to those organizational bodies that run autonomously and offer graduate and undergraduate degrees or even provide diplomas plus other specialization in specific fields.

They have a very little number of employees and learners because they offer a limited number of courses. They are known as academic institutes when they majorly offer all things education. There are other institute forms, including health care, military, and corporate institute.

What is a University?

The word was derived from the Latin word “universitasmagistrorum” et “scholarium”, which means teachers and scholars’ organization. The name was more suitable as the institution is formed for the sole reason of providing higher education and research purposes. Its origins stem from medieval guilds that were majorly bodies of organization of students and teachers who were allowed by prelates and princes.

But the first-ever university to be formed was the university of Bologna, which is situated in Bologna, Italy. While the people continued to get academic freedom in the world, universities started to sprout out in various regions in the world. Universities are usually operated by their Governments. The government remits funding for their operation with some additional tuition fees charged to students.

Universities provide higher education like diplomas, graduate or post-graduate degrees. They have the right equipment to carry out complex research and recruit scholars. They do not offer one or two programs, and they go all out providing massive courses and subjects. With these many programs they offer, learners and teachers are also on the high end to keep the organization running.

Difference between Institute and University

  • Universities are majorly dedicated to providing higher education, while institutes can consist of an educational body that majorly deals with any purpose, including fashion media business, among other things.
  • The institute that education programs focus majorly on offering industry-related programs while universities are more focused on research-oriented.
  • Universities offer graduate courses, postgraduate programs plus conduct research, and on the other hand, institutes offer diplomas or some specialized courses.
  • Universities have various branching colleges under them, while institutes have some franchises that will provide degrees to learners affiliated with the college.
  • The word institute was derived from a Latin word, “institutum”, which refers to facility or habit. On the other hand, the university is derived from the Latin word “Universitasmagistrorum” et “scholarium”, which means an organization of teachers and scholars.


The term institute may also refer to universities, which makes it quite confusing as you can deem them the same. But this is truly a fallacy. An institute and university are different when it comes to how they run as universities offer graduate, postgraduate, plus conduct research, whereas institutes provide diploma or specialized courses.

The main distinguishing factor of the two bodies is that university is dedicated to providing higher education. At the same time, institutes comprise educational bodies that aim to offer any purpose like business media or fashion, among other things. The other difference is that an institute takes up few employees and learners due to the limited programs they provide. In contrast, universities take massive learners and employees due to the massive courses they provide.

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