Faculty (division)

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A faculty is a division within a university or college comprising one subject area, or a number of related subject areas.[1] In American usage such divisions are generally referred to as colleges (e.g., "college of arts and sciences") or schools (e.g., "school of business"), but may also mix terminology (e.g., Harvard University has a "faculty of arts and sciences" but a "law school").


The medieval University of Bologna, which served as a model for most of the later medieval universities in Europe, had four faculties: the Faculties of Theology, Law, Medicine, and finally the Faculty of Arts, from which every student had to graduate in order to continue his training in one of the other three, sometimes known as the higher faculties. The privilege to establish these four faculties was usually part of all medieval charters for universities, but not every university could do so in practice.

The Faculty of Arts took its name from the seven liberal arts: the trivium (grammar, rhetoric, dialectics) and the quadrivium (arithmetic, music, geometry and astronomy). In German, Scandinavian, Slavic and other universities, the name for this faculty would more often literally translate as 'faculty of philosophy'. The degree of Magister Artium (Master of Arts) derives its name from the Faculty of Arts, while the degree of Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) originates within German education and derives its name from the German name of the Arts faculty.

The number of faculties has usually multiplied in modern universities, both through subdivisions of the traditional four faculties, and through the absorption of academic disciplines which have developed within originally vocational schools, in areas such as engineering or agriculture.

Faculty of Art[edit]

A Faculty of Arts is a university division specializing in teaching in areas traditionally classified as "arts" for academic purposes, generally including creative arts, writing, philosophy, and humanities. It was one of the four traditional divisions of the teaching bodies of medieval universities, the others being Law, Medicine and Theology. The Faculty of Arts was the lowest in rank, but also the largest as students had to graduate there to be admitted to one of the higher faculties.[2]

Course of study[edit]

University studies took six years for a Master of Arts degree (a Bachelor of Arts degree could be awarded along the way). The studies for this were organized by the faculty of arts, where the Seven Liberal Arts were taught: arithmetic, geometry, astronomy, music, grammar, logic, and rhetoric.[3][4] These were divided into the Trivium (grammar, rhetoric, dialectics) and the Quadrivium (arithmetic, music, geometry and astronomy). All instruction was given in Latin and students were expected to be able to converse in that language.[5] The trivium comprised the three subjects that were taught first: grammar, logic, and rhetoric. These three subjects were the most important of the seven liberal arts for medieval students.[6] The curriculum came also to include the three Aristotelian philosophies: physics, metaphysics and moral philosophy.[6]

In the universities of continental Europe, this faculty has more often been named the equivalent of "Faculty of Philosophy" (e.g., Norwegian: Det filosofiske fakultet, Slovene: Filozofska fakulteta). Nowadays this is a common name for the faculties teaching humanities.

Faculty of Classics[edit]

A Faculty of Classics may be focused on ancient history and ancient literature. The title may refer to the following faculties:

Faculty of Commerce[edit]

Examples include:

Faculty of Economics[edit]

Faculty of Economics (Ekonomski fakultet in most South Slavic languages) may refer to, amongst others:

Faculty of Education[edit]

Examples include:

Other faculties[edit]

Faculty of Engineering[edit]

Examples include:

Faculty of Graduate Studies[edit]

The title, Faculty of Graduate Studies, refers not to a specific area of study, but to a Graduate school. Examples include:

Faculty of Humanities[edit]

A Faculty of Humanities is a university faculty teaching humanities.

Examples include:

Faculty of Information Technology[edit]

A Faculty of Information Technology is a university faculty teaching information technology.

Examples include:

Faculty of Law[edit]

A Faculty of Law is a university faculty teaching law, or a law school faculty.

Examples include:


Faculty of Management Studies[edit]

A Faculty of Management Studies is a university division teaching management studies.

Examples include:

Faculty of Music[edit]

In English-speaking academia Faculty of Music normally refers to a university department, especially at Oxford and Cambridge (UK). In the US, the use of 'faculty' often relates to academic and teaching staff.

Examples include:

Faculty of Natural Sciences[edit]

Examples include:

Faculty of Philosophy[edit]

A Faculty of Philosophy is a university faculty teaching philosophy.

Examples include:

Faculty of Political Science[edit]

Examples include:


  1. ^ Charles William Eliot, Association of American Universities, "Discussion of the Actual and the Proper Line of Distinction Between College and University", Journal of proceedings and Addresses of the First and Second annual conferences, Volumes 1-12 (1901), p. 38.
  2. ^ The Faculty of Arts - Catholic Encyclopedia article
  3. ^ H. Rashdall, The Universities of Europe in the Middle Ages, 3 Volumes, F.M. Powicke, A.B. Emden (Eds. of 2nd Edition), Oxford University Press, 1936.
  4. ^ G. Leff and J. North, Chapter 10: The Faculty of Arts, in A History of the University in Europe, Volume I: Universities in the Middle Ages, W. Ruegg (ed.), Cambridge University Press, 1992.
  5. ^ Rait, R.S. 1912. Life in the Medieval University, p. 133
  6. ^ a b Rait, R.S. 1912. Life in the Medieval University, p. 138