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J. Ríos
Professional Teacher

In American English, "faculty" means the actual teachers and instructors, but I have noticed on many international websites, especially on colleges and universities overseas, when they translate into English, they use "faculty" slightly different.  For example:

Faculty of Medicine

Faculty of Engineering

Faculty of Visual Arts

Faculty of Modern Languages

Faculty of Humanities, etc

Is this British English or just International English?

Aug 9, 2016 7:36 AM
Comments · 23

In Canadian universities the term 'faculty' is used to refer to 'departments' as well as 'teachers/professors'.

August 9, 2016

I've googled university sites in Australia, Ireland and South Africa, as well as some international sites, and it appears that all use the word  in its original sense of a group of university departments, e.g. the Faculty of Medicine. It seems that only the US refers to teaching staff as the Faculty.

So, yes, the use of 'Faculty' to mean "a group of university departments concerned with a major division of knowledge" - roughly corresponding the US equivalent of 'school' or 'college' - does indeed appear to be 'International English'.


In fact, a glance at wikipedia can clear this up once and for all:


Faculty (academic staff), the academic staff of a university (North American usage)
Faculty (division), a division within a university (usage outside of North America)



August 9, 2016

J Rios, rather Latin. It is facultas in Latin, факультет in Russia etc.

See here:

I don't know in which Enlgish speaking countries universities have their subdivisions named 'faculties', but I don't see any other possible good translation for Russian факультет... even if tried to mimic American usage.

Let me cite WIki:

"A faculty is a division within a university or college comprising one subject area, or a number of related subject areas. 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")."

"School", "college" are not exaclty words for "a division within a university or college comprising one subject area". They seem to act as parts of proper names! So I am at right to call it 'internation Latin" rather than English and reintroduce to you, as a name for some Russian thing, may be unknown in your country:) 
I seemply don't see other reasonable options. "Division"? "department"? "Philological division of MSU"? "Department of math and mechanics"? :-/

But as I see from the article, this word is used across the English speaking world. They give no details as to where and how:(

August 9, 2016

The use of word faculty to refer to a major division within a university is indeed an international one. It is because the medieval universities of Europe were structured this way. They established the model/traditions which grew into the world of academics we know today. 

It is worth noting that the University of Oxford was established in 1096. That's 680 years before the Declaration of Independence was signed in 1776. And the University of Bologna is older! So this probably explains all the bizarre traditions and unusual word usage - e.g. why we call it a Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) even if you studied Mathematics (for example).

I find the differences between Standard American English and Standard British English very interesting. It is a great example of how language and history are so closely connected. 

Another difference I have noticed in American English is the use of the title professor. I've noticed that a lot of Americans use the title as synonymous with teacher. Many high school students seem to use it.

In the UK the title is only use by high ranking academics. The head of my medical school, for example, is a professor. I would imagine most college tutors would be quite amused if you called them prof!

August 10, 2016

In Canada we have:

- colleges that primarily offer one year certificate programs and two and three year diploma programs. Some colleges offer a bachelors degree (in concert with a university).

- universities that generally offer 4 year bachelor degrees, as well as masters and PhD degrees.

August 10, 2016
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J. Ríos
Language Skills
Chinese (Mandarin), Chinese (Cantonese), English, Japanese, Korean, Portuguese, Spanish, Vietnamese
Learning Language
Chinese (Mandarin), Chinese (Cantonese), Japanese, Korean, Portuguese, Vietnamese