A faculty is a division within a university or college comprising one subject area or a group of related subject areas, possibly also delimited by level (e.g. undergraduate). 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: students began at the Faculty of Arts, graduates from which could then continue at the higher Faculties of Theology, Law, and Medicine. The privilege to establish these four faculties was usually part of medieval universities' charters, but not every university could do so in practice.
The Faculty of Arts took its name from the seven liberal arts: the trivium[Notes 1] (grammar, rhetoric, dialectics) and the quadrivium[Notes 2] (arithmetic, music, geometry and astronomy). In German, Scandinavian, Slavic and related universities, it would more often be called the Faculty of Philosophy.[Notes 3] The degree of Magister Artium (Master of Arts) derives its name from the Faculty of Arts, while the degree of Doctor Philosophiae (Doctor of Philosophy) derives its name from the Faculty of Philosophy, German name of the same faculty. Whether called Faculty of Arts or Faculty of Philosophy, it taught a range of subjects with general and fundamental applicability.
The higher Faculty of Law and Faculty of Medicine were intended, much like today, for specialized education required for professions. The Faculty of Theology was the most prestigious, as well as least common in the first 500 years--and generally one that popes sought most to control. Although also "professional" education for clergy, theology (until the Enlightenment) was also seen as the ultimate subject at universities, named "The Queen of the Sciences", and often set the example for the other faculties.
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 that developed within originally vocational schools, in areas such as engineering or agriculture.
A Faculty of Arts is a university division teaching in areas traditionally classified as "liberal arts" for academic purposes (from Latin liberalis, "worthy of a free person", and ars, "art or principled practice"), generally including creative arts, writing, philosophy, and humanities.
A traditional division 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 (the higher faculties admitted only Arts graduates). Instead of "Arts", this faculty often had the name "Philosophy". Nowadays this is still a common name for faculties teaching humanities (e.g.,) Norwegian: Det filosofiske fakultet, Slovene: Filozofska fakulteta).
A Faculty of Classics may be focused on ancient history and ancient literature. The title may refer to the following faculties:
Faculty of Commerce examples include:
Faculty of Economics (Ekonomski fakultet in most South Slavic languages) may refer to, amongst others:
Faculty of Education examples include:
Faculty of Engineering examples include:
The title, Faculty of Graduate Studies, refers not to a specific area of study, but to a Graduate school. Examples include:
A Faculty of Humanities is a university faculty teaching humanities.
A Faculty of Information Technology is a university faculty teaching information technology.
A Faculty of Law is a university faculty teaching law, or a law school faculty.
A Faculty of Management Studies is a university division teaching management studies.
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.
Faculty of Natural Sciences examples include:
A Faculty of Philosophy is a university faculty teaching philosophy.
In the universities of continental Europe, the Faculty of Arts 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 Political Science examples include: