Vocational University

A vocational university, sometimes called professional university or college of higher vocational studies, is an institution of higher education and sometimes research, which provides both tertiary and sometimes quaternary education and grants academic degrees at all levels (bachelor, master, and sometimes doctorate) in a variety of subjects. In some countries, a vocational university more precisely grants Professional degrees like Professional Bachelor's degree, Professional Master's degree and Professional doctorates). The term is not officially used in many countries and an assignment to a certain type of university in a certain country's educational system is therefore difficult. Vocational universities are often regulated and funded differently (for example, by the local government rather than the state) from research-focused universities, and the degrees granted are not necessarily interchangeable.

The education which takes place at vocational universities combines teaching of both practical skills and theoretical expertise. Higher vocational education might be contrasted with education in a usually broader scientific field, which might concentrate on theory and abstract conceptual knowledge. This has to do with the fact that, in the Middle Ages, an educational institution was called a university only if a certain classical canon of subjects was taught (including philosophy, medicine and theology). In modern times, other subjects, namely natural and engineering sciences, became more important — but still, institutions of tertiary education focusing on these and not offering the classical canon were denied the prestigious denomination "university", so they had to use the general word (High School in English) Hochschule in German, Haute Ecole in French (Belgium and Switzerland), Hogeschool in Dutch, Høyskole in Norwegian, etc.

There exist vocational universities of applied sciences (also named polytechnics or institutes of technology), vocational universities of liberal arts, etc. In recent years, many vocational universities have received full university status, such as the University of Music and Performing Arts, Vienna, Austria (Universität für Musik und darstellende Kunst Wien, formerly Hochschule für Musik und Darstellende Kunst Wien), or the Örebro University, Sweden (formerly Örebro Högskola). There are also some establishments which now have full university status, but continue to use their former names, such as the Royal Institute of Technology in Stockholm, Sweden.