Liberal arts colleges in the United States are undergraduate institutions of higher education in the United States that focus on a liberal arts education. The Encyclopædia Britannica Concise offers a definition of the liberal arts as a "college or university curriculum aimed at imparting general knowledge and developing general intellectual capacities, in contrast to a professional, vocational, or technical curriculum." Generally, a full-time, four-year course of study at a liberal arts college leads students to earning the Bachelor of Arts or the Bachelor of Science.
These schools are American institutions of higher education which have traditionally emphasized interactive instruction (although research is still a component of these institutions) at the undergraduate level. While there is no nationwide legal standard in the United States, the term "university" is primarily used to designate graduate education and research institutions, and is reserved for doctorate-granting institutions, and some US states, such as Massachusetts, will only grant a school "university status" if it offers graduate programs in multiple disciplines.
These colleges also encourage a high level of student-teacher interaction at the center of which are classes taught by full-time faculty. They are known for being residential and may have smaller enrollment, class sizes, and student-teacher ratios than universities.
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