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Faculty vs. Department: What's the Difference?

Edited by Aimie Carlson || By Janet White || Published on December 8, 2023
Faculty generally refers to the teaching staff of a university or educational institution, while a department is a division within a university focusing on a specific academic discipline.

Key Differences

Faculty typically refers to the collective body of teachers, professors, and educators at an educational institution. A department, however, signifies a specific academic division within a university, such as the Department of History or Biology.
The term faculty encompasses the expertise and academic qualifications of educators. In contrast, a department is an organizational unit, focusing on a particular field of study.
Faculties are responsible for delivering education and conducting research. Departments, on the other hand, structure the educational offerings into specialized areas.
A faculty member is an individual teacher or professor, contributing their expertise to the academic environment. A department is a collective entity, comprising faculty members who specialize in a specific academic discipline.
In some regions, 'faculty' can also refer to a division similar to a department, but generally, it primarily denotes the teaching staff, as opposed to the administrative structure (department) within which they operate.

Comparison Chart


Collective body of teachers and educators
Specific division focusing on an academic field


Delivering education and conducting research
Structuring educational offerings

Individual vs. Collective

Refers to individual educators or collectively
Refers to an organizational unit


Expertise and academic qualifications of educators
Specialized area of study

Example in University

Faculty of Arts with diverse academic backgrounds
Department of Psychology focusing on that field

Faculty and Department Definitions


Faculty refers to the teaching staff at an educational institution.
The faculty at the university are highly qualified.


In universities, a department refers to a division specializing in a particular academic discipline.
The Department of History is offering new courses this semester.


Faculty can also mean the inherent mental or physical powers of a person.
Her musical faculty was evident from a young age.


A department is a division in an organization focusing on a specific area of work.
He works in the marketing department.


Faculty may also indicate a particular ability or expertise.
He has a great faculty for understanding complex theories.


In government, a department is a division responsible for a specific area of public administration.
The Department of Education sets educational standards.


In certain contexts, faculty represents a division within a university.
She belongs to the Faculty of Science.


Department can also refer to a geographical and administrative division in some countries.
She lives in the Haut-Rhin department in France.


The term faculty is used to denote the authority to act in a specific way.
The dean has the faculty to approve new courses.


Department can also mean a distinct part of a larger organization or structure.
The customer service department handles all inquiries.


An inherent power or ability
The faculty of speech.


A principal administrative division of a government
The department of public works.


A division of a business specializing in a particular product or service
The personnel department.


What are the responsibilities of faculty?

Faculty responsibilities include teaching, conducting research, and participating in academic governance.

What is the role of a department in a university?

A department in a university is focused on a specific academic discipline, organizing courses and research in that area.

Can faculty members belong to multiple departments?

Yes, faculty members can teach in multiple departments if they have interdisciplinary expertise.

Who leads a department?

A department is typically led by a department head or chairperson.

What does faculty mean in a university?

In a university, faculty refers to the collective group of teachers and professors.

How is a department structured?

A department is structured around a specific field of study, with faculty members specializing in that area.

What distinguishes one department from another?

Departments are distinguished by their specific academic disciplines and areas of study.

Do all universities have the same department structure?

Department structures can vary between universities depending on their size and focus.

Is the term 'faculty' used outside of academia?

Yes, 'faculty' can also refer to a person's innate abilities or skills.

How does one become a faculty member?

Becoming a faculty member typically requires advanced degrees and expertise in a specific field.

What is the importance of departments in student education?

Departments play a crucial role in shaping the academic path and specialization of students.

Can faculties offer courses outside their department?

Yes, faculties can offer interdisciplinary courses outside their primary department.

Can departments have sub-specializations?

Yes, larger departments can have sub-specializations or focus areas.

How does a department contribute to a university's curriculum?

A department contributes by developing and offering courses within its specific field.

Do faculties engage in collaborative research?

Yes, faculties often collaborate on research projects within and across departments.

Are departments independent from each other?

Departments operate independently but often collaborate and share resources.

Is faculty tenure common in all departments?

Tenure policies can vary, but most departments in universities offer tenure tracks for faculty.

Can a faculty member be part of university administration?

Yes, faculty members can hold administrative roles like deans or department heads.

How do departments impact university research?

Departments are key in defining research priorities and areas within the university.

Are faculty meetings different from department meetings?

Yes, faculty meetings often cover broader academic issues, while department meetings focus on specific disciplinary matters.
About Author
Written by
Janet White
Janet White has been an esteemed writer and blogger for Difference Wiki. Holding a Master's degree in Science and Medical Journalism from the prestigious Boston University, she has consistently demonstrated her expertise and passion for her field. When she's not immersed in her work, Janet relishes her time exercising, delving into a good book, and cherishing moments with friends and family.
Edited by
Aimie Carlson
Aimie Carlson, holding a master's degree in English literature, is a fervent English language enthusiast. She lends her writing talents to Difference Wiki, a prominent website that specializes in comparisons, offering readers insightful analyses that both captivate and inform.

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