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Special Focus Colleges

Special focus colleges are those that have concentrated curricula and degree programs centered around a particular field or set of related fields. This classification was awarded by the Carnegie Classification for Institutes of Higher Education. While this particular classification framework has been retired, many colleges still retain the distinction of being “special focus.”

Theological seminaries, bible colleges and other specific faith-based colleges are considered special focus. At the time of the last classification, there were 314 of these particular institutions across the United States. Seminaries, or divinity schools, aim to educate their students in theology in preparation for ordainment into the ministry as a member of the clergy. Students can earn an education, both undergraduate and graduate, that centers on religion and academics. Sample courses include Sacred Scripture, Liturgy, Social Justice, Ethics, Metaphysics, Ontology and Music.

Medical schools are also considered part of this classification. Currently, there are 158 accredited medical schools across the country. They specialize in educating future medical professionals, doctors and surgeons, and preparing them for an internship or residency. Traditional medical schools in the United States are graduate level institutions, so students must possess a bachelor’s degree and courses in biology, physics, chemistry and mathematics prior to applying for admittance.

Other special focus schools include those that center on the arts, music and design. The arts can include visual arts, painting, photography, sculpture, graphic design and illustration. Music colleges can also be known as conservatories and include educations in the playing of musical instruments, singing, musicology, music history and theory, musicianship and musical composition. Design schools are often similar to art schools, but can also include fashion design and interior design.

Law schools are also special focus colleges because they specialize solely in legal education. These schools are similar to medical school in that students must obtain an undergraduate-level degree before admittance. Law school students can expect to take courses in civil procedure, constitutional law, contracts, criminal law, legal writing, legal research, torts and property law.

Other special focus colleges include schools of engineering, other technology-related schools, and schools of business and management. These schools provide students with a specialized education that can better prepare them for their chosen future career. While attendance to some of these schools, such as medical and law, is mandatory to practice that profession, other schools are attended by choice. Students enjoy being around other students similar to themselves, having a focused curriculum and a discipline focused environment.

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