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an educational, scholarly, and administrative division of a higher educational institution. A faculty trains undergraduate and graduate students in an area of specialization or in several related areas. It also provides advanced training for specialists in such areas and administers the research conducted in its affiliated departments. In the USSR the terms corresponding to faculty and department are department and subdepartment, respectively.
Medieval universities, which were the first educational institutions to have faculties, had faculties of medicine, law, arts, and theology. As knowledge became more specialized and industry developed in the 18th and 19th centuries, the number of faculties increased to include faculties of physics and mathematics, history and philology, philosophy, biology, and technology. In the 19th and early 20th centuries, branches of higher technological institutions were often called divisions. In higher educational institutions in a number of countries, such branches are now called departments, institutes, or colleges.
Many higher educational institutions have independent correspondence and evening divisions, preparatory divisions for foreign students, and divisions for the advanced training of specialists. Higher educational institutions in the USSR have preparatory divisions for raising the level of general eduation among workers and rural youth; study in these divisions enables such young people to enter higher educational institutions.
In the USSR, departments of technology in higher educational institutions provide correspondence education in engineering and the sciences in order to make instruction accessible to persons who do not live or work near a higher educational institution. These departments, which also provide evening instruction, generally follow a standardized three-year curriculum. Upon completing the three-year course, the students select a field of specialization and continue their studies in a specialized department.
Divisions functioning within departments specialize in given fields of study or methods of instruction. A department is administered by a dean with the assistance of a departmental council.
V. A. IUDIN