Why Worry About Colleges When Choosing a Major at UC Davis? Get in the Know With This Explanation and Lower Your Stress We're Really a University You see the words "college" and "university" a lot when you read about places in higher education. And it can be confusing. The difference between a college and a university is a matter of size. UC Davis is, in fact, a large university — a university made up of four colleges that teach both undergraduates and graduates.