Difference Between Curriculum and Syllabus (B.Ed) Notes

The curriculum and syllabus are two crucial elements of any educational program. The curriculum is the set of courses and their content is offered in a school or other educational institutes. A curriculum is mainly the outline of a subject, while a syllabus is a detailed list of topics. Let us explore these two concepts.

What is a Curriculum?

A curriculum is a set of guidelines established to help educators decide on the content of a course. It is the study plan that gives the objectives of the course, the contents, and the methods used to teach. Thus, it prescribes what should be taught, how it should be taught, and why something should be taught.

The curriculum is generally designed or curated by the administration of an institute/university. In addition, the curriculum also allows teachers to measure the effectiveness of their teaching through standardized tests.

The curriculum is not a fixed and knowing structure that houses the organized learning content. It is dynamic and reflects the educational goals and experiences to be achieved. These principles change over time, and so is the opinion about what experiences are best for achieving those goals.  

Likewise, the curriculum needs to be reformed as educational requirements change continually. Three factors that impact the curriculum development process can be identified:

  • The ideology about education held by curriculum designers, including the current trend to globalize the curriculum
  • The necessity to implement the changes in the existing curriculum
  • The type of educational program for which the curriculum is developed

What is a Syllabus?

The syllabus is a descriptive list of topics to be covered and a summary of their content. Describes and summarizes the subjects and topics to be taught to students. Curricula, unlike lesson plans, are designed by teachers and can be tailored to the requirements of a particular class.

A syllabus includes schedules, tests, assignments, projects, etc. Therefore, it contains information such as assignments’ due dates, exam dates, project details, etc.

Purpose of the Syllabus

  • Develops a mutual understanding of the subjects between students and teachers
  • Sets a goal for the students to grasp and learn the concepts
  • Facilitates learning through the course material 
  • Trains the students as per their age level

Difference Between Curriculum and Syllabus 

Curriculum Syllabus 
DefinitionA curriculum is a set of courses and contents an educational institution offers.A syllabus is a descriptive list of subjects to be taught in a class.
Created byCreated at the state, district, or institute levelCreated by designated teachers
SettingsThe curriculum cannot be easily adjustedA syllabus can be easily adjusted per class requirements
Teaching MethodologyThe curriculum is prescriptiveThe syllabus is descriptive
ContentThe curriculum contains course content, objectives, methodologies, etc.The syllabus contains a list of topics to cover and deta

Similarities Between Curriculum and Syllabus

  • Both the curriculum and syllabus have one ulterior goal, teaching.
  • Both the curriculum and syllabus are designed keeping strong educational guidelines in mind.
  • Both the curriculum and syllabus are crucial for the holistic growth of students.


The terms “curriculum” and “syllabus” are often used interchangeably. They refer to distinct aspects of an educational program. The curriculum is the overall plan and framework for teaching a subject, which includes learning objectives, instructional methods, and assessment measures.

On the other hand, the syllabus is a specific document that outlines the content to be covered in a particular course and other important information, such as grading policies and class schedules. Understanding these two concepts’ differences is essential for educators and students alike. It helps ensure that instructional goals are met and that learning outcomes are clearly defined and achieved.

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