Difference Between Curriculum and Syllabus

Main Difference – Curriculum vs Syllabus

Curriculum and syllabus are two essential components in any educational program. Curriculum is the set of courses, coursework and their content offered at a school or anther educational institute. Syllabus is the focused outline of a subject. Therefore, the main difference between curriculum and syllabus is that curriculum is a set of guidelines set out for educators whereas a syllabus is a more descriptive list of concepts that are to be taught in a class.

What is a Curriculum

A curriculum is set guidelines that that have been established to help the educators to decide on the content of a course. It is the curriculum that gives out the course objectives, the contents, and methods that will be used to teach. Therefore, it prescribes not only what should be taught or how it should be taught, but also why something should be taught.

Curriculum is usually set out by the administration of an institute. In government educational institutions, the curriculum may be set out by the government. Educators often make the syllabus using the curriculum. In addition, the curriculum also lets the teachers measure the effectiveness of their teaching through standardized testing.

Difference Between Curriculum and Syllabus

What is a Syllabus

Syllabus is a descriptive list of subjects to be covered and a summary of their content. It describes and summarizes what should be taught to the students. Syllabuses, unlike curriculums, are made by individual teachers. Since they are made by teachers, they can be tailored to suit the requirement of a particular class.

A syllabus have details such as schedule, assessments, assignments, projects, etc. So it contains information such as dates on which assignments are to be submitted, exam dates, details of projects, etc.

Syllabus is usually accessible to students; the syllabus is given out to students at the beginning of the course or program, particular in secondary and tertiary education. Therefore, they can use it as a guideline for their studies.

Main Difference - Curriculum vs Syllabus

Difference Between Curriculum and Syllabus


Curriculum is a set of courses, coursework and their content offered at an educational institution.

Syllabus is a descriptive list of subjects that are to be taught in a class.

Made by

Curriculum is made at the state, district or institute level.

Syllabus is made by individual teachers.


Curriculum cannot be easily adjusted.

Syllabus can be adjusted easily.

Prescriptive vs Descriptive

Curriculum is prescriptive.

Syllabus is descriptive.


Curriculum contains information like course content, objectives, methodologies etc.

Syllabus contains a list of subjects to be covered, details about assignments, assessments, etc.


Curriculum is not accessible to students.

Syllabus is accessible to students.Difference Between Curriculum and Syllabus - infographic

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