Difference in Purpose Between Syllabus and Curriculum

A curriculum contains a broad description of general goals by indicating an overall educational-cultural philosophy which applies across subjects together with a theoretical orientation to language and language learning with respect to the subject matter at hand. A curriculum is often reflective of national and political trends as well.


A syllabus is a more detailed and operational statement of teaching and learning elements that translates the philosophy of the curriculum into a series of planned steps leading towards more narrowly defined objectives at each level.

An important reason for differentiating between the two is to stress that a single curriculum can be the basis for developing a variety of specific syllabuses that are concerned with locally defined audiences, particular needs, and intermediate objectives (Dubin and Olshtain 1986).