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Syllabus vs. Syllabi: What's the Difference?

Edited by Aimie Carlson || By Janet White || Published on January 19, 2024
"Syllabus" is a singular term referring to a course outline, while "syllabi" is its plural form, referring to multiple course outlines.

Key Differences

"Syllabus" refers to a single course outline or a document detailing a course's content, whereas "syllabi" is used when referring to multiple such documents for different courses.
A syllabus is typically used for one course, detailing its structure and requirements. Syllabi are often mentioned when discussing the curricula of multiple courses, comparing or reviewing them.
Each syllabus contains objectives, reading lists, and assessment methods for a specific course. When comparing syllabi, one examines the differences or similarities in these elements across various courses.
A syllabus is crucial for planning a single course, helping educators and students understand the course's trajectory. Syllabi, when considered together, help in understanding the broader educational program or curriculum.
A syllabus is often a single document handed out at the beginning of a course. When referring to syllabi, it implies the distribution or availability of multiple such documents, often for different courses within a program.

Comparison Chart


Refers to one course outline
Refers to multiple course outlines

Contextual Usage

Used for individual course details
Used when discussing multiple courses


Contains elements for one course
Encompasses elements from several courses

Educational Planning

Focused on a single course's trajectory
Offers a broader view of educational plans


Typically one document for one course
Multiple documents for various courses

Syllabus and Syllabi Definitions


A syllabus serves as a contract between the instructor and students about course expectations.
The syllabus clearly stated the grading policy.


Syllabi are a collection of course outlines from multiple courses.
The department revised its syllabi for the upcoming academic year.


A syllabus is a document outlining a course's structure, content, and requirements.
The professor handed out the course syllabus on the first day.


Syllabi serve as a comprehensive guide for an academic program's course offerings.
The syllabi for all first-year courses were made available online.


A syllabus provides a detailed guide of the topics and readings for a specific course.
She reviewed the syllabus to understand the semester's workload.


Syllabi include schedules, requirements, and objectives for several courses.
She organized the syllabi to plan her semester.


A syllabus is a planning tool for educators to design a course's curriculum.
The teacher used the syllabus to map out the semester.


Syllabi are used for curriculum development and coordination across multiple courses.
Faculty members discussed updates to the syllabi at the meeting.


A syllabus includes a schedule of lectures, assignments, and exams for a course.
He checked the syllabus for upcoming assignment deadlines.


Syllabi provide a comparative overview of different courses' structures and contents.
Students compared the syllabi of various electives before making a choice.


An outline or a summary of the main points of a text, lecture, or course of study.


A plural of syllabus.


(Law) A summary or abstract of the legal rulings contained in a published judicial case opinion.


(education) A summary of topics which will be covered during an academic course, or a text or lecture.


(law) The headnote of a reported case; the brief statement of the points of law determined prefixed to a reported case.


A compendium containing the heads of a discourse, and the like; an abstract.


The headnote of a reported case; the brief statement of the points of law determined prefixed to a reported case. The opinion controls the syllabus, the latter being merely explanatory of the former.


An integrated course of academic studies;
He was admitted to a new program at the university


Can a syllabus change during a course?

Yes, though changes are usually communicated clearly to students.

What are syllabi?

The plural of syllabus, referring to multiple course outlines.

How is a syllabus used in academia?

It guides students and instructors on course content and expectations.

What is a syllabus?

A document outlining a course's structure, content, and requirements.

Why are syllabi important in education?

They provide an overview of multiple courses' structures and contents.

How do syllabi aid in course selection?

They help students understand what to expect from different courses.

Do syllabi vary between institutions?

Yes, they can vary significantly based on the course and institution.

How do syllabi assist in curriculum development?

They help in aligning and coordinating multiple courses within a program.

Is a syllabus legally binding?

It can serve as a contract regarding course expectations and policies.

Is it common to compare syllabi?

Yes, especially when choosing courses or designing curriculum.

Can a syllabus include classroom policies?

Yes, policies like attendance and academic integrity are often included.

Are syllabi shared with students?

Yes, they are often distributed at the start of courses or made available online.

What's included in a syllabus?

Course objectives, schedule, readings, assignments, and grading criteria.

Can a syllabus help with time management?

Yes, it helps in planning study time and meeting deadlines.

What role does a syllabus play for instructors?

It's a guide for structuring and delivering course content.

Can students provide feedback on a syllabus?

Yes, student feedback is valuable for future course improvements.

Are syllabi useful for educational planning?

Absolutely, especially for understanding a program's overall curriculum.

Are syllabi subject to accreditation requirements?

Yes, they often need to meet certain standards set by accrediting bodies.

Do syllabi address different learning styles?

They can, by including diverse teaching methods and materials.

How are syllabi distributed in online courses?

Typically through the course website or learning management system.
About Author
Written by
Janet White
Janet White has been an esteemed writer and blogger for Difference Wiki. Holding a Master's degree in Science and Medical Journalism from the prestigious Boston University, she has consistently demonstrated her expertise and passion for her field. When she's not immersed in her work, Janet relishes her time exercising, delving into a good book, and cherishing moments with friends and family.
Edited by
Aimie Carlson
Aimie Carlson, holding a master's degree in English literature, is a fervent English language enthusiast. She lends her writing talents to Difference Wiki, a prominent website that specializes in comparisons, offering readers insightful analyses that both captivate and inform.

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