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1. a course of study in one subject at a school or college
2. a list of all the courses of study offered by a school or college
Collins Discovery Encyclopedia, 1st edition © HarperCollins Publishers 2005
The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.



an outline that specifies the subjects to be studied at a given educational institution and the years in the course of study during which each subject is to be studied.

A curriculum generally consists of three parts. The first is a schedule of periods for lecture classes, practical training, production training, examinations or laboratory examinations, work on the diploma thesis or diploma project, and vacations. The second part of the curriculum specifies the duration of each period of instruction for each year of study and for the entire course of study. The third part of the curriculum is a program that lists required, alternative, and elective subjects, the number of class hours for each subject, and a schedule of these hours by week, semester, and academic year. This program also gives the dates of examinations and tests and the dates when course papers or projects are due. In addition, the program indicates the number of hours assigned for lectures, seminars, laboratory work, and drills or exercises for each subject. The third part of the curriculum may also list fields of specialization and the subjects in each field.

In the USSR and other socialist countries the curriculum is generally identical for educational institutions of a given type. As a rule, major higher educational institutions with universally recognized schools of education have their own curricula. These institutions include the universities in Moscow, Leningrad, Novosibirsk, Kiev, and a number of other cities, as well as the N. E. Bauman Moscow Higher Technical School.

The content of the curricula of general-educational, specialized secondary, and higher educational institutions guarantees that a uniform body of knowledge will be covered and also ensures equal opportunities for graduates to continue their education at a higher level. The curricula of the Soviet school system facilitate a communist upbringing and the comprehensive development of students. The curricula prepare students for life and work and inspire them with a desire to continue their education during their entire working career.

Curricula provide a necessary balance between the humanities and the natural sciences and also coordinate theoretical study and practical training. The sequence of subjects studied is designed to provide a basis of knowledge and the subsequent assimilation of increasingly advanced material. The amount of time allotted to individual subjects is determined by their importance at a given level of study, by the general aims and scope of the entire course of study, and by the course’s ratio between theoretical material and practical training. The extent of knowledge and skills that the student is expected to acquire during the course of study is also taken into consideration. The material outlined in the curriculum is made explicit in syllabi, textbooks, and teaching aids.

In a number of capitalist countries, general-educational schools do not have uniform curricula, and there is no continuity in the curricula of succeeding levels of study. A more extensive scope of material is covered in educational institutions for the privileged in, for example, Great Britain and the Federal Republic of Germany. These factors make higher education widely accessible only to children of the privileged classes in a number of capitalist countries. In the USA each state uses its own curricula.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
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