cur·​ric·​u·​lum kə-ˈri-kyə-ləm How to pronounce curriculum (audio)
plural curricula kə-ˈri-kyə-lə How to pronounce curriculum (audio) also curriculums
: the courses offered by an educational institution
the high school curriculum
: a set of courses constituting an area of specialization
the engineering curriculum
the biological sciences curriculum
the liberal arts curriculum

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The Different Plural Forms of Curriculum

Curriculum is from New Latin (a post-medieval form of Latin used mainly in churches and schools and for scientific coinages), in which language it means “a course of study.” It shares its ultimate root in classical Latin, where it meant “running” or “course” (as in “race course”), with words such as corridor, courier, and currency, all of which come from Latin currere “to run.”

As is the case with many nouns borrowed directly from Latin, there is often some confusion as to the proper way to form its plural. Both curricula and curriculums are considered correct.

This word is frequently seen in conjunction with vitae; a curriculum vitae (Latin for “course of (one’s) life”) is “a short account of one's career and qualifications prepared typically by an applicant for a position” – in other words, a résumé. Curriculum vitae is abbreviated CV, and is pluralized as curricula vitae.

Example Sentences

The college has a liberal arts curriculum.
Recent Examples on the Web The College Board’s attempt to create a national curriculum offends America’s federalist system. The Editors, National Review, 27 Jan. 2023 Under the new board, students worry, there could be a push toward a more prescriptive curriculum favored by political conservatives. Jack Stripling, Washington Post, 23 Jan. 2023 The education department would reconsider the ban, Griffin said, if the College Board amends the course to comply with the law, provides a full course curriculum and incorporates historically accurate content. Robert Higgs, cleveland, 20 Jan. 2023 Climate change is also being woven into classes at the University of Massachusetts Chan Medical School in Worcester, which launched a new curriculum last August. Globe Staff,, 20 Jan. 2023 These investments are enhanced by the city’s support to expand early childhood education through Birmingham Talks and the launch of a financial literacy curriculum for Birmingham City School students with the BHM Financial Freedom program. al, 17 Jan. 2023 According to District 23 Superintendent Don Angelaccio, the districts worked together to create a class that had a curriculum and outcome similar to entry-level engineering classes at the high schools. Zareen Syed, Chicago Tribune, 15 Jan. 2023 To battle this issue, the Telangana state police over the past year developed a 10-month-long curriculum to teach students how to identify and dodge potential online scams and how to handle cyberbullying and trolling. WIRED, 13 Jan. 2023 But the leaders at Founders Classical Academy Online saw the shift to digital learning as a new and positive way to reach more students while still delivering a high-quality liberal arts curriculum. Steven Lindsey, Dallas News, 10 Jan. 2023 See More

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'curriculum.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

Word History


borrowed from New Latin, going back to Latin, "action of running, course of action, race," from currere "to run" + -i- -i- + -culum, suffix of instrument and place (going back to Indo-European *-tlom) — more at current entry 1

First Known Use

1824, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of curriculum was in 1824

Dictionary Entries Near curriculum

Cite this Entry

“Curriculum.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 31 Jan. 2023.

Kids Definition


cur·​ric·​u·​lum kə-ˈrik-yə-ləm How to pronounce curriculum (audio)
plural curricula -lə How to pronounce curriculum (audio) also curriculums
: all the courses of study offered by a school
Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
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