Curriculum, History of

In higher education, the term curriculum is often used to refer to the formal course of study offered by an academic institution. This usually is published as an official document in the course catalog or bulletin. It brings order and design to teaching and learning that then can be followed by college and university officials, students, and faculty as well as by such external constituencies as government agencies, accreditation bodies, consumer groups, and prospective students.

The precedent for establishing this legitimacy comes from Europe’s medieval universities to show that an academic degree and its supporting curriculum were deemed bona fide, that is, “in good faith.” For an academic institution to violate this compact made it susceptible to charges of malpractice. These formalities established that the academic ...

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