Difference between Course and Programme

Key Difference: When used in higher studies (College) in United States or Canada, course refers to a class that usually lasts a semester or one academic term. On the other hand, programme is another term that is used for the degree.

For someone who has recently started the process of applying to college, there are many terms that they will come across that is going to confuse them. When looking at the different applications, each university may use fancy terms to refer to classes and degrees. Courses and Programme or program are two such words that can often be found in applications or when applying for classes.

The terms are used differently when it comes to countries. A simple google search will leave one more baffled than sorted because the most common definition that will show up for course is ‘a road or a path’. Similarly, progrmme is defined as ‘a written or printed list of the events, performers, etc, in a public performance.’

However, the connotations that we are looking for come further down the long line of definitions. When used in higher studies (College) in United States or Canada, course refers to a class that usually lasts a semester or one academic term. On the completion of this course, the students usually get a grade. Some courses are mandatory in order to acquire a degree. On the other hand, programme is another term that is used for the degree. On completion of a programme, the student receives a degree or certification. For example Psychology 101 would be a course, while Bachelors of Arts in Psychology would be a considered as a programme.

This is the more common usage of the two words that have been unofficially adopted around the world. However, there are other countries that use the words a little differently. In countries such as Canada, Australia, Singapore and certain parts of Canada, the word course is used to describe acquiring the degree, and the word ‘unit’ or ‘module’ is used to describe classes or an academic course.

Comparison between Course and Programme:

 

Course

Programme

Definition

A series of lectures or classes taken to fulfill requirements of a subject

Includes a series of lectures or courses to complete a programme or attain a degree

Term

Short term, one semester

Long term, multiple semesters around 3-4 years

Number of professors

Usually one or two

More than one or two, depending on the number of classes taken

Completion

Get a grade

Get a degree or certificate

Image Courtesy: jabincollege.com, tcs.cam.ac.uk

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