Principles of curriculum design

Grant, Janet (2006). Principles of curriculum design. Understanding Medical Education monograph series. Oxford: Association for the Study of Medical Education, Blackwells Press.



The curriculum is made up of all the experiences learners have that enable them to reach their intended achievements from the course.

A curriculum statement should enable learners, teachers and managers to know and fulfil their obligations in relation to the course. It should describe intended learner achievements, content to be covered, teaching, learning, supervision, feedback and assessment processes, entry requirements and course structure.

A syllabus is simply a list of the main topics of a course of study. This is only part of the curriculum.

The way in which a curriculum for medical education is designed depends on the designers’ views about how students learn, how medicine is practised, social responsibility and accountability, the role of the knowledge base, professional values, and health service development.

The curriculum design process should ask what is the purpose of the educational programme, how will the programme be organised, what experiences will further these purposes, and how can we determine whether the purposes are being attained?

There is no body of evidence which shows that there is one best choice for framing a curriculum as a whole of any of it parts. A curriculum should simply be fit for the purpose and context of its day.

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