This course gives you the knowledge and skills to approach or review the design and development of language teaching syllabi. You will look at the relationships between the syllabus and the curriculum, and with other aspects of teaching and learning, and explore the challenges of syllabus design. You will look at the role of the coursebook, learning objectives and assessment outcomes in syllabus design, and how to align a syllabus to external frameworks like the CEFR.


" I feel the tasks/materials I have engaged with are hyper-relevant for practical syllabus design and understanding. "

Angelica - 2023

Is this course for you?

Location: Online
A background in language education, as a teacher, manager or publisher.
Language Level: B2 or higher
Course dates: 
15 January - 20 March 2024
16 September - 20 November 2024
NILE Certificate
Course Length: 8 weeks
Course fees:
Course fee: 495.00
Minimum age: 18
Max class size: 18
Tutor-led and highly interactive
Live and asynchronous eLearning platforms
Specialist ELT eLibrary
Accredited by AQUEDUTO

Course content

exploring key concepts in syllabus design and development
consolidating your understanding of key issues and options in syllabus design and development
consolidating your understanding of the relationship between the syllabus and the coursebook
clarify the role of learning objectives and assessment in a syllabus
familiarising yourself with how to map a syllabus against CEFR
become familiar with considerations in integrating critical thinking and/or 21st Century skills in a syllabus
become familiar with a syllabus evaluation framework

You will also evaluate the possibility of going beyond language in a syllabus, to include, for example, critical thinking or other 21st century skills. Finally, you will consider principles for critically evaluating a syllabus and build up to an assignment which will assess the competences you have developed during the course.

Download course description

" This was a great introduction to syllabus design, I appreciate that the course is achievable for learners with little prior knowledge. "

Vanja - 2023

" The wealth and amount of material that is freely and easily available is fantastic along with the ease of communication between everyone on the course. "

Cory - 2023

Further Information

NILE Online courses are highly interactive and learning takes place through varied and engaging multimedia content and the collaboration between participants from different contexts. All participants work on the same unit in the same week but there is a high level of flexibility within that time period to help you fit studying around your life and work. The interaction via forums and the other powerful digital tools built into the platform help and encourage you to share ideas, ask questions, explore concepts and build up a community.

You need a computer, a headset (with microphone) and an Internet connection. Much of the course can be done on a mobile device, but a computer is needed for certain activities and tasks.

All participants have access to NILE’s extensive ELT e-library and an innovative social and cultural programme.

Meet a Course Tutor: Mary Carney

Mary Carney - NILE

Mary Carney has worked for over 35 years in the ELT field in Europe, South & East Asia, Australasia, MENA, Ukraine and the UK in teaching, training and training course moderation. For most of her career, she has held positions in academic management.

She was a Cambridge CELTYL course director and external moderator for 15 years and tutored on Sunderland University's PGCE, the Cambridge DELTA and CELTA, the Trinity Diploma (temporarily) and the IH London Diploma in ELT Management. She has been involved in large-scale education reform projects in Hong Kong and Burma and has had 2 teaching manuals published for Hong Kong primary and secondary schools.

Mary has been collaborating with NILE since 2015, initially as a remote MA dissertation supervisor and as an on-site CELTA tutor in Norwich in the summer months. For the past 3 years, she has been tutoring on Chichester University’s MA in Professional Development in Language Education. She currently tutors on 3 MA modules, is an MA grades moderator and works on quality assurance of the Trinity CertTESOL qualification as a panel member & external moderator.

Mary's qualifications include a BA, MA TEYL (University of York), Diploma in TEFLA (Cambridge), Diploma in ELT Management (IH London/Aston University), Diploma in Visual Education, Diploma in SEN and Certificate in TEAP. Her professional research interests include 1) the impact of leadership traits & skills on ELT staff retention and 2) the application of restorative justice practices in managing workplace bullying.

Available dates:

Course dates Location Course length
16 September - 20 November 2024 Online 8 weeks