While describing my past educational experience at a research university for BSc/MSc students, I sometimes have to write sentences such as

The topics of my courses and seminars concerned mostly machine learning and artificial intelligence.

I'm wondering whether "seminar" is a particular kind of "course" in the US, and whether the sentence better sounds as follows in the US English:

The topics of my lecture courses and seminars concerned mostly machine learning and artificial intelligence.

What terms (instead of "lecture course" and "seminar") would I use in the UK-English text? (I've read https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Course_(education), but I have no trust in Wikipedia at all.)

  • To remove all ambiguity, just write study?
    – user22427
    Commented Jan 19, 2018 at 9:44

1 Answer 1


As far as I know, lecture, course and seminar have the same meaning in both British and American English.

A lecture and a seminar are both one-off activities, whereas a course generally involves a number of separate activities over a period of time. The activities could all be lectures, but the course could include seminars, practicals, projects, tutorials, exams, maybe even a thesis.

In BrE, a lecture course would simply be a series of lectures on a particular subject, without any activities other than lectures. I don't see any particular need to add the lecture prefix to courses, especially on a CV.

The first of your sentences is therefore perfectly adequate.

  • @Hexal, that wiki says "In ... United Kingdom ... a course is the entire programme of studies required to complete a university degree": that's way off the mark. There is no prescribed duration for a course: it could take just one day, for example ucl.ac.uk/centras/study/professional/one-day. The only requirement is that all of the lectures in a course are about the same subject. To quote from the Cambridge University Natural Sciences prospectus "each student has an individual programme of courses leading to their degree"
    – JavaLatte
    Commented Jan 19, 2018 at 13:46
  • @Hexal: Yes, that's about right.
    – JavaLatte
    Commented Jan 19, 2018 at 15:23

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