The context is a course scheduling and the process in creating one: course scheduling. I have looked up, that schedule is typically used American English and timetable is typically used in British English, is that correct?

Then my question would be, how would a native speaker experience it when both terms are used in the same context? Because currently I have the feeling, that I could express myself better when using both.

Schedule seems to be the overall structure, the whole course schedule of the university for example and timetable, more as the timetable for this week: Monday to Friday.

  • Also note the pronunciation of the word schedule in the two flavours of English. Commented May 4, 2012 at 4:03
  • Note that schedule can easily be used as a verb, but it would be extremely awkward to use timetable as a verb. Commented Oct 31, 2014 at 7:38

2 Answers 2


Course schedule or class schedule would be well-understood in the U.S. to describe one's weekly program, whereas timetable would be quite unusual. Calendar might be applicable for longer periods; the course calendar might include note a public holiday when lecture is canceled and the dates of the midterm and final exams.

In American English, timetable has two general uses. The first denotes a published schedule for transportation arrivals and departures, such as airline flights, package delivery runs, or bus routes. Individuals would not generally have these kinds of timetables for themselves, unless they were pilots or drivers.

The second, on the other hand, refers to the broad time frame it would take to achieve some milestone. What's the timetable for upgrading the whole office to Windows 8? Oh, probably years rather than months. An individual could speak of having a timetable, but it would be a hypothetical and broad estimate, not something to consult. My timetable for finishing graduate school is 2015 or 2016, depending on where I get accepted.


Your last paragraph is on the right lines, at least as far as British English is concerned. For us in the UK, a timetable in an academic setting is a printed or electronic grid showing what lessons, classes or lectures take place at a particular time on a particular day. Schedule has a much wider application in describing, not necessarily in tabular form, various planned events.

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