Seven dimensions for characterizing a curriculum in higher education are suggested. The first two, prior knowledge and institutional response to prior knowledge, relate to antecedent aspects of the curriculum. Three others, primary teaching mode, rates of learning, and styles of learning, refer to transactional aspects, while the dimensions of content openness and assessment are associated with outcomes of the curriculum characteristics. When these dimensions are applied to chemistry courses in a variety of institutions for higher education, similarities and differences are objectively defined; and changes in particular courses over a period of time can be easily monitored. Courses are found not to be polarized between universities and non-universities.