Distinguishing Symposium & Conference

Seminars, workshops, conferences, symposiums, and more are events commonly held in academic environments. Many individuals have trouble distinguishing between these events due to their similarities and overlapping arrangements and participation. Nevertheless, there are differences concerning the number of delegates, topics covered, and duration that will be discussed in this article.


A symposium is a formal gathering in an academic setting where participants are experts in their fields. These experts present or deliver their opinions or viewpoints on a chosen topic of discussion. It would be accurate to describe a symposium as a small-scale conference, as there are fewer delegates. The primary characteristic of a symposium is that it covers a single topic or subject, and all the lectures given by experts are completed in a single day.

Symposiums are somewhat casual in nature, and there is not much pressure on the delegates to perform or present lectures in the best possible way, as is the case in other academic events. Lunch breaks, tea, and snacks are provided to further break the ice.


A conference refers to a formal meeting where participants exchange their views on various topics. Conferences can take place in different fields and may not always be academic in nature. Examples include parent-teacher conferences, sports conferences, trade conferences, journalist conferences, doctor conferences, and research scholar conferences. A conference is a prearranged meeting involving consultation and discussion on several topics by the delegates.

Conferences are generally large-scale events with many participants, although a conference can occur between just two people, such as a student and their instructor. In general, a conference refers to a meeting of numerous people coming from different places to the conference venue and discussing their views on a variety of topics. Conferences typically stretch over a few days, with formal discussions taking place on chosen days according to the conference agenda.

Key Takeaways

  • Conferences and symposiums are similar events where speakers come together and give their opinions on a chosen subject.
  • A symposium can be described as a smaller conference that concludes in a single day with a smaller number of delegates and focuses on a single topic.
  • Conferences are larger in scale, covering multiple topics and taking place over several days, with many participants from various fields.
Maria Nguyen
Maria Nguyen
Maria Nguyen is a talented writer with a flair for developing captivating content in a range of formats. Her commitment to thorough research and producing top-notch material has contributed to over 4 years of professional writing and editing experience. Outside of work, Maria finds pleasure in solitary activities and immersing herself in nature. Her introspective nature and passion for self-reflection inspire her creativity. She believes that spending time alone and observing the natural world can provide valuable insights and foster personal growth, broadening her perspective as a writer.


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