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Syllabus Guidelines

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University policies regarding the content of syllabi for undergraduate courses have recently changed, while policies regarding graduate level courses have not changed. Click here for a summary of the changes in the policy. The information below represents requirements and recommendations for undergraduate course syllabi, including the policy changes, but this information may be considered as best practice for a syllabus on any level.

Instructors are required to make a complete course syllabus available on the first day of class, containing the information noted in the three sections below. There is no requirement that the syllabus be printed. Any changes to the syllabus made after the first day of class must be announced and must be clearly represented with the date of the revision.

Also see Useful Information for Preparing the Syllabus and the TLTC's Syllabus Guidance & Template page.

Course Information

  • Course Title
  • Course and Section Number, Semester
  • Meeting Location and Time
  • Name of Instructor and Contact Information

    Indicate specifically how students should contact you to:

    • Ask course related questions
    • Provide notification of an absence
    • Provide documentation for an excused absence
    • Arrange a meeting for discussion of academic accommodation for an excused absence
    • Arrange a meeting for discussion of DSS accommodations

    You may want to provide a model for how to contact the course instructor or TA by email and/or indicate to students how you would like to be addressed and what kind of issues are appropriate for email contact. You may also wish to indicate how students should communicate with you about issues such as course-related questions, absence from exams, the disclosure of a disability with request for accommodations, etc. Request on your syllabus that students notify you about an absence either before or as soon after the missed class as possible. In the case of religious observances, athletic events, and other planned absences, notification must be sent during the schedule adjustment period.

  • TA Names and Contact Information
    Indicate the role that the TA will play in the course. The instructor of record is responsible for the overall management of the course, which includes delegation of tasks to TA’s. Clarify to students whether they should take a grade complaint directly to you or begin with the TA.
  • Office Location and Office Hours
    Instructors should be available during their announced office hours, and may additionally offer to meet with students by appointment as well.
  • ELMS Site or Course Webpage
    Include information on how grades will be made available to students and how students will have access to review graded work, including the final examination.
  • Required Textbooks
    Include ISBN numbers if available.
  • Required Technology
    For example, personal response devices (clickers), calculator, or software package.
  • Prerequisites
  • Course Communication for Announcements
    Let students know how you will communicate with them regarding class cancellation, room change, or other timely announcements.
  • Emergency Protocol
    Let students know how courses will continue in case of an emergency closure.

Course Description, Goals, and Expectations

  • General Description of the Course
  • Statement of Course Goals and / or list of Student Learning Outcomes
    Refer to University, Department, and/or General Education Learning Outcomes goals.
  • Expectations for Students
    Include information about expectations for participation, contribution to group work, and other information supporting a successful student experience. List all the assignments and their due dates; list exams and their format.
  • Grading Procedures
    Explain the basis for determining final grades, including whether the plus/minus grading system will be used. Explain the relationship between in-class participation and the final course grade.
  • Course Schedule
    Outline activities for each course meeting. Provide dates for (at a minimum) the major graded assessments (e.g., examinations and due dates for projects and papers), including the final exam/assessment.

University Policies and Resources

  • Reference the Course Related Policies site hosted by the Office of Undergraduate Studies. Indicate to students that it is their responsibility to understand their rights and responsibilities as expressed in these policies. Students will also find on this page information about valuable resources to support academic success in this course, as well as overall health and well-being.
    Sample text: Policies relevant to Undergraduate Courses are found here: Topics that are addressed in these various policies include academic integrity, student and instructor conduct, accessibility and accommodations, attendance and excused absences, grades and appeals, copyright and intellectual property.

Course Procedures and Policies

  • Include policies specific to the course, such as policies for
    • Making up work after an excused absence
    • Team work (sample policy from Smith School)
    • Preferred citation style