Course Syllabus

The course syllabus represents the agreement between professor and student about what content a course will cover, what skills the student will be expected to use, how the professor will determine the student’s grades, and when the various assignments are due. The professor may operate on the assumption that the students can be expected to put in two hours outside of class for every class hour.

The syllabus should be limited to two to three pages, typewritten. The professor presents the syllabus to students in the first week of the course, preferably on the first day of class. The professor makes sure each enrolled student receives and understands the syllabus.

Occasionally, circumstances will arise that make changes in the syllabus necessary. These changes need to be made carefully and sparingly. The students must understand the changes and the reasons for them. Students usually perceive changes that work retroactively as unfair.

Syllabus Format

The syllabus needs to include the following information, perhaps in this format:

                                             Course Title

Course Number                                                                                                 Instructor’s Name

Semester and Year                                                                              Office Number, Hours, Phone


Briefly state the overall purpose of the course.

Learning Outcomes

State the major skills and/or knowledge students will gain in the course.


Give complete and current bibliographic information about the texts you have chosen. Specify whether the text is required or optional and whether it is to be purchased or used through library reserve.

Social Media/Public Posting Expectations

Make clear in this section what students may be expected to post on various social media platforms or other public forums.  Be aware that for some students there may be FERPA concerns with public posting and other arrangements may need to be made. (see Privacy, Confidentiality, and FERPA>Tools/Pedagogy) {link}

Recording Class Meetings

Outline any plan to record class meetings or discussions, including an explanation of how said recordings will be stored and potentially used.  Bear in mind that each student’s class enrollment is not directory information and therefore any use of class recordings that would make a student’s enrollment public information requires the student’s signed release.

Course Content

Identify the main topics, units, problems, projects, or other logical sections into which the subject matter is divided (his information may be provided already under “Objectives”).

Course Requirements and Grading

Explain clearly what you require from the students. If you require attendance or vocal participation in class, for example, make this clear. Make clear to students the basis for grading and the relative importance of the requirements and standards for earning an A, B, C, etc. Specify the due dates for assignments and the examination dates. Be sure to specify the format for assigned papers and make clear your expectations for organization, content and length.

Course Schedule

Provide students with a schedule for reading and other assignments and examinations. Specify the reading assignments and whether they are in the text(s) or on reserve in the library.

Bibliography, Related Materials

If appropriate to the course, compile a short bibliography limited to ten to fifteen of the most important references or significant related materials.

A paragraph related to students with disabilities should be included in all syllabi.  The following links connect you to the most recent syllabus language for Traditional UG courses, and Graduate and ADP courses. Please include this information in your syllabi as a means of assisting these students.