Resources for Writing a Syllabus

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The creation of a comprehensive course syllabus is a vital part of teaching any course.  The syllabus is in effect a contract between the teacher and the students, and clearly sets out expectations from both perspectives.  Not only is it a useful instrument to describe what will be taught in the course, which will greatly assist the teacher in delivering the material, it also sets out what the sudents can expect to derive from the course, and how they can demonstrate that they have achieved these outcomes.  In particular, specific attention to the student learning objectives (SLOs) benefits students, teachers, advisors, and other faculty in determining how the course can prepare them for further learning and for their future research.

As well as the requisite basic information about content and class details, which are available from the course catalogue, the syllabus should also provide specific information on the particular policies you will apply about class participation, absence, missed work, assessment activities, laboratory or field work (if any), and so on.  The Graduate School has provided language about expectations of academic integrity, respect for diversity, accessibility and inclusion, and other topics.  

A minimal description of your course and its prerequisites will be displayed on faculty's individual main website, intended for public view. More extensive course information including the weekly content and SLOs will be presented in the course catalog online, designed for our students and internal use, but still open to public view.  The syllabus goes into further detail, including grading policy and standards, assessment items, and your course policies.  These details will be retained within the Graduate School information systems, and are not made public.  You should distribute the full syllabus and discuss the contents with your students in the first class.  The syllabus may be shared electronically via the LMS. Modifications to the syllabus during the course are possible, but must be discussed with your students and shared with the Graduate School. Such modifications may include changes to the range or depth of material to be covered in the term, which may arise as a result of the specific needs of your enrolled students who will be different each year.

Writing a good syllabus may seem challenging, but the benefits to students and teachers are clear.  The Graduate School has prepared a template to assist with the format, and offers an example of a very comprehensive completed syllabus for your guidance (see links below).  We also offer the following materials produced by other universities and sources, for added support in the process of syllabus creation.

◆Download the template and the sample Syllabus documents (.docx)

 ○ The Syllabus Template
 ○ Example of Completed Syllabus

How to Write an Effective Syllabus

START HERE: Excellent Overview Article from The Chronicle of Higher Education


Student Learning Outcomes (SLOs)


Examples from Other Universities