Syllabus Guidelines

What your students need to know

There is no universal, prescribed set of College policies pertaining to student attendance and grading of student performance. However, it is vital that each faculty member spell out clearly his/her particular requirements for a given course as part of a syllabus provided to students at the beginning of the term (students will expect a syllabus on the first day of class). In general, students need to know what is expected of them, when their work is due and how their performance will be evaluated.

It’s an excellent idea to ask your department chair for sample syllabi in your discipline and to ask specifically about student workload norms (typical number of exams/quizzes; pages of reading per week; written pages; attendance, etc.) in your department. The Teaching Commons has a range of helpful links and resources to support you in designing courses and in writing excellent syllabi.

One of the most important tasks your syllabus needs to accomplish is to make your expectations clear.

General Rule of Thumb: If you have a course policy, state it clearly on the syllabus.

The Educational Policies Committee (EPC), the faculty committee that approves new courses, has helpful tips for what your syllabus needs to include.