Syllabus Guidelines

Syllabus Components
(on this page)

» Logistical Information
» Course Description
» Pedagogy (optional)
» Learning Objectives
» Required Course Materials
» Attendance & Classroom Expectations
» Blackboard or other course site
» Grading Criteria/Policies
» Assessments (Graded Work)
» Course Evaluation
» Course Schedule
» Tips for Success
» Visual or Other Representation of the Course
» UVM Values & Policies

General Overview:

Ideas about the structure, necessary components, and purpose of a syllabus can vary across institutions and even from faculty member to faculty member. This page was created in collaboration between the University of Vermont Faculty Senate Curricular Affairs Committee (CAC) and the Center for Teaching and Learning (CTL). It summarizes the main components of a UVM syllabus and emphasizes the role of the syllabus in fostering clear communication between faculty and students regarding course goals, structure, expectations and/or requirements, schedule, and policies. These basic elements should not be altered significantly once the syllabus has been made available to students.

These guidelines are not intended to limit the inclusion of additional elements on a syllabus. Some faculty may wish to include information about their teaching philosophy, the role of a particular course in a program or course sequence, or other information specific to their college, teaching style, or course design.

The University of Illinois has a helpful page that offers a deeper discussion of the functions of the syllabus:

Syllabus Components:

Logistical Information
Course Description

The course description should give students an overview of this course. This usually includes:

Pedagogy (optional)

You may choose to describe the types of teaching/learning experiences in the course. This information may also be incorporated in your Course Description.

Learning Objectives

Learning objectives clearly state what skills or knowledge students should have mastered upon completion of the course. Generally speaking, they should focus on the main concepts covered in the class and how those concepts can be applied. Learning objectives can be framed by the clause "After completing this course the student will be able to:" (followed by the list of learning objectives). If applicable, faculty may indicate in this section professional standards for their field that align with course objectives. For more information on drafting course-level learning objectives,
» see this CTL page.

Required Course Materials
Attendance & Classroom Expectations
Blackboard or other course site (e.g. textbook-linked homework or testing site)
Grading Criteria/Policies
Assessments (Graded Work)
Course Evaluation

Include a statement that all students are expected to complete an evaluation of the course at its conclusion. Indicate that the evaluations will be anonymous and confidential, and that the information gained, including constructive criticisms, will be used to improve the course.

Course Schedule

A course schedule should include all class meeting dates and topics, readings, due dates, and exam dates. If there are additional out-of-class activities or events that students are expected to attend, these should be included on the course schedule as well. There are many different ways to organize your course schedule (e.g. weekly list, chart/grid, color-coded table). We recommend that you present it in the format that you think will be most clear for your students.

NOTE: Faculty may choose to separate the course information and policies section from the Course Schedule. These may be posted or distributed as one document or as separate documents, however it is important that both general course information and specific information about course meeting dates, due dates, and materials to prepare are provided to students at the beginning of the semester. Additional sections listed below could be included in your syllabus or be posted separately.

Tips for Success (optional)

These might include:

Visual or Other Representation of the Course (optional)

Some faculty provide a diagram or sketch representing the course structure; this can help students better understand how parts of a course relate to each other.

UVM Values & Policies

» See this CTL page.

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