Instructors of record are responsible for developing course syllabi. The syllabus is a contract between students and the instructor that includes course expectations and responsibilities for both student and instructor. Policies and procedures are included to make expectations clear to all. The syllabus is also a permanent record of a course and can become a part of a review process for instructors, departments, and institutions. Often it is linked to accreditation standards for a department or discipline.
The university requires consistent elements in each syllabus according to the university Course Syllabi Requirements Policy:
- Title and section number of the course
- Instructor’s name, office number, office telephone number (if applicable), office hours (whether face-to-face or online), and e-mail address
- Required and/or recommended textbooks, workbooks, and other materials (clickers, software, etc.)
- Course goals, learning objectives/outcomes, and/or course competencies. For more information on writing student learning outcomes, click here.
- Brief description of each major course requirement, including each major assignment and/or examination
- Grading policies. For information regarding university policies regarding grading, click here.
- Attendance policy. For information regarding university policies regarding class rolls and attendance, click here.
- Date, time, and place of final examination. To see the university final exam schedule for current and upcoming semesters, click here.
- American with Disabilities Act accommodation statement. For the sample syllabi statement and more on accommodating students with disabilities, click here.
- Course safety procedures for laboratory courses, if applicable. You can find the suggested language for this policy here.
- Emergency notification and procedures. You can find the suggested language for this policy here.
- Academic integrity policy. You can find the suggested language for this policy here.
- College/school requirements for learning outcomes/objectives/goals/competencies as approved through the curriculum process
- A general description of the subject matter of each lecture or discussion. This information can be included on a course calendar with assignment and exam due dates.
- For online courses, the syllabus must include information for F1 visa holders. Click here for more information regarding this policy.
The university also has optional syllabi information that can provide additional clarification to courses, such as:
- Student responsibility for their learning
- Late work policy. This information could be included with the required grading policy information to make the syllabus shorter.
- Incomplete grades. This information could be included with the required grading policy information to make the syllabus shorter. For information regarding university policies regarding incompletes, click here.
- Digital copyright and intellectual property protection
- Environment, health, and safety issues if applicable
- Advice for academic success in the course. As part of the “Succeed at UNT” initiative, it is suggested that the following language be included in course syllabi:
“UNT endeavors to offer you a high-quality education and to provide a supportive environment to help you learn and grow. And, as a faculty member, I am committed to helping you be successful as a student. Here’s how to succeed at UNT: Show up. Find support. Get advised. Be prepared. Get involved. Stay focused.
To learn more about campus resources and information on how you can achieve success, go to succeed.unt.edu”
- The following are specific university policies that instructors have the option of adding to their syllabus. For suggested syllabi language, click here.
- Retention of student records
- Acceptable student behavior
- Access to information – Eagle Connect
- Student evaluation administration dates
- Sexual Assault Prevention
- For online courses, in addition to the required F-1 visa holder policy, we recommend including the following policy information. You can find the suggested wording for these policies by clicking here:
- Intellectual property policy
- Student verification policy
- Use of student work policy
Depending on your course, CLEAR recommends including additional information regarding:
- Teaching Assistant information, including contact information. This information should be included along with required instructor contact information.
- Course pre-requisites, co-requisites, and/or other restrictions. This information should be included along with required title and section number of the course information.
- Course description. This information should be included along with required title and section number of the course information.
- The instructor’s teaching philosophy
- Technical requirements/assistance, including information for contacting the university student help desk. This information is particularly important to any university course that utilizes the learning management system or other university supported technologies.
- Minimum technical skills needed for success in the course such as using the learning management system, using email with attachments, creating and submitting files in commonly used word processing program formats, etc.
- Student academic support services, including counseling and testing services, libraries, learning center, etc.
- Communicating with the instructor, including the primary tool that will be used to communicate directly with students, such as email, the learning management system, etc. Indicate where students should send personal concerns or questions. State clearly when students can expect to receive a response to emails, along with time frame in receiving feedback on assignments and when grades will be posted. State any additional communication policies and netiquette for your course, if applicable.
- Course calendar with assignment and exam due dates. Can include with required syllabi information for general descriptions of the subject matter of each lecture or discussion.
- Assignment submission policy, including policy procedures in the event of unplanned technology difficulties. This information is especially important for any class where students submit assignments electronically or complete exams online.
- Examination policy, including whether tests are open or closed-book exams and the course policy on the student not meeting the exam due date and/or procedures in the event of unplanned technology difficulties.
- Instructor responsibilities and feedback, i.e.: helping students grow and learn; providing clear instructions for projects and assessments; answering questions about assignments; etc. Include an estimated timeline and format in which students can anticipate a response regarding emails, discussion board posts if applicable, assignment feedback, and grades.
- Class participation policy. This information could be included with policies regarding acceptable student behavior. For online courses, we recommend including netiquette information.
- Syllabus change policy. It is good practice to tell students that the schedule is a guide for the semester and is subject to minor modification as the course develops.
To see this list as a pared-down, interactive document that you can print out or check off electronically, click here.
For a sample syllabus for face-to-face courses and online courses that can be downloaded and adapted to instructor need, click here.
Including all this information in the syllabus can certainly lengthen an already long syllabus. If this is a concern for you, we recommend designing a Start Here section for your course where you can include the above information. Start Here sections are crucial to online courses, but also highly beneficial to any course regardless of modality.
For information regarding the creation, distribution, and usage of course syllabi, see the university Course Syllabi Requirements Policy.