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Recommendations for Syllabi

New course outlines require a course syllabus be attached. The goal of the syllabus is to summarize the course content, set policies for the course, and set expectations for students in the course. Syllabi vary greatly in content and length, but good examples usually include the following sections:
  • Course number, title and credit in hours (Update if the course was previously offered under a temporary number)
  • Instructor and/or TA’s preferred contact information, including office hours
  • Course meeting time (we use this to verify contact hours in the outline) and place (if known)
  • Course description and/or goals including prerequisites (optional, but helpful to the students)
  • Lists of readings and texts
  • List of topics by date (we use this to verify contact hours in the outline)
  • Assignments and exams, due dates and expectations for them both
  • Policies about absences and make-ups and late assignments
  • Policy, or reference to the Code about cheating/plagiarism
  • How grades are determined in as much detail as possible (number of assignments, exams, class participation; % of the total grade for each or points for each; a scale of final grades, A=90%, or at some indication of how that will be calculated; it’s ok to say "..the scale will be adjusted, but in the past 87=A+,....," etc.)
  • If variable credit is offered, what are the extra requirements/expectations, and how they will be accounted for in the final grade. This is especially important for grad/undergrad mixed courses where expectations for graduate students will be higher.
  • If the instructor has any strong concerns, policies or expectations, they are best included here, i.e. readings must be done before the class meets, tardiness is frowned upon, etc.
  • For students with disabilities, the following statement should be included : "Disability Accommodations -To obtain disability-related academic adjustments and/or auxiliary aids, students with disabilities must contact the course instructor and the Disability Resources and Educational Services (DRES) as soon as possible. To contact DRES you may visit 1207 S. Oak St., Champaign, call 333-4603 (V/TTY), or e-mail a message to disability@illinois.edu."  
The guidelines above are specific to graduate courses. Additional information about syllabi is available from the Provost’s Office and the Center for Teaching Excellence offers resources that provide advice and information to help to create a well-organized syllabus.