This syllabus template includes general required and recommended information for course syllabi for Auburn University. Please review specific requirements and recommendations established by your department. You may use all (or parts) of this template as needed to craft your own syllabus. If you already have a syllabus prepared, you may use this document as a checklist to ensure you have included all pertinent information and communicated it effectively to the level of student taking your course.
These quote sections contain “Best Practice” tips and ideas for your syllabus
Course Number and Title: This is the title that appears in the Bulletin and on student transcripts. The abbreviated title should be abbreviated in a way that is clear to the average user (a potential employer reading a student transcript). Use Roman numerals to designate first, second and third course in a sequence.
Your Name and Contact Information:
- Office number and building
- Office telephone number
- Email address
- Office hours
- A statement about when and how quickly you respond to email
Want your students to learn how to communicate with you via email but don’t want to spend class time on it? Send them to this link: A brief, six step guide to proper student email etiquette. Then have them practice these skills by sending you (or, for large classes, a peer) an email that follows the steps.
Course Description: This can be the brief description from the Bulletin, or you can write a longer description. The description should indicate course content and not outcomes of the course. The goals are not only to ensure that students know what the course is about but also to clarify its rigor and scope.
Credit Hours: Define the number of hours of lecture. Indicate the number of contact hours per credit of labs and studios per week.
Course Prerequisites: Indicate whether the course has prerequisites, co-requisites (course(s) that must be taken the same semester) or prerequisites with concurrency (course(s) that may be taken before or during the same semester with the course.)
What will you do if a student has the necessary pre-reqs but hasn’t mastered, or doesn’t remember, the foundational knowledge or skills? Where can a student go to get caught up? What resources can you offer or point struggling students toward?
If mastery of pre-req skills and knowledge are vital to your course, consider implementing a Team Based Learning approach to facilitate peer-to-peer learning between students of different skills and backgrounds. Have students take a pre-req test on the first day of class (use a Canvas Quiz for immediate assessment) and make top performers team leaders. Have weak performers correct their mistakes to (re)learn baseline knowledge.
Outcomes and Objectives
Student Learning Outcomes (SLOs): These are clear statements of what you expect students to learn in your course. SLOs are often presented as a bulleted list of 4-8 comprehensive learning goals. These goals specify what students should KNOW by the end of the course and what students should be able to DO by the end of the course. An effective SLO will specify an action by the student (not the instructor) that is observable and measurable, and therefore, assessable by the instructor.
Weak SLO: Students will gain critical thinking skills (action).
Better SLO: Students will demonstrate critical thinking skills (action) by applying X knowledge from the course (observable) to Y contexts in order to solve Z problems (measurable).
For a quick guide to writing effective outcomes, check out this Tips on Writing Learning Outcomes resource from the University of Illinois.
Examples of good SLOs from different disciplines:
Chemistry – Students demonstrate understanding of fundamental concepts of chemistry by definition, explanation and use of these ideas in examinations and laboratory exercises.
Statistics – When given two events, you will be able to determine whether they are independent or whether there is a relationship between them (that is, one event affects the probability of the other). On the basis of this determination, you will be able to select and use the appropriate rules of conditional probability to determine the probability that a certain event will occur.
Art – When shown a print, students will be able to identify whether it is a woodcut, an etching or a lithograph, and students will be able to list the characteristics on which this identification was based.
Psychology – When given a case study, you will be able to identify whether it describes a case of schizophrenia, and if it does, which of the following schizophrenic reactions are involved: hybephrenic, catatonic or paranoia.
(Examples are taken from Designing and Assessing Courses and Curricula, Third Edition, 2008. Robert M. Diamon. Jossey-Bass: San Francisco, CA.)
Objectives: While outcomes describe the end-result learning that students must demonstrate and are framed from a student’s perspective, objectives focus on course content to describe the means by which students will achieve the outcomes and are framed from an instructor’s perspective. Objectives specify topics to be covered, teaching philosophy and teaching style. They use broad verbs: study, know, appreciate, enjoy, believe grasp, etc., as compared to the more specific verbs of outcomes: write, identify, calculate, compare, etc.
Still confused about the difference between Outcomes & Objectives? ASU offers here a brief, clear description of the difference between Outcomes and Objectives and why it matters.
Examples of Objectives:
In this course, students will:
- Gain an understanding of the historical origins of art history.
- Read and analyze seminal works in the 20th Century American literature.
- Participate in Team Based Learning.
- Recognize the importance of ethics in decision making.
(Examples are taken from ASU Provost’s handout on Goals, Objectives and Outcomes).
Core Curriculum SLOs
Auburn University has identified 11 Student Learning Outcomes of the Core Curriculum. These “represent the academic skills and principles we want our students to know and/or be able to do as they progress towards completing their educational goals.” Relevant SLOs and their measures must be listed on undergraduate course syllabi for all Core Curriculum classes, and the rubrics must be included in the syllabi. Find the list of SLOs and a link to their measures at the Core Curriculum page.
Example SLO’s are below.
This course satisfies SLO 1: Students will be information literate. It is assessed by the following measures:
- Determine the nature and extent of information needed.
- Access information effectively and efficiently.
- Evaluate information critically.
- Use information to accomplish a specific purpose.
- Understand the economic, legal, and social issues associated with using information.
Once you’ve finished putting your syllabus together, you may wish to use this University of Virginia rubric as a tool for reviewing your course syllabus.
Assignments, Grading and Class Materials
List of assignments and a brief overview of each:
Grading and Evaluation Procedures:
- The grading system (for example, “90-100 is an A”) and the method of determining the grade.
- The relative importance of assigned papers, quizzes, exams and class participation in determining the final grade.
- The approximate schedule for examinations (other than the final).
- The policy on unannounced quizzes.
- A reminder that students may withdraw without grade penalty until the 15th class day, and until mid-semester (although a W will appear on the student’s transcript if the student withdraws between the 16th and 36th class day).
- A reminder that students who withdraw from the course between the 6th class day and the 15th class day will pay a course drop fee of $100.
List of assigned textbooks, readings, and any other required or recommended course materials:
To avoid confusion and costly mistakes, be sure to specify all relevant information about the acquisition of materials. If there is a particular edition of a textbook you want to students to use, be sure to highlight that information, provide a link, and/or include a thumbnail image of the cover of the edition you want them to purchase.
Include policy statements on class-related matters, such class attendance/absences and class participation. Here are some policies with examples.
- Policies on Class Attendance, Submission of Late Written Assignments, Missed In-Class Work and Missed Examinations:
- Excused Absences: Students are granted excused absences from class for the following reasons: Illness of the student or serious illness of a member of the student’s immediate family, death of a member of the student’s immediate family, trips for student organizations sponsored by an academic unit, trips for University classes, trips for participation in intercollegiate athletic events, subpoena for a court appearance and religious holidays. Students who wish to have an excused absence from this class for any other reason must contact the instructor in advance of the absence to request permission. The instructor will weigh the merits of the request and render a decision. When feasible, the student must notify the instructor prior to the occurrence of any excused absences, but in no case shall such notification occur more than one week after the absence. Appropriate documentation for all excused absences is required.
- Make-Up Policy: Arrangements to make up missed major examination (e.g. hour exams, mid-term exams) due to properly authorized excused absences. Except in unusual circumstances, such as continued absence of the student or the advent of University holidays, a make-up exam will take place within two weeks from the time the student initiates arrangements for it. Except in extraordinary circumstance, no make-up exams will be arranged during the last three days before the final exam period begins. The format of the make-up exam will be (as specific by the instructor).
- A statement that students are responsible for checking class emails and Canvas, if you use email or Canvas:
Notify students that they have control of the notification settings in their Canvas accounts. You might specify that they should set up their notifications to alert them when an Announcement is posted, an Assignment is due, a grade is released, etc. For students new to Canvas, save time (and emails) by sharing this link to a 7 minute “Getting Started with Canvas” video (and transcript) created by Canvas LMS.
- A statement assuring students of your willingness to comply with the provisions of the Americans with Disabilities Act: Students who need accommodations are asked to electronically submit their approved accommodations through AU Access and to make an individual appointment with the instructor during the first week of classes – or as soon as possible if accommodations are needed immediately. If you have not established accommodations through the Office of Accessibility, but need accommodations, make an appointment with the Office of Accessibility, 1228 Haley Center, 844-2096 (V/TT).
- A statement concerning Academic Honesty: All portions of the Auburn University Student Academic Honesty code (Title XII) found in the Student Policy eHandbook will apply to this class. All academic honesty violations or alleged violations of the SGA Code of Laws will be reported to the Office of the Provost, which will then refer the case to the Academic Honesty Committee.
- A statement concerning Classroom Behavior: The Auburn University Classroom Behavior Policy is strictly followed in the course; please refer to the Student Policy eHandbook for details of this policy.
- An Emergency Contingency statement: If normal class and/or lab activities are disrupted due to illness, emergency, or crisis situation (such as an H1N1 flu outbreak), the syllabus and other course plans and assignments may be modified to allow completion of the course. If this occurs, an addendum to your syllabus and/or course assignments will replace the original materials.
- For Core Curriculum courses, you must also include a statement about the Early Alert Grade Requirement: Early Alert Grade: You will receive an “Early Alert Grade” one week prior to midterm (31st class day). The Early Alert Grade represents your current performance on class work graded at that point in the semester. If your Early Alert Grade is a “D,” “F,” or “FA,” you will receive an email from the AU Retention Coordinator. Early Alert Grades can be viewed by logging into AU Access, opening the “tiger i” tab, selecting “Student Records” and opening the “Midterm Grades” window from the drop down box. If the grade appears inaccurate, please contact the instructor.
Tentative 15-week Schedule:
- Due dates for reading assignments with a reminder that readings should be completed before the class discussion or lecture about them.
- Due dates for written work, including exams, papers, projects, and other assignments. Exams should not be scheduled during the final three class days of the semester, nor should major papers be due so late in the semester that they cannot be returned to students by the last day of class.
- The University-established date and time for the final examination. Do not schedule final exams on the last day of the semester or on Study Days (Dead Days). Be sure to follow all University policies about rescheduling final exams, if rescheduling is necessary.
If you are experiencing stress that feels unmanageable (personal or academic) during the semester, Auburn University’s Student Counseling & Psychological Services (SCPS) offers a variety of services to support you. The mission of SCPS is to provide comprehensive preventative and clinical mental health services to enhance the psychological well-being of individual students, as well as the broader campus culture. As an instructor, I am available to speak with you regarding stresses related to your work in this course, and I can assist in connecting you with the SCPS network of care. You can schedule an appointment yourself with the SCPS by calling (334)844-5123 or by stopping by their offices on the bottom floor of Haley Center or the second floor of the Auburn University Medical Clinic.
If you or someone you know needs to speak with a professional counselor immediately, the SCPS offers counseling during both summer term as well as the traditional academic year. Students may come directly to the SCPS and be seen by the counselor on call, or you may call 334.844.5123 to speak with someone. Additional information can be found at http://wp.auburn.edu/scs.
Added to Syllabi for Graduate Courses
Along with the information required for undergraduate course syllabi, graduate course syllabi should include a section titled “Justification for Graduate Credit.” Provide justification for graduate credit for course at the 6000-level or above. Graduate course should be progressively more advanced in academic content than undergraduate programs and should foster independent learning, according to SACS guidelines. For information, please visit the Provost’s website.
Last modified: October 23, 2020