updated March 2009
Students have the right to know from the outset what each course offers and what the professor commits to providing and requiring of students. A syllabus is a contract between professor and student. In presenting the syllabus to students at the beginning of the semester, the professor makes a statement in writing as to course purposes, policies, requirements, and assignments. In continuing in the course after receiving the syllabus, the student indicates acceptance of these.
The following useful information should be included in a syllabus in an order and manner that the instructor feels will be useful to students.
- Course alpha, number, title, section, credits,
- Professor’s name, email, office, office phone, office hours
- Time, days, location of class meetings
Overview of course
- Purpose of course and its place in the GE or major curriculum (e.g., course satisfies Block I requirement of the major; requires critical thinking by comparing different theoretical approaches to current American political problems)
- Three to five measurable learning goals or objectives of the course (including one or more consistent with GE/program/department student learning outcomes)
- Conceptual structure used to organize the course (e.g., genres, world regions)
- Theoretical or pedagogical assumptions (e.g., feminist perspective)
- Format or activities: lecture, field trips, interactive television, web component, peer reviews, etc.
- Prerequisite courses (e.g., a 200-level literature course) or skills (e.g., specific computer or math skills)
- Textbooks, reserve readings, and other materials and sources, required and recommended
- List of types of assignments, major assignments, exams, with descriptions and due dates
- Evaluation methods and grading policy
- Course policies on missed meetings, late assignments, make-up work, plagiarism, incomplete work, etc.
- Academic Integrity/Plagiarism statement (see a possible statement below)
- Accommodation statement and advising statement [see below for suggested text]
- Advising statement (see recommended wording below)
- Schedule of lectures, major assignments, term projects, exams, drop dates, etc.
- For online or blended courses
- required computer and software skills (e.g., ability to email and use browsers, ability to use Excel); hardware and software requirements (e.g., broadband/cable access to the internet, computer with Windows 10/MacOS X)
Academic integrity/plagiarism statement: (a possible statement, adaptable to different disciplines):
Students are strongly encouraged to familiarize themselves with the Student Code of Conduct for UH Hilo. I expect you to behave with integrity and hold both yourself and your peers to the highest standards of ethical behavior. Academic dishonesty encompasses, but is not limited to: (1) plagiarism (i.e., copying another individual’s words or ideas without appropriately citing the source); (2) turning in assignments that somebody else has completed; (3) referring to notes or other written/electronic materials, collaborating with others, copying someone else’s work, or providing answers to others in any fashion during an examination. Please note that knowledge of others’ cheating and failure to report this to me can also be construed as complicitness in academic dishonesty.
Should I have reason to suspect that academic dishonesty has occurred, I will conduct a thorough investigation or may refer the matter to the Director of Student Conduct for investigation. Possible sanctions should you be found responsible for academic dishonesty could include a failing grade for the course, suspension or even expulsion from the University. Such consequences could negatively affect your candidacy for graduate/professional programs or for some jobs.
Accommodation/access statement: (recommended wording)
Any student with a documented disability who would like to request accommodations should contact the University Disability Services Office (932-7623 (Voice), or 932-7002 (TTY), email@example.com, as early in the semester as possible.
Advising statement (recommended wording):
Advising is designed to help students complete the requirements of the university and their individual majors. Students should consult with their advisor at least once a semester to decide on courses, check progress towards graduation, and discuss career options and other educational opportunities provided by UH Hilo. Advising is a shared responsibility, but students have final responsibility for meeting degree requirements.
This checklist was endorsed by the UH Hilo Congress in May 2003 and by the UH Hilo Academic Council and Accreditation Steering Committee in April 2003. It is based on WASC guidelines for syllabi, Handbook for Accreditation (July 2008, CFR 2.2; Barbara Gross Davis, Tools for Teaching (San Francisco: Joss-Bassey, 1993), posted on the University of California-Berkeley website, and “Creating the Elegant Syllabus,” posted on the National Education Association (NEA) higher education website: