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Course Syllabus

UH Hilo Policy on the Course Syllabus

Every faculty member provides a formal course syllabus for each course. The course syllabus is a statement of the expectations of the instructor for student performance, evaluation and conduct. It should include information about texts or materials required, attendance policies (if any), the number and type of exams, reading and writing assignments, and grading criteria.

Note: In light of the work done by the Faculty Congress in response to WASC guidelines, student learning outcomes will need to be included in courses certified for General Education. Instructors of non-General Education courses are also encouraged to specify student learning outcomes.

Students have the right to expect the course to be conducted in accordance with the information provided in the syllabus, and a professor has the right to expect enrolled students to conform to the expectations and policies stated in the syllabus. The course syllabus may be used to determine the outcome of any dispute or complaint regarding the course. The university’s academic complaint policy can be found at

The Faculty Congress Campuswide Curriculum Review Committee has developed a comprehensive syllabus template that is endorsed by the Faculty Congress.

Syllabi should include:

  • Information about how to contact the professor, including email, office telephone number, a number where messages may be left (normally the division or college office), and the professor’s office hours for on-campus courses or arrangements for regular online interaction for online courses (see Office Hours in the Course Management section of this handbook) .
  • Information about the course including the texts or materials required, attendance policies, the number and type of exams, reading and writing assignments, and grading criteria (See Grading in the Course Management section of this handbook.)
  • Important dates, including due dates for major assignments, exam dates, last date to elect the credit/no credit option, last date to withdraw from courses without grade penalty, any holiday or non-instructional dates. The academic calendar is posted at the Registrar’s website.
  • A statement on university policy regarding withdrawals is in the Add/Drop/Withdraw section of the Course Management section.
  • A statement of the learning goals for the course. Almost all departments have a list of program learning goals which can be used in developing course goals; these are listed in program descriptions in the university catalog.
  • A statement of how the course, upper division as well as lower division, promotes the goals of General Education, such as critical thinking (comparison of various theoretical accounts), writing (journal, summaries, research report), and so forth. The current UH Hilo GE goals are posted at

Instructors should be sure to include a significant graded assignment, due and returned to students well before the withdrawal deadline at the end of the eighth week of the semester, so that students can make an informed decision about whether or not to remain in the course.

Faculty teaching online courses should be sure to specify the level of internet access and the technological skills, software, and hardware required for the course.

The following statements have been approved by the faculty Congress for inclusion in all course syllabi:

  • Any student with a documented disability who would like to request accommodation should contact the University Disability Services Office at 932-7623 (V) or 932-7002 (TTY), as early in the semester as possible.
  • Advising is a very important resource 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.

Faculty may also wish to include a reference to the UH Hilo Student Conduct Code in their syllabus. Acts of academic dishonesty such as plagiarism and cheating are prohibited and are subject to consequences, as are other forms of misconduct such as disruptive behavior. Faculty may also wish to explicitly state types of behavior that are expected of students in the classroom for an effective learning environment, such as respectfully listening to the opinions and comments of others, turning off cell phones, and coming to and leaving class at the scheduled time.

Establishing clear behavioral expectations may prevent problems from occurring in the classroom. The Student Conduct Code website includes suggestions for preventing and handling disruptive behavior in the classroom.

For information on field course syllabi requirements, see division chair or college dean or director.

Reviewed June 2013--AKS