We recommend that you include the following components in your syllabus.
Include a description of the course. This can simply be the description listed in the ORC. You may also wish to include:
- Rationale and/or goals for the course within relevant program and/or department
- Information about course prerequisites and sequencing with other courses
Learning outcomes, or objectives, are statements that concisely describe what you want your students to know, and be able to do with that knowledge, by the end of a learning experience. Refer to our guide on learning outcomes to develop them for your course, then include them in your syllabus. Note that you may also develop learning outcomes for specific units, assignments, or activities within your course and may choose to include these in your syllabus as well.
Teaching Methods & Philosophy
Help students prepare and set appropriate expectations for your course by indicating what teaching methods you will use in class, as well as the rationale behind those methods. Methods might include lecture, discussion, small group work, active learning, web-based learning, and experiential learning, among others.
Expectations & Norms
Tell students what you expect of them and what they can expect of you, both in class and outside of class. Although some expectations may seem self-evident, students will be more successful and more likely to meet your expectations when you state them explicitly. Expectations may relate to:
- Contact information and preferences
- Office hours
- Attendance and timeliness
- Class workload
- When students should complete the assigned readings related to class meetings
- Technology use in the classroom
- Technology for managing course (such as email, Canvas or other educational technology)
Consider discussing these expectations and co-developing a set of class norms with students during the first week of class.
Class Climate & Inclusivity
Include any policies and expectations relating to class climate and inclusivity. These may include:
- Acknowledging bias (e.g. in personal viewpoints, of researchers, in course materials)
- Giving and receiving feedback
You may also wish to include information about resources available on campus to support an inclusive climate. Click here for an example statement on diversity and inclusion from Senior Lecturer in Neuroscience at Brown University Monica Linden.
Texts & Materials
Share with students what books, videos, Library Course Reserves, and other materials they will need for class and how they can access these materials. Be sure to indicate which materials are required and which are optional. You may also wish to explain why these materials have been chosen and how you expect to use them during the course. For courses where materials may evolve during the term, establish clear expectations for how these materials will be shared in a timely and appropriate manner for students to adequately prepare for class.
Assessment & Grading
Students want to know how they will be assessed in your course and understand what they must do to be successful. This section of your syllabus should contain the following components:
- Activities: A list of graded activities along with the weight of each activity
- Computation: An explanation of how you will compute final grades
- Evaluation Criteria: A description of the criteria you will use to evaluate student work
- Policies: All grading-related policies, such as for late work, extra credit, or redoing assignments
- Communication: Information about how students will know where they stand in the course, and how they should address questions or concerns about grading
There are several institutional policies, in addition to information that explains these policies, that all syllabi should include. You may wish to include a personal statement or additional information about how students should interpret them in relation to your course.
Include the Academic Honor Principle in your syllabus, and direct students to these additional resources about standards of conduct. You may also wish to draw on Sources and Citations at Dartmouth from The Institute for Writing & Rhetoric. Consider clarifying under what circumstances it is acceptable to you for students to work together on assignments.
The Dean of Faculty recommends including the following statement to acknowledge religious observances (Retrieved March 6, 2018):
Some students may wish to take part in religious observances that occur during this academic term. If you have a religious observance that conflicts with your participation in the course, please meet with me before the end of the second week of the term to discuss appropriate accommodations.
Student Accessibility and Accommodations
Student Accessibility Services (SAS) recommends including the following statement in your syllabus (Retrieved March 6, 2018):
Students with disabilities who may need disability-related academic adjustments and services for this course are encouraged to see me privately as early in the term as possible. Students requiring disability-related academic adjustments and services must consult the Student Accessibility Services office in Carson Hall 125 or by phone: 646-9900 or email: [email protected]
Once SAS has authorized services, students must show the originally signed SAS Services and Consent Form and/or a letter on SAS letterhead to me. As a first step, if you have questions about whether you qualify to receive academic adjustments and services, you should contact the SAS office. All inquiries and discussions will remain confidential.
As appropriate, list additional services that the students in your course might wish to use to support their learning. These might include:
Academic Skills Center (ASC): Open to the entire Dartmouth community, the ASC assists students in achieving their academic goals through tutoring and learning skills trainings.
Research Center for Writing, and Information Technology (RWIT): RWIT is a free service dedicated to helping members of the Dartmouth community develop more effective strategies for generating and organizing their ideas, finding and evaluating research sources, and presenting and revising compositions in a variety of media.
Dartmouth College Library: The Dartmouth College Library provides support through subject area specialization, course materials and reserves, reservable learning spaces, workshops & classes for students, research, scholarly publication, copyright, media, book arts, and more. The Library's Research Guides by subject area and your discipline's subject librarian are sources of specialized help for your course and students.
Including a course calendar of assignments, assessments, and other requirements helps students plan their time so they can meet the demands of your course. Students benefit from as much advance notice as possible. If you plan to adjust the course schedule during the term, please let students know this up front, and indicate how and when you will communicate these changes to students.
You may wish to include specific details about each assignment or assessment here, or provide just general information in the syllabus to be supplemented with specific details for each assignment at a later time.