A syllabus defines the academic content of a course and establishes expectations regarding course goals, content, requirements, methods of assessment, and procedures. It becomes a matter of record for both faculty and students.

Faculty Responsibilities

A syllabus is essential for each class and should be made available to students at the beginning of the term. Members of the faculty should make every attempt to have all decisions concerning the syllabus made by beginning of the term so that students may plan accordingly.

DCAL provides advice, consultation, and resources that may aid in course organization and design, including templates for syllabi.

Adjustments to the syllabus are unavoidable and often desirable to accommodate varying pace and interest in a class. Members of the faculty have significant discretion in revising their initial syllabus to adapt to the unique circumstances of each class.

However, some aspects of the syllabus shall not be changed after the add/drop date:

  • Changing the due dates of papers or timing of exams (unless to the obvious advantage of the students).
  • Changing the terms of evaluation of the course (i.e., the grading scheme and weighting of the components) inequitably.
  • A major change in the materials for the course that would impose a significant financial burden on the students (e.g., changing the readings so that initial purchases become unnecessary or new readings require additional purchases).