Course Syllabi

The course syllabus serves as a contract between the student and professor regarding course expectations and policies. The course syllabus should clearly communicate what the instructor expects of students and what students can expect from the instructor.

A course syllabus must be finalized and distributed to the class during the first week of classes.

All course syllabi should include, but are not limited to, the following components:

  • Course Description. Statement of general course goals and the academic topics and content covered in the course.
  • Learning Outcomes. Specific student-focused statements that specify what the student should be able to do at the completion of the course.
  • Course Requirements. The number of papers, tests, and any other requirements, such as homework, attendance, class participation, laboratory assignments, and clinical performance, that will count toward the final grade. Deadlines for assignments should also be specified.
  • Academic Content. What the student will be held accountable for, including required readings, lectures, films, field trips, etc.
  • Grading Policy. How results from various requirements will be combined into a final grade: relative weightings, make-up policy for tests, etc. Grading Policies should also include:
  • Specification of the level of work must be completed in order to obtain specific letter grades (A-F) or a passing grade if the course is graded on a Pass/Fail basis; and
  • Reference to the university undergraduate Incomplete Policy (within this catalog) and any additional instructor requirements and comments regarding the use of Incomplete grades.
  • Office Hours. Specification of when and where the instructor is available for consultation each week.
  • Academic Integrity. Reference to the University Undergraduate Academic Integrity policy (within this catalog) and any additional instructor requirements and comments regarding academic dishonesty.
  • Disability Services. Information about the university’s Disability Services Office and the requirement to register with that office in order to receive accommodation for physical and learning disabilities.

During the semester, instructors are expected to conform to their course syllabi, except as unanticipated circumstances require deviation. In such situations, instructors should inform all students and provide an opportunity for discussion with students prior to making a final decision regarding changes in the course syllabus.

In addition, instructors are expected to recognize the following policies as appropriate in class situations:

  • Criteria for the grading of papers should be made explicit before the paper is due; and the formats for examinations should be made explicit prior to their administration.
  • Grading components, i.e., the activities whose assessments determine the course grade and the proportion of the grade determined by each, shall be specified in course syllabi. If these components are amended while the course is in progress, all students in the course shall be notified of the changes in writing or by electronic mail with sufficient time to adapt to and fulfill the changed requirements. Grades shall not be changed due to completion of additional grade components or assignments specified after the close of the session in which the course is offered.
  • All corrected papers and examinations should be available for review by students. If a student believes that an error in grading has been made, he or she should be able to consult with the instructor and receive an explanation.
  • Classes are to meet at the time and in the location listed in the official UB course schedule, unless changed with the consent of the entire class.

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