Syllabus Template

word file for this Syllabus Template is available to download for you to use.

[Course Title]

[Interesting quote, motivating information].


[Class location]

[Class Meeting time(s)]

Instructor: [Name] and [Office, e-mail, phone]

Office Hours: [scheduled + by appointment? Virtual Office Hours?]

Grading: [options: SU/Letter, choice of credit hours?]


Why does this course exist? How does it fit in with the rest of the field/area’s curriculum?

Course Aims and Outcomes:


Thinking from the prospective students’ point of view, what general outcomes is the course designed to achieve? How will it contribute to them professionally?

Specific Learning Outcomes

By the end of this course, students will:

List as specifically as possible the learning outcomes the course is intended to produce. It is helpful here to think about the kinds of evidence you will need to assess the students’ learning as your outcomes should drive your assessment and grading schema. Kinds of evidence can be manifest in what students say, do, think and/or feel. What they say (as on an exam, paper, project, homework, etc., or in class discussion) reflects their thinking.

Feelings are often neglected in specifying course or class outcomes, yet the research on the role of affect (emotions and feelings) in learning has been well documented and has been shown to have a significant influence and integration with cognitive learning. For example, if you were teaching a course on ecology it would be difficult to do without addressing human values, which have an affective aspect to them.

If certain psychomotor skills are intended to be developed, the evidence will be in doing (as in a lab course where actions like titration, completing successful assays, collecting meaningful data and analyzing it are regular expectations) they should be articulated as clearly as possible.

A well stated outcome has two components:

  • Substance – content/subject matter like osmosis or absorption.
  • Form – what action must the student perform with regards to the substance (compare and contrast, evaluate, analyze, apply, etc.).

Format and Procedures:

How is the course structured and how will classes be carried out? What behavioral expectations does the instructor have for the students in class?

This is where specifications for attendance, participation, and respect for others should be spelled out to act as a behavioral guide. If the course has multiple formats (like lecture & recitation, lab and discussion, group learning projects and/or presentations) these should be explained clearly.

My Assumptions

This is a section where the instructor can communicate his or her personal assumptions and/or biases regarding the course content to set it off from other similar courses and other instructors. Does the instructor have a unique operational definition for some of the core course concepts? What principles and/or beliefs about either the content or how to effectively learn the content held by the instructor would be helpful for the students to know up front?

Course Requirements:

Whatever tasks and assignments you include in your course should be aligned with the specified learning outcomes you have defined and specified earlier.

  • Class attendance and participation policy:
  • Course readings:
    • Required text:
    • Background readings, course packet available in the university bookstore? Use of course Blackboard website? Download and bring handouts to class?
  • Assignments based on the number of credits for which the learner is enrolled. This template provides options for students to choose the number of credits they register for. This option is not appropriate for all courses.
    • One credit – What are the minimum requirements if the student can choose to take the course for one credit?
      • (1)
      • (2)
    • Two credits – In addition to those activities for one credit, students electing two credits will...
    • Three credits – Those selecting three credits must complete the work for the first two credits, but in addition they must...

Grading Procedures

Grades for the different credit options will be based on:

  • One credit option:
    • (%)
    • (%)
    • (%)
  • Two credit option:
    • (%)
    • (%)
    • (%)
  • Three credit option:
    • (%)
    • (%)
    • (%)
    • (%)

Keep in mind, as you decide the weighting for the different assignments and tasks you give students it will have a major impact on their effort distribution. For example, if you have many homework assignments and/or quizzes, but not any one of them will count significantly toward the final grade, students may invest less time and commitment to doing them. If a certain percentage of the students’ grades are based on class participation, what criteria will be used to make that assessment: quantity or quality? If quality, what determines quality?

Academic Integrity

Each student in this course is expected to abide by the Cornell University Code of Academic Integrity. Any work submitted by a student in this course for academic credit will be the student's own work. [Optional: For this course, collaboration is allowed in the following instances: list instances.]

You are encouraged to study together and to discuss information and concepts covered in lecture and the sections with other students. One great way to assess what you know is to teach the idea to a peer! You may also work together on problem sets and give "consulting" help to or receive "consulting" help from your peers. However, this permissible cooperation should never involve one student having possession of a copy of all or part of work done by someone else, in any form (e.g email, Word doc, Box file, Google sheet, or a hard copy). Assignments that have been previously submitted in another course may not be submitted for this course.

Should copying occur, both the student who copied work from another student and the student who gave material to be copied will both automatically receive a zero for the assignment. Penalty for violation of this Code can also be extended to include failure of the course and University disciplinary action.

During examinations, you must do your own work. Talking or discussion is not permitted during the examinations, nor may you compare papers, copy from others, or collaborate in any way. Any collaborative behavior during the examinations will result in failure of the exam and may lead to failure of the course and University disciplinary action.

Accommodations for Students with Disabilities

In compliance with the Cornell University policy and equal access laws, I am available to discuss appropriate academic accommodations that may be required for student with disabilities. Requests for academic accommodations are to be made during the first three weeks of the semester, except for unusual circumstances, so arrangements can be made. Students are encouraged to register with Student Disability Services to verify their eligibility for appropriate accommodations.

Inclusivity Statement

We understand that our members represent a rich variety of backgrounds and perspectives. The [program/department name] program/department is committed to providing an atmosphere for learning that respects diversity. While working together to build this community we ask all members to:

  • Share their unique experiences, values, and beliefs.
  • Be open to the views of others.
  • Honor the uniqueness of their colleagues.
  • Appreciate the opportunity that we have to learn from each other in this community.
  • Value each other’s opinions and communicate in a respectful manner.
  • Keep confidential discussions that the community has of a personal (or professional) nature.
  • Use this opportunity together to discuss ways in which we can create an inclusive environment in this course and across the Cornell community.

Tentative Course Schedule

[Based on a graduate level course on college teaching that meets once a week for two hours and requires students to keep a journal]

(May change to accommodate guest presenters & student needs)

Additional Resource Readings on College Teaching

Bateman, W.L. (1990). Open to Question: The Art of Teaching and Learning by Inquiry. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.

Bowser, B.P. (1993). Confronting Diversity Issues on Campus. Newbury Park, CA: Sage Publications.

Bruffee, K.A. (1993). Collaborative Learning: Higher Education, Interdependence, and the Authority of Knowledge. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press.

Cohen, E.G. (1994). Designing Groupwork. New York: Teachers College Press.

Cranton, Patricia (1994). Understanding and Promoting Transformative Learning. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.

Darling-Hammond, L., & Millman, J. (1990). The New Handbook of Teacher Evaluation. Sage Publications.