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.
- Student Learning Outcomes. Student focused statements specifying what the student should be able to do upon successful completion of this course. The syllabus should include objectives delineating the learning outcomes the students should achieve. These should be clearly linked to the expected student learning outcomes to be attained in the specific program or the general undergraduate or graduate program. These may be included in the syllabus or noted with a link to a site and with details of the course’s contribution(s) to the program(s).
- Course Requirements. The number of papers, tests, and any other requirements, such as homework, attendance, class participation, laboratory assignments, or clinical performance, that will count toward the final grade. Availability of and procedures for alternatives to assignments or exams the student did not complete due to absences should be specified. Deadlines for assignments should be specified. Assignments should be linked to each of the student learning outcomes being assessed. A single assignment may be used to assess more than one learning outcome, and an outcome may be assessed by more than one assignment. All requirements should relate to the course description and the student learning outcomes.
- 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 and any additional instructor requirements and comments regarding 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 and any additional instructor requirements and comments regarding academic dishonesty.
- Course fees. The dollar amount of any course-specific fees above and beyond UB tuition and fees, as well as the reason such fees are being assessed.
- Accessibility Resources. Information about UB’s Accessibility Resources Office and the requirement to register with that office in order to receive accommodation for physical and learning disabilities.
- Controlled Enrollment Courses. Syllabi for controlled enrollment courses (CEC) should include: Enrollment in a controlled enrollment course (CEC) is restricted by the available student positions, and self-registration for a CEC in any fall or spring semesters is available only to students taking that course for the first time. Repeat enrollment may be difficult or impossible in a fall or spring semester; a student seeking to repeat a CEC should plan to register for and do this in a UB summer session. Open seats available just prior to the start of a fall or spring semester may be released with registration on a first come first served basis. Repeat enrollment is enrollment by a student who previously enrolled in the course at UB or transferred an equivalent course to UB and for which course the student has a grade of ‘A’, ‘B’, ‘C’, ‘D’, ‘F’ or qualified value thereof [e.g., ‘A-’, ‘D+’], or a grade of ‘P’, ‘S’, ‘U’, ‘I’, ‘J’, ‘N’, or ‘R’. A student may self-register to repeat a CEC in a fall or spring term only if the student’s grade of record for the previous enrollment is ‘W’, i.e., administrative withdrawal. Students may petition for enrollment in such a designated spring course by the third week of the preceding fall semester, and in a fall course by the third week of the preceding spring semester.
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.