Recommended Course Syllabus Format

As the primary, commonly available, summary of a course, the syllabus serves several purposes. It outlines the course, it denotes what students may expect from the course, and it locates the course in the curriculum. Not only read by prospective students, it is the best, concise, description of a course by those who teach it that is available to students and colleagues. The University Committee on Courses uses course syllabi in its review of courses. To maximize the usefulness of a syllabus to students and faculty, it is suggested that it contain the following information.

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  1. Course Number
  2. Title
  3. Credits
  4. Term, place, time, instructor
    (For a new course proposal, indicate when it is likely to be offered, and how frequently)
    (For a new course proposal, indicate who is likely to teach the course)
  5. Place in Curriculum
  • Group requirement satisfying? (Explain why)
  • Multicultural requirement satisfying? (Explain why)
  • Other general education requirement satisfying?
  • Satisfying other major or program requirement?
  • Preparatory for other courses?
  • Prerequisites or other suggested preparation.
  1. Format (Lecture, Discussion, Lab, . . .)
  2. Outline of subject and topics explored
  3. Course materials (Texts, books, readings, . . .)
  4. Expectations for students
  • Explicitly (by pages assigned, lengths of assignments, etc.), or by
  • Expected student engagement (see suggested Student Engagement Inventory)
  • Readings
  • Problems
  • Attendance
  • Project
  • Writing
  • Laboratory
  • Field work
  • Electronic media/network/online
  • Performance
  • Presentation
  • Tests
  • Differential expected for graduate work for joint 400/500 level courses.
  1. Assessment
  • Methods (testing, homework, . . .)
  • Times or frequency
  • Grading policy
  1. Learning outcomes
  • What are the skills, abilities, or major concepts a student is expected to acquire in this course? If multiple instructors will teach the course, consider which objectives are likely to be common to each instance.

Student Engagement Inventory

To aid in assigning student credit hours uniformly to courses in the curriculum, the committee inventories the amount of student engagement in a course. The committee has found the following tool to be useful. Departments preparing course proposals are invited to use this, when deciding how many SCH units to request for a proposed course, and encouraged to report to the committee how this tool may be improved for their use.

Please identify the number of hours a typical or average student would be expected to spend in each of the following activities.

Note that:

  • Under the UO quarter system, each undergraduate credit reflects approximately thirty hours of student engagement. Therefore, a 3-credit course would engage students for approximately 90 hours total among the activities listed below, whereas a 4-credit course would entail approximately 120 hours of activities in which students are actively engaged in learning over the course of the term.
  • Graduate students are expected to perform work of higher quality and quantity, typically with forty hours of student engagement for each student credit hour. Therefore, a 3-credit graduate course would typically engage students approximately 120 hours; a 4-credit graduate course may be expected to entail approximately 160 hours for the average student for whom the course is designed.
Educational activity Hours student engaged Explanatory comments (if any)
Course attendance    
Assigned readings    
Project    
Writing assignments    
Lab or workshop    
Field work/experience    
Online Interaction    
Performances/creative activities    
Total hours:
   

Definition of Terms

Course attendance Actual time student spends in class with instructor or GTF.
Assigned readings Estimated time it takes for a student with average reading ability to read all assigned readings.
Writing assignments Estimated time it takes for a student with average writing ability to produce a final, acceptable written product as required by the assignment.
Project Estimated time a student would be expected to spend creating or contributing to a project that meets course requirements (includes individual and group projects).
Lab or workshop Actual time scheduled for any lab or workshop activities that are required but are scheduled outside of class hours.
Field work/experience Actual or estimated time a student would spend or be expected to spend engaged in required field work or other field-based activities.
Online activities Actual or estimated time a student would spend or be expected to spend engaged in required field work or other field-based activities.
Performances/creative activities Actual or estimated time a student would spend or be expected to spend outside of class hours engaged in preparing for required performance or creative activity.
Learning outcomes What are the skills, abilities, or major concepts a student is expected to acquire in this course? If multiple instructors will teach the course, consider which objectives are likely to be common to each instance.

For additional information or if you have questions, contact Mike Jefferis at 346-1264 or jefferis@uoregon.edu.