CLAS Required Syllabus Elements

The University of Iowa and the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences require that every organized course has a syllabus. Syllabi may be handed out in class or added to ICON, and instructors should remind students frequently where or how they might view the syllabus. All information listed below must be included on every syllabus. 

Instructors are encouraged to view the CLAS syllabus template

Syllabi Review by DEO Policy

  • DEOs must review syllabi for compliance with departmental, CLAS, and UI policies, checking, for example, that final exams are offered only during finals week and that other exams are not scheduled during the last week of classes. 
  • The review of syllabi by the DEO should be completed before the semester or session begins so that problematic issues may be corrected.

UI and CLAS Policy:  Required Information on the Syllabus

According to the University Operations Manual, the Office of the Provost, and CLAS policy, the following information must be included on every syllabus:

  1. The number and title of the course as listed on MyUI. Include all cross-listed numbers and the administrative home of the course. 
  2. The instructor's name, office address, office hours, phone number, email address, and DEO contact information. Teaching assistants must also provide the course supervisor's name, office address, office hours, and directory information.
  3. The days, times, place, and “by appointment” for student drop-in hours (minimum 3 hours/week). Please define these hours in a way that helps students to understand their purpose (e.g., Students are invited to drop by during these hours to discuss questions about the course material or concerns. I am also available by appointment if you are unable to attend my drop-in hours.) Note: instructors may choose the modality of student drop-in hours, keeping in mind that in-person courses should have some in-person hours. Students are expected to make every good faith effort to meet with the instructor during the scheduled hours.
  4. A brief course description with central topics covered. If the course is approved for General Education, this information must be included in the course description. 
  5. A description of course learning goals or outcomes. If the course is approved for General Education, these learning outcomes must be incorporated into the syllabus, with a statement related to the GE status of the course.
  6. Texts and other course materials and where they may be found, including the use of any electronic sites (such as ICON).
  7. A statement on academic misconduct and the requirement to report misconduct to CLAS. Specify if collaboration is allowed on assignments and, if so, your expectations for a student’s individual performance. If collaboration is not allowed or is considered academic misconduct, this should be emphasized. The student’s responsibility for understanding these boundaries and for asking for clarification should be stressed.
  8. Grading procedures, including the role of plus/minus grading, which is strong encouraged. If an instructor chooses to modify the plus/minus system by not using the grade of A+ and/or D+ and/or D-, it is important to state this omission and its rationale on the syllabus. Grading is decided by instructors and by departments, with grading schemes varying across disciplines. Some departments have internal policies and guidelines on this matter. The College does not require the use of a curve.  The grade distribution guidelines provided by the College are not meant to proscribe departmental policy related to grades.
  9. Definition of academic standards and grading, especially in terms of attendance, class participation, assignments, quizzes, and exams. Many students have an unclear understanding of what constitutes "excellent" work. In recent years students have particularly voiced their confusion over how class  participation is graded. The use of rubrics can be very helpful in helping students to understand academic expectations. 
  10. Dates and times of exams with a reminder that final examination dates, times, and places are announced in the fifth week of the semester.  Once exam times and schedules are announced, please share them with your class. Remind students that they have two weeks to request a change if exam conflicts exist or if a student has more than two exams in one day.  Students may find their exam information in their MyUI portal.
  11. Calendar of Course Assignments and Exams. Detailed reading assignments, other assignments, and exams should be noted on a calendar of assignments. If this calendar is in ICON, direct students how to find it.
  12. Expectations for attendance, assignments, and examinations, including expectations for online participation. An instructor's policy must align with the related UI and CLAS absence policies.
  13. Information about resources for students as appropriate. The Writing Center as well as the Rhetoric Speaking Center and Conversation Center are excellent resources. Please also refer students to Tutor Iowa.

Required University Policies

  1. Information about SDS and academic accommodations for students with disabilities who are registered with SDS.
  2. A statement on Free Speech and Expression.
  3. A warning that course recordings belong to the instructor and may not be shared. 
  4. Statements about resources for mental health; military service obligations; non-discrimination in the classroom; religious holy days; and sexual harassment.

Note: A syllabus is not required for an independent study, a practicum, a research colloquium, or a similar educational experience.