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, included in a course packet, or posted on ICON. Instructors should remind students frequently where or how they might view the syllabus. All information listed below must be included on every syllabus.
New instructors are encouraged to view this CLAS syllabus template with suggested headings. All instructors may, of course, reword or reorder the required information as long as its meaning is conveyed and a link to additional information on a policy or procedure is given. New instructors may also want to confer with other faculty in their unit or consult with the Center for Teaching.
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. View the complete CLAS examination policy.
- The review of syllabi by the DEO should be completed before the semester or session begins so that problematic issues may be corrected. Any questions should be referred to the Associate Dean for Undergraduate Programs and Curriculum.
CLAS Syllabi Insert
UI and CLAS policies and procedures are best attached to the syllabus in a separate section or as a separate page; this syllabus insert has been created for that purpose, with a pdf version available here.
Syllabi Attachment Policy
All syllabi must be attached to the course information on MyUI Courses, the UI semester or session schedule of offered courses. Syllabi are attached using the Offerings Planner and are visible only to those logged into to MyUI Courses. Syllabi should appear on MyUI Courses by Early Registration for the following fall semester. Within the syllabus, be sure to remind students that the syllabus might change. Any textbooks on the syllabus, however, should match those posted on the course schedule. Departments with prior approval from the Associate Dean for Undergraduate Programs and Curriculum may also create a syllabus template for each course that shows its general content and pedagogy.
UI and CLAS Policy on 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:
- The number and title of the course as listed on MyUI. Include all cross-listed numbers and the administrative home of the course.
- 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.
- A minimum of three office hours per week (60 minutes x 3). State the days, times, place, and “by appointment” since the College requires instructors to be available for a reasonable amount of time by appointment.
- 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.
- 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.
- Texts and other course materials and where they may be found, including the use of any electronic sites (such as ICON).
- Grading procedures, including the role of plus/minus grading. 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. The College and UEPCC recommend that the A+ grade be used only to indicate rare and extraordinary academic achievement. Otherwise, grading is decided by instructors and by departments, with grading systems varying across disciplines. Some departments likewise have set 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.
- Expectations for attendance, assignments, and examinations, including expectations for online participation. Be sure to review the CLAS student workload guidelines and these important attendance and absence policies. An instructor's policy must align with the related UI and CLAS absence policies.
- 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.
- A short statement about the role of collaboration in the class. 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.
- Dates and times of midterms.
- Information about resources for students as appropriate. The Writing Center and Tutor Iowa are excellent examples of such resources.
- The required CLAS syllabi insert is often provided by departments to their instructors. This insert contains other required syllabi information, such as the need to use the uiowa.edu address for email communication. A copy is available here.
A Note on Final Exams
Dates and times of final exams will be announced by the Registrar around the fifth week of the semester. Watch for updates from the Registrar. 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 (see the complete policy here). Students may find their exam information in their MyUI portal.
For off-cycle courses, please include a reminder of significant deadlines, as stated on the official deadline calendar.
Additional Required UI and CLAS Policy and Procedures
Every syllabus must also contain important UI and CLAS policies and procedures found on the CLAS syllabus insert, which may be attached as the last page of the syllabus or may be included in the body of the syllabus. Many departments simply copy this insert and make it available to all instructors in the department. Faculty may also use their own variations of these statements in the syllabus as long as the same content is expressed and students are given references for additional information.
- A statement indicating that the administrative home of the course is the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences. See the CLAS syllabus insert.
- A statement referring to the University policy specifying that students are responsible for all official correspondence sent to the UI address (@uiowa.edu). See CLAS policy insert.
- The CLAS Code of Academic Honesty and consequences for academic dishonesty. See the CLAS syllabus insert.
- A reminder that the date and time of a final exam will be announced around the fifth week of the semester and may not be changed. All students should plan to remain in Iowa City through the final examination week and are responsible for knowing their final exam schedule. See the CLAS syllabus insert.
- A statement on accommodations for students with disabilities. See the CLAS syllabus insert.
- A brief description of procedures for student complaints. See the CLAS syllabus insert.
- A statement on the University sexual harassment policy. See the CLAS syllabus insert.
Note: A syllabus is not required for an independent study, a practicum, a research colloquium, or a similar educational experience.