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.
New instructors are especially encouraged to view this sample CLAS syllabus template with suggested headings. 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 about syllabus and ICON organization or content.
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.
CLAS Syllabus Insert
Many UI and CLAS policies and procedures required to be included in the syllabus are best attached as a separate page at the end of the syllabus; the Fall 2021 revised insert for undergraduate courses is available here: syllabus insert. For Fall 2021 graduate courses, please use this updated syllabus insert. Any questions related to undergraduate courses and the syllabus should be referred to the Associate Dean for Undergraduate Education; for questions about the syllabus for graduate courses, please contact the Associate Dean for Graduate Education.
Syllabi must be attached to the course information on MyUI Courses, the UI 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 should match those posted on the course schedule. Departments with prior approval from the Associate Dean for Undergraduate Education may also create a syllabus template for each course that shows its general content and pedagogy.
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:
- 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 walk-in (or drop-by) hours per week (60 minutes x 3). State the days, times, place, and “by appointment” for these hours since the College requires instructors to be available for "a reasonable amount of time" by appointment. Please add a statement defining walk-in or drop-by hours, such as "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 walk-in hours." Students are expected to make every good faith effort to meet with the instructor during the scheduled hours.
- 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, 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.
- 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.
- 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 statement on academic misconduct and the requirement to report misconduct to CLAS.
- 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.
- Information about SDS and academic accommodations for students with disabilities who are registered with SDS.
- A UI policy statement on Free Expression and First Amendment rights (added starting with Fall 2021).
- A warning that course recordings belong to the instructor and may not be shared.
- Dates and times of midterms 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.
- 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,
- Statements about resources for mental health; about non-discrimination in the classroom; and about sexual harassment.
- The required CLAS syllabus insert is provided by departments for their instructors and is also online. (For undergraduate courses see this version of the syllabus insert. For Fall 2021 graduate courses, please use this syllabus insert.) The insert contains many of the above general UI and CLAS statements that must be included in the syllabus.
Note: A syllabus is not required for an independent study, a practicum, a research colloquium, or a similar educational experience.