Teaching Policies & Resources — Required Syllabus

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 at the course website. All information listed below must be included on every syllabus.

DEOs must review syllabi for compliance with departmental and CLAS 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 new 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, Helena Dettmer. Beginning with Spring 2015, syllabi may be published on MyUI. Please review the memo on this pilot here; questions may be addressed to Kathryn Hall.

Instructors are encouraged to view our 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.

Some instructors find that many of the 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.

Beginning with Fall 2013: Please specify if collaboration is allowed on assignments and, if so, the expectation for a student’s individual performance. If collaboration is not allowed or is considered academic misconduct, this too should be emphasized. The student’s responsibility for understanding these boundaries and for asking for any needed clarification should be stressed. For information from the orginal memo requestiong this addition and sample language for the syllabus, visit this link. The syllabus template also gives an example.

Required Information

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 departmental home of the course. Include any changes in information about the course from that which appears in official University notices.
  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. A minimum of three office hours per week. Include days, times, place and “by appointment” since the College requires instructors to be available for a reasonable amount of time by appointment.
  4. A brief course description with topics covered. If the course is approved for General Education, this should be included in the course description. State the GE category fulfilled and how the GE outcomes are met.
  5. A description of course goals and objectives. If the course is approved for General Education, these goals should be incorporated into the syllabus.
  6. Texts and other course materials and where they may be found, including the use of any electronic sites (such as ICON).
  7. 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 EPC recommends that the A+ grade be used only to indicate rare and extraordinary academic achievement or that the A+ grade be omitted altogether.
  8. Expectations for attendance, assignments, and examinations, including any expectations for electronic means of participation. View Student Workload Guidelines. All instructors are encouraged to define academic excellence, especially in terms of attendance, assignment completion, and examinations since many students have very unclear or varied definitions of what constitutes "excellent" work.
  9. Please include 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.
  10. Dates and times of midterms.
  11. Dates and times of the final exam should no longer be included on the syllabus since these 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.
  12. For off-cycle courses, please include a reminder of significant deadlines, as stated on the official deadline calendar.
  13. Information about resources for students as appropriate. The Writing Center and Tutor Iowa are excellent examples of such resources.

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 DEOs 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.
  • A statement summarizing where and how class members should seek shelter during severe weather occurring within class time. 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.