Course Syllabi

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As stated in the Columbia College Faculty Handbook, instructors are expected to construct and provide students with a syllabus for each course. Syllabi are to be kept on file in the departments and in the Associate Academic Dean's Office. A suggested course syllabus outline is provided on this webpage. Please consult your individual departments as to departmental policies and additional information to be included. If the course you are teaching satisfies a general education objective, make certain that this objective is included on the syllabus. If the course you are teaching is a multi section course, make certain you include required student outcomes, content, etc. noted in the generic syllabus.

Developing a Syllabus

The first step in constructing a syllabus is creating the course.

Developing the syllabus provides an opportunity for you to review decisions that you made when you created the course. The major decisions are:


  1. Document date
  2. Course number and title
  3. College name and address
  4. Instructor information
  5. Required texts and materials
  6. Content introduction
  7. Course description
  8. Course rationale
  9. Goals and objectives
  10. Grading policy and evaluation procedures
  11. Attendance policy
  12. Course calendar
  13. Disclaimer statement

Checklist Details

Document date

Course number and title
Class time and day
Classroom building and room number
Additional facilities (laboratory, studio, museum, practice room)>

College name and address
Columbia College Chicago
600 S. Michigan Avenue
Chicago, Illinois 60605

Instructor information
Office voice mail
Home voice mail
Fax number
E-mail address
Office hours/times that you are available for students to contact you
Office location

Required texts and materials
Where and how to get them
How to use them
Author, title, edition
Supplies, sources, brands, preferred providers
Bibliography, supplemental and suggested readings
Course fee(s)

Content introduction
Instructor's message to the student
Purpose of the course

Course description
This description should be the same as the course description for this class in the Columbia undergraduate catalog and in the AS400, with the exception that the description used in the syllabus can be longer than the catalog and AS400 copy.

Course rationale
For whom is the course intended? What requirements does this course fulfill, and in what curriculum?
(major? minor? concentration?)

Goals and objectives (NB., these should be the same for all sections of a multi-section course)
Goals and objectives should be stated as student outcomes ("The student will...", or "You will be able to...").
They may be organized according to the units of the course, if appropriate, including projects and options.
They should correspond, when appropriate, to the professional standards of the discipline in the work environment that the student is preparing to enter.
Remember that the goals and objectives for a course serve as the point of departure for the Columbia College assessment procedures.

Grading policy and evaluation procedures
Credits and grades (NB., feel free to use +/- for in-class purposes; however, + and - grades will not be reflected on Columbia College student grade reports until we've been able to adapt our computer system to accommodate them. The change is anticipated some time in the near future.)
Requirements (exams, quizzes, projects, papers, presentations, participation) and assignments
Scales, standards, and proportions used
Academic honesty (see page 23 in the Columbia College 2000-2002 catalog in the General College Academic Policies section).

Attendance policy
Late work and makeup assignments

Course calendar
Outline and schedule for each class session:
Assignments/readings to be prepared in advance
Objective/topic to be covered
Non-graded assignments and expectations
In-class activities
Student evaluations of teaching and learning - week 11
Graded assignments - due dates HIGHLIGHTED

Disclaimer statement
Example: This syllabus may be amended as the course proceeds. You will be notified of all changes.

Optional suggestions
How to study for this course
Self-tests (with answers), questions keyed to the course objectives
Forms, created by the instructor, soliciting course feedback (e.g., errors in materials; difficulty using resources; troubles with technology, equipment, facilities)
Computer literacy assumptions/requirements, and instructions and suggestions for use of computer technology
Space in the syllabus for taking notes and writing in adjustments and clarifications (wide margins, extra white space)
Because the intended audience for your syllabus is your students, speak to them directly by using "you."
If your syllabus is online, be sure that it is in an easy-to-print format so that your students may have a hard copy to bring to class and to annotate, as needed.



Diamond, Robert M. Designing and Assessing Courses and Curricula. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass Publishers, 1998.

Grunert, Judith. The Course Syllabus: a learning-centered approach. Bolton, Mass: Anker Publishing Company, Inc., 1997.

Special thanks to Carol Ann Stowe, Director for Early Childhood Education, Columbia College Chicago, for her assistance and for providing examples of syllabi from her program.

Prepared by Jan Garfield, August 2000.

If you have questions, contact Jan Garfield, at or your Curriculum Committee departmental representative.


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