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Indiana University Bloomington


Section 1: Ten Elements of a Quality Syllabus

Download the PDF file of "Ten Elements of a Quality Syllabus"

1. Course Identification Enough information for the students to be sure they are in the right course, and to help them find it again.

  • Course name, number, section number
  • Semester & year, # of undergraduate or graduate credit hours
  • Location, date, time of class sessions
  • Delivery method: online, on-campus, video-based or blended
  • Discussion/lecture sections
  • Course website URL
2. Instructor Information Provides the students with the means to access you outside of class, and how to spell your name.
  • Primary Instructor name
  • Associate instructor(s) name, if applicable
  • Office phone, FAX numbers
  • Instructor email address
  • Office location, office hours
  • Procedures/policies for setting up appointment
  • Instructor's website
3. Course Materials & Resources Lets the students know what they should be studying during the semester, in terms of the textbooks and beyond.
  • Consider multiple options for readings
  • Use the most current edition of the textbooks
  • Look for seminal articles in field, original documents, authentic documents
  • Provide supplementary materials (print and online)
  • Consider putting materials on reserve, either on-campus or electronic
4. Curricular & Other Student Requirements What do the students need to know and/or be able to do in order to succeed in your course? And if they don't know it, how can they learn it?
  • Describe prerequisites and corequisites
  • Is acceptance to a degree program required?
  • What content knowledge, skills, and/or experience are necessary/helpful?
  • What technological skills and hardware/software are required?
  • Provide suggestions on how skills may be refreshed
5. Course Description What is this course about? Why should students take it? How does it fit with the rest of the program?
  • Official description as listed in bulletin
  • Your vision of course
  • Rationale for course/Benefits of course
  • Overview of main topics
  • Overview of course structure/scope/sequence
  • How course fits into overall program
  • Transfer of course topics and skills to career/real life
  • Specific instructional objectives
6. Teaching & Learning Environment Now that we've talked about what we will learn, how will we learn it?
  • Pedagogy and rationale behind it
  • Teacher/student roles and responsibilities
  • Your philosophy of teaching
  • Types of learning activities and descriptions of them
7. Course Policies In order for us to live and work together as a learning community, we need to have some agreed upon rules and protocols for our behavior.
  • Attendance/absences
  • Late assignments
  • Missing assignments
  • Make-ups
  • Exams and quizzes
  • Extra credit
  • Extensions
  • Acceptable classroom behavior (civility)
  • Grading policy (incompletes, % breakdown)
  • Expectations for group work, sharing work, collaborative learning
8. Other Course Requirements Besides class meetings, what other obligations, in terms of time, effort and materials, do students need to fulfill?
  • Study groups, group work
  • Labs, field trips
  • Outside research
  • Student presentations to class
  • Required supplies and materials
9. University Policies How do university policies affect this particular course?
  • Academic honesty/plagiarism/cheating
  • Hours of study or writing outside class for every class hour (3:1 graduate, 2:1 undergraduate)
  • Copyright policies
  • Religious holidays
  • Accessibility
  • Process for contesting grades
10. Schedule Specifics about the day-to-day activities of the course, including readings, assignments and connections to relevant resources.
  • Will you organize it by class sessions or weeks?
  • Will you have a rigid or a flexible structure?
  • Highlight important dates such as exams, paper due dates
  • Final exam dates, times, and places
  • Regular, small assignments or a few, large assignments?
  • Point out required and optional (or extra credit) activities