The course syllabus provides your students with an overview of the course and the logistical information they need in order to successfully complete the semester. As an early—if not the first—experience students have of your course, the syllabus also sets the tone and clarifies what you expect of students and what students can expect from you as the instructor.
This resource provides a variety of sample syllabus statements that you can adapt for your own use, as well as an overview of syllabus expectations at BC. At the bottom of this page, you can also find links to additional resources on syllabus design.
BC Syllabus Expectations
At Boston College your syllabus is typically expected to include:
1.) Information students need in order to successfully navigate the course, such as:
- basic course information (i.e. title and number, meeting time and location, prerequisites, Canvas link)
- instructor information (i.e. name and title, email address or other preferred contact method, office hours, office location)
- course description
- course learning goals
- assignment structure and grading policies
- required texts, materials, or tools
- expectations for students (e.g. attendance policy, late work policy, etc.)
- course calendar
2.) Institutional information you’re expected to provide so that students understand relevant policies and the supports available to them.
- accessibility and accommodation statement
- class recording policy
- religious accommodation statement
3.) Other statements faculty include to signal their commitments and values (e.g. commitment to inclusion, mental health and wellness, etc.)
Individual schools and departments may set their own expectations for what is expected or required in a syllabus, and some instructors may be asked to work from a syllabus template. If you have less flexibility to personalize your syllabus content, you might consider finding other spaces to convey that more personalized information, such as in an addendum to your syllabus or your Canvas course.
The sample syllabus statements below are intended to help instructors think through their options for communicating course policies and norms, as well as for introducing other values or commitments that are important to them as an instructor.
- Academic Integrity
- Accessibility and Accommodations
- Class Recording Policy
- Commitment to Inclusion
- ESL Students
- Financial Insecurity and Basic Needs
- LGBTQ+ and Nonsexist Language
- Mental Health and Wellness
- Public Health Practices
- Religious Accommodation
- Technology in the Classroom
- Title IX and Sexual Misconduct
How do I decide which statement to use or adapt?
When reviewing the various samples, you might decide which statement to use or adapt—and how you might want to personalize it—by considering whether or not the statement aligns with major aspects of your course:
- Does the statement align with your understanding of your own role as a teacher? Does the statement accurately reflect how you think of yourself as a teacher and the role you play in your students’ learning? Does the tone of the statement accurately communicate the kind of relationship you hope to have with students?
- Does the statement align with your teaching philosophy? Does the statement accurately reflect your understanding of how learning works and the kinds of opportunities students will have to learn in the course?
- Does the statement align with your goals for students’ experience of the course? Does the statement accurately reflect how you would like students to engage with the course, with one another, and with you?
- Does the statement align with your take on inclusive teaching? Does the statement accurately represent your approach to creating an environment in which all your students can learn, especially those who have historically been marginalized in the academy?
- Does the statement align with your discipline? Is there anything discipline-specific that you think is important to include in order to model disciplinary thinking for your students or embed the statement more deeply in the context of your course? For example, if you are including an inclusion statement, is there anything about the inequities produced over the history of your discipline that you want to specifically address?
- Does the statement align with the rest of your syllabus? If your syllabus is written in a distinctive voice, does the statement match the tone you’ve already established?
- Kevin Gannon, How to Create a Syllabus, The Chronicle
- Syllabus Design (Vanderbilt University)
- Creating Your Syllabus (University of Michigan)
- Syllabus Rubric (University of Virginia)
- Accessible Syllabus (Tulane University)
- UDL Syllabus (UDL on Campus)