One way to reach students early is to put in writing and then discuss the course policies, requirements, tests, and assignments.

If your syllabus is already written, use this checklist to test its adequacy. Give yourself one point for each element you have included.

  • Your name, title, office number, office telephone, office hours, and where to leave messages.
  • Course by number, section, title, meeting days and times, room and building.
  • Pre-requisite(s) for the course.
  • Description of the course.
  • Course goals or objectives.*
  • Required purchases (texts, supplies).
  • Space for names and telephone numbers of at least two classmates.
  • Due dates for major assignments; place, date, time of final exam.
  • Grading standards and criteria.
  • Policy regarding P/NP, I, W mark.*
  • Policy regarding academic dishonesty.*
  • Policy regarding attendance.*
  • Policy regarding late assignments.*
  • Topics to be covered in sequence with dates.
  • Reading assignments and dates due.

Not all elements here will be found in every syllabus. A syllabus can be much more than a list; it can introduce the course to students in a number of creative ways.

The University, however, does require that: "Students... be informed of the requirements, standards, objectives, and evaluation procedures at the beginning of each individual course."

The UNL Faculty Senate recommends that course policy (including those items marked with an asterisk * above) should be written form.

Sample Syllabus (PDF)
Syllabus Skeleton (PDF)

Scoring your syllabus

14 - 15: Great
12 - 13: Good job
10 - 11: What did you leave out?
9 or lower: Do you want a major overhaul?