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Course Syllabi

[Last updated December 2017]

How does your syllabus "measure up"?

How would you rate your syllabus?  Besides the required and optional elements listed below, does your syllabus inspire students? Does it convey a sense of the class and what students will learn by the end of the term?  If you're not sure, we suggest looking at the following resources:

  • Syllabus Rubric:  a reference guide and scoring sheet for syllabi developed by the Center for Teaching Excellence at the University of Virginia.  This rubric won the 2014 POD Network Innovation Award.
  • Syllabus Ideas:  CSUN's Undergraduate Studies office has links to syllabus ideas on their website, including ideas for syllabi in service-learning courses and visual syllabiVanderbilt University also offers thoughtful ideas.
  • Course Design Tutorial:  Not sure where to start?  This online tutorial that will help you to organize your thoughts and ideas.  Although the focus is on geoscience faculty, the tutorial can be helpful for a wide variety of disciplines.
  • Other design modes:
    • the syllabus as infographic (note that you'll need to make sure you have an accessible version of the syllabus available!)
    • the syllabus as a doodle (again, accessibility is important to keep in mind for non-visual learners)
  • Who knows?  If your syllabi are interesting enough, you might warrant an article in Slate magazine
  • Visit Ph.D. Comics for a good visual of "It's in the syllabus"... or maybe just buy a t-shirt!

What are the requirements for your syllabi? 

Below are CSUSB campus resources to get you started. Note that FAM 820.9 Course Syllabus Policy and Guidelines and Chancellor's Office determine which elements of the syllabus are required.  Regulations regarding classes taught in a hybrid or fully online environment are also addressed in the Distributed Learning Policy.  Wherever possible, links to official campus policies are provided in the lists below.

Required Elements

Optional Elements (Strongly encouraged):

  • Prerequisite courses, prior knowledge and/or additional skills required of the student
  • Policies on participation and attendance, especially as those items affect final grades. 
  • Provisions for the makeup of missed or late assignments, if any. See FAM 818.9 Missed Class Time and Makeup Policy for information about extracurricular and cocurricular activities.
  • Other information essential to the course, such as:
  • consequences for cheating and/or plagiarism (see Additional Information below for more information about this topic)
  • individual department or program guidelines

Accessibility Requirements

Faculty are responsible for making sure that all of course syllabi meet accessibility standards. Samples of accessible syllabi can be found at these locations (you may want to copy and paste language from the CSUSB syllabus, such as SSD information, if you are borrowing the accessible syllabus from another campus):

State law and the Chancellor's Office require that all California State University instructional materials be accessible to all students, regardless of ability.  Information about making course materials accessible can be found at WebAim.org and the CSU Accessible Technology site.  For information about campus resources, please visit the CSUSB Accessible Technology Initiative page.


Required Language regarding Accessibility

Main Campus:

If you are in need of an accommodation for a disability in order to participate in this class, please see the instructor and contact Services to Students with Disabilities at (909)537-5238.

If you require assistance in the event of an emergency, you are advised to establish a buddy system with a buddy and an alternate buddy in the class. Individuals with disabilities should prepare for an emergency ahead of time by instructing a classmate and the instructor.

Palm Desert Campus:

If you are in need of an accommodation for a disability in order to participate in this class, please let me know ASAP and also contact Rosie Garza in Services to Students with Disabilities at the Palm Desert Campus in RG-209, 760-341-2883 extension 78117, or at the San Bernardino Campus in UH-183, 909-537-5238, ssd@csusb.edu.

If you require assistance in the event of an emergency, you are advised to establish a buddy system with a buddy and an alternate buddy in the class. Individuals with disabilities should prepare for an emergency ahead of time by instructing a classmate and the instructor.

Additional Information:

Academic Dishonesty: 

Faculty are responsible for reporting all incidences of academic dishonesty during the term. 

Academic ("Grade") Grievances: 

Academic or grade grievances must be initiated by the student within 40 business days after grades are issued.  Academic grievances can concern grades, non-admittance to a course, major or program and suspension or expulsion from the university.  In general, this means that faculty must keep records for at least one term (Fall, Winter or Spring) after the course has ended.  For grade grievances, students file a report with the appropriate Dean's Office.  The Department Chair then works together with the Dean's Office to collect pertinent information such as syllabi, grading rubrics, etc.  Attempts are made to resolve the issue before the College Level Report is completed.  If the student is dissatisfied with the College Level Report, the grievance moves to the Vice President of Student Affairs' office and the Academic Grievance committee for a final resolution.

Non-academic Grievances:

Non-academic grievances are usually complaints of discrimination, harassment or inappropriate behavior.  They may be filed by a student against a student, faculty, staff or administrator.  The grievance must filed within 20 work days after the end of the academic term.