What is a Syllabus?

The course syllabus is the document that an instructor produces for distribution to students on the first day of classes for the purpose of communicating (1) the nature of the course and (2) the instructor’s procedures and policies. It differs from the official course outline, constructed when the course was originally approved, in several important ways. However, it is a key mechanism for accomplishing the objectives indicated on the official course outline and therefore must be in fundamental agreement with it.

  • A course syllabus is required of all courses at City College.
  • It must be distributed the first week of instruction to the students and to the Department Chair.
  • It must be stored in CANVAS in the Syllabus tool for the course (either the full syllabus, or a link to a publicly available syllabus).
  • The CANVAS shell for your course must be made accessible to the institution so your Department Chair and other administrative roles at the college can review it when necessary.
  • Faculty are discouraged from giving personal information such as home addresses and telephone numbers to students. 
  • Faculty must observe the privacy of student information and may not share information about students with the class.
  • Regarding length, most syllabi are two to three pages long. 
  • Course information:
    • Course Information
    • Course number
    • Title
    • Description/Overview, Units
    • SLOs
    • Requisites/Advisories
    • Transferability (recommended)
    • Important Dates (add, drop, W dates)
    • Room/Locations, Class meeting times
    • Grading options 
    • Options/Requirements/Notes specific to Noncredit:
      • Hours, instructional hours, or high school credits
      • Certificates or pathways
      • Important dates may include CASAS testing
  • Instructor Information
    • Contact information (email, office number, office phone, website, as applicable)
    • Office hours
  • Communication Plan
    • Recommended for credit/noncredit (in person)
    • Note for noncredit: add when applicable positive classroom culture
    • Required for distance education: 
      • The frequency and types of messages the instructor plans to send to students.
      • The plan for instructor presence in the course such as how the instructor will play a role in weekly discussions. 
      • Instructor Announcements - The frequency and types of announcements that will be posted in the Learning Management System. 
      • Community standards and building --
        • Instructor’s goal in building community in the classroom
        • Student to student contact methods and standards
  • Equity Statement
  • Course Materials
    • Texts/Reading
    • Other materials (lab materials, equipment, etc)
    • Course technology (if applicable)
      • Learning Management System (e.g., Canvas)
      • Video Conferencing (e.g., Zoom)
      • Required Software
  • Additional Course Requirements
  • Field Trip Information (if applicable)
  • Attendance Policies
  • Grading Policies, System, Evaluation Methods
  • Accommodations for Students with Disabilities
  • Standards of Conduct 
    • Link to student handbook (recommended)
    • Plagiarism statement (if applicable)
  • Student Services (as applicable) -- examples: course-specific tutoring information, links to the Library, Financial Aid, A&R, Counseling
  • Expectations of Students and Instructors (Recommended and might be addressed in other sections)
    • Student Expectations such as how often students are expected to check the Learning Management System and how students can best be successful in this class (e.g., complete coursework on time, check announcements).
    • Instructor Expectations such as how often instructors check messages and how long they take to complete grading for coursework. 
  • Course calendar (Recommended) -- dates when known assignments and evaluations are due