Creating a Syllabus

The purpose of the course syllabus is to provide information about the objectives of a course and details about readings and other assignments, as well as other relevant information. It elaborates the course design for the students, giving them an overall picture. Syllabi typically list all class meetings with readings and other assignments noted. Best practice suggests that readings and assignments listed in the syllabus should relate directly and transparently to the learning objectives outlined for the course.

Some view a syllabus as a kind of contract between the students and the instructor. It outlines what students can expect from the course and professor and what responsibilities and requirements students are expected to fulfill.

The university policy is that syllabi are required for all classes. All instructors should provide each student with a paper or electronic copy of the syllabus on the first day of class, or post the syllabus to Blackboard prior to the first day of class for online classes. Each faculty member must also provide program leadership with an electronic copy of the syllabus.

Certain items must be included in every course syllabus at The New School, such as course description, the attendance policy, and the academic honesty policy. All requirements are listed here: New School Syllabi Requirements (PDF). To easily incorporate these requirements, faculty may want to use the New School Syllabus Template (doc).

Please note that beginning in fall 2012, all New School syllabi must include a list of course-level learning outcomes.

The Designing a Course section provides additional information on syllabus design. This template (PDF) may help you design your course, while this template (PDF) may help you plan assignments to match learning outcomes.

In addition to the required items on the syllabus, faculty may want to include supplementary material to help students succeed in the course. For example, faculty could provide one or more of the following:

  • Helpful hints on how to study, take notes or do well in class
  • Glossary of technical terms used in the course
  • References on specific topics for more in-depth exploration
  • Bibliography of supplemental readings
  • Calendar of campus lectures, plays, events, exhibits, or other activities of relevance to your course
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