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Course Syllabus Information

Research indicates that syllabi can increase student motivation and create equitable learning environments through transparency about key expectations for student learning and engagement. Consistent with the University’s Course Syllabus Policy, all courses at Saint Louis University are expected to have a syllabus, and all syllabi are expected to provide students with basic information about key aspects of the course.

Below is additional information about required syllabus components, recommended syllabus components, and other considerations that can enhance course syllabi. Click the down arrows next to each header to expand the text and learn more. 

Please note: Academic units and programs (like the University Core) may require you to include additional information in your syllabus. Please check with program leaders if you need information about additional, program-specific syllabus content you should include.

University Course Syllabus Policy

The University’s Course Syllabus Policy aims to ensure that all students have access to consistent information about their courses and about University-level policies. The policy identifies nine components that must be a part of every course syllabus. These nine components constitute a minimum; academic units may require additional components, and instructors may choose to include other information. The policy specifies the information that must be included in every course syllabus, but it does not dictate a particular format or order for how this information is presented in a syllabus.

Required Syllabus Components

As of fall 2019, all syllabi for all courses at Saint Louis University must include, at a minimum, the information listed below. How the information is presented (i.e., formatting, order) may vary by course/department/college. Academic units may require additional components to be included in course syllabi, and individual instructors certainly will want to add other course-specific information, as well. Click here for a printer-friendly version.

  1. Course Information
    a.  Course number/section
    b.  Course meeting time(s) [if applicable]
    c.  Location [if applicable]
    d.  Pre-requisites/Co-requisites [if applicable]
    e.  Catalog Course Description
  2. Instructor Information
    a. Instructor name (including TA and peer instructors, if applicable)
    b. Where, when, and how to contact the instructor
  3. Learning
    a. List course learning outcomes, objectives, and/or competencies
  4. Required Materials, and/or Equipment
    a. Textbooks and/or course texts
    b. Other materials and/or equipment (e.g., calculators, art supplies, lab safety equipment, medical equipment, hardware requirements, software access, virtual proctoring requirements, digital storage devices, special clothing, musical instruments, etc.)
  5. Evaluation and Grading
    a. List of components on which students will be evaluated (e.g., exams, projects, essays, participation, presentations, etc.)
    b. Grading scale(s) governing the course
    c. Policy on late or missing work/exams
    d. Penalties on missed classes and/or tardiness [if applicable]
    e. Catalog Course Description
  6. Attendance
    a. Expectations for student attendance/presence in the course (Note: expectations/policies for attendance must align with the University policy on attendance.)
  7. Academic Honesty/Integrity
    a. Insert and/or link to the approved language. You may also link to the University Policy posted here.
  8. Disability Accommodations
    a. Insert and/or link to the approved language, which can be found here
    Note: Due to accreditation requirements, regulatory differences, and/or location-specific resources, the School of Law, the School of Medicine, and SLU Madrid have their own standard language for syllabus statements related to disability accommodations. Faculty in those units should seek guidance for syllabus requirements from their dean’s office.

  9. Title IX
    a. Insert and/or link to the approved language, which can be found here
    Note: Due to accreditation requirements, regulatory differences, and/or location-specific resources, the School of Law, the School of Medicine, and SLU Madrid have their own standard language for syllabus statements related to Title IX. Faculty in those units should seek guidance for syllabus requirements from their dean’s office. 
  10. Temporary Mandatory Statement on Face Masks (Until further notice) 
    The required syllabus statement for face masks, which can be found here, establishes that all students in in-person classes must wear a face mask in class any time the University has an active face mask requirement. It also provides information to students on seeking an ADA accommodation for the face mask requirement. This syllabus statement must be added – temporarily – to all syllabi for all in-person classes at all locations (except the Madrid Campus).
  11. Temporary Mandatory Statement on In-Class Attendance and Participation (Until further notice)
    SLU’s current University Attendance Policy does not address challenges related to in-class attendance (and in-person participation in class-related activities) raised in the COVID-19 era. Accordingly, this temporary syllabus statement is required for all syllabi for all courses at all locations (except the Madrid Campus).
Recommended Syllabus Components

In addition to the eleven required components listed above, many instructors also find it useful to include information about or guidance on a range of other topics. The following list is drawn from common practices at SLU, as well as from the literature on effective syllabus construction and on creating inclusive courses that support student learning and success. This list is by no means exhaustive or in order of priority. Note: for some academic units, items on this list also may be required. Click here for a printer-friendly version.

Additional course information:

  • An expanded description of the course, its priorities, key concepts, etc.
  • Course schedule with due dates for assignments, exams, reading, and other activities
  • Disclaimer about the possibility of changes to the course schedule 

Additional instructor information:

  • Instructor office location and office hours

Additional information about learning activities /assignments:

  • Description of informal learning activities students will engage in (e.g., informal in-class activities, participation expectations, service-learning experiences)
  • Articulation of the link between course assignments/activities and stated learning outcomes, objectives, and/or competencies 

Additional information about course materials:

  • Recommended and/or optional readings or texts
  • Information about accessing electronic reserves

Additional information about student support resources:

  • University-wide academic success and support resources

-- Insert and/or link to recommended text for the Student Success Center here

-- Insert and/or link to recommended text for University Writing Services here

-- Insert and/or link to recommended text for the University Counseling Center here.

  • Course-/program-specific support resources [if applicable]
  • Other campus resources relevant to the course (e.g., liaison librarian, residence hall coordinator for learning community courses, etc.) 

Additional information about academic honesty:

  • Unit-level academic honesty policies and practices [if applicable]
  • Course-specific guidance on academic honesty
  • Statements of professional ethics or codes of conduct [if applicable] 

Other information:

  • Basic needs syllabus security statement (like this one, which was developed at SLU to alert students to campus resources for things like food and shelter insecurity)
  • Course etiquette/civility policies or other expectations about interactions between and among members of the class
    • With a significant number of SLU courses now being conducted via various distance education modalities, a University-wide recommended syllabus statement on distance education etiquette is warranted. This statement is recommended for all syllabi for all courses at all locations (except the Madrid Campus) offered by the colleges/schools and other academic units reporting to the University Provost.
  • Information about what will happen in cases of inclement weather
  • Information about relevant safety/security protocols and procedures (e.g., location of eye wash stations; active shooter response, etc.)
  • Distinction between “excused” and “unexcused” absences [if applicable and consistent with University attendance policy]
  • Statement that student work in the course may be used in course/program assessment
  • Information about requirements for experiential/off-campus learning (e.g., liability waiver, background check, internship learning contract, service expectations, etc.)
Other Considerations for Course Syllabi

Below are additional suggestions drawn from the literature on effective syllabus construction and adopted by some SLU instructors. The Reinert Center for Transformative Teaching and Learning can assist instructors who wish to learn more about items on this list. The Reinert Center website also may provide additional information about these considerations. For a print-friendly version, click here.

  1. Employ universal design standards to ensure syllabi are accessible for all students.
  2. Include a graphic/visual representation of the major components of the course to give students a sense of the purpose and relationships among the components of the course. Learn more about the graphic syllabus here.
  3. Include content warnings for content that may inadvertently trigger students who have experienced trauma. Learn more about creating inclusive content statements here.
  4. Share a brief description of the instructor’s philosophy of teaching to give students a way of understanding how she teaches and why.
  5. Explain what constitutes successful “engagement” or “participation” in the course to make those expectations explicit and visible (can be especially helpful for first-generation and international students).
  6. Share tips for how to be successful in the course (e.g., guidance on effective study strategies, tips for reading course content effectively).

Printable Syllabus Components