CATL Teaching Guides

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Brief Description 

A syllabus accomplishes many things: informing students of your class-specific policies, explaining the standards on which you will grade, delineating the requirements of the course, listing the required readings and where to get them, and outlining the structure and schedule for the course. Syllabi can also help students navigate the university to find the help they need. 
This page lists several components recommended for syllabi.  Check with your department chair to ensure that your syllabus is in compliance with departmental requirements.

Basic components of a syllabus

  • See the Downloadable Templates page in this Syllabus Guide to learn about Faculty Senate's policy on required and optional elements. The template linked on that page includes everything.
  • Provide contact information for instructor
  • List office hours (including virtual office hours, if appropriate)
  • State the current academic term
  • Include the titles and authors of required textbooks, articles, websites, etc.
  • List all assignments, quizzes, and exams
  • Include course schedule
  • Departmental requirements

Important components of a syllabus

  • Student learning outcomes (SLOs).  If the course is approved for General Education credit, consult the department chair to determine which General Education SLOs the department has assigned for that course.  Courses typically also meet program-level (e.g., major, minor, certificate) SLOs as well.  
    • Demonstrating the alignment between SLOs and course assignments for students is highly recommended.  E.g, what does the student do to achieve, and to demonstrate achievement of each SLO?
  • Instructor standards and policies (see templates for UWL-recommended statements).  E.g., (but not limited to) expectations for return of graded material, grading policies (including how you define and evaluate class participation), policies on absences or late work.
  • University policies and supports (see templates for UWL-recommended statements)  E.g. (but not limited to) Eagle Alert statement, diversity-related statements, ADA compliance statement, manditory reporter statement. 

Accreditation processes

  • Teacher educators (DPI accreditation):  
    • learning objectives/outcomes
    • learning objectives/outcomes aligned with standards when appropriate
    • assessment activities aligned with learning objectives/outcomes
    • conceptual framework
    • teacher standards, content standards, etc.
  • College of Business Administration (AACSB accreditation):
    • no specific requirements, but:
    • AACSB must review syllabi as part of the accreditation process

Writing-related syllabus statements:

Writing Center: The Writing Center, which is located in the Murphy Learning Center, provides trained peer tutors who can help you with any writing task (e.g., papers, proposals, research projects, summaries, reports, letters, application essays) at any stage of the process — understanding assignments, planning papers, organizing ideas, making revisions, improving sentences, using sources, etc. For current hours or to schedule an appointment, visit http://www.uwlax.edu/writingcenter/

Tips to Implement Syllabus Components Effectively

Developing a course syllabus is a much more complex process than simply adding the components above. For detailed help and resources, including UW-L templates you can adapt, see the CATL googlesite Course Syllabi
Be aware that your placement of components within your syllabus may send an unintended message to your students. If you list diversity resources right after a statement on academic misconduct, students from historically marginalized groups may worry that you assume a connection.


Hoskins, D. (2015). Syllabus components. In Teaching Improvement Guide. University of Wisconsin at La Crosse Center for Advancing Teaching and Learning. Retrieved from https://www.uwlax.edu/catl/teaching-guides/syllabus-guide/components-of-a-syllabus/