Course Syllabus Policy

Superseded by: 
Month/Year Posted: 
March, 2018
Policy Number: 
This policy is no longer active - it has been superseded by P23-04

Applies to: Faculty, Students, Staff

Supersedes: P16-03 Syllabi Policy and VPAA 07-02 HSU Policy on Content of Syllabi

Purpose of the Policy

This policy updates the Syllabus Policy, as approved by the University Senate on February 9, 2016 and approved by the Provost on February 29, 2016.
The guiding logic behind this revision is to balance individual faculty workloads and freedom, on the one hand, with the identified needs of the students, the university, and the faculty as a whole on the other. This policy does so by:

1. empowering students to take responsibility for their own educational attainments. By making syllabi explicit and intentional about campus values and expectations for learning, it links instructors and students in advancing students' knowledge and thinking;

2. emphasizing coherence across the key curricular levels of courses and programs, and thus diminishing the potential disconnect between department, college, and university missions and goals course objectives;

3. addressing the requirements of accrediting bodies that expect coherent and explicit learning expectations for students.

Policy Details

I. Guidelines Covering Syllabus Use in Courses

It is essential that all students have access to the basic information about the courses in which they are enrolled. Therefore, in every course, the instructor(s) must provide the students with a syllabus in at least 10-point type font and that meets the requirements for the Accessible Technologies Initiative and all other pertinent requirements for the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act. This syllabus must include, but is not limited to, the information included in this policy.
A. Students shall receive a written syllabus (at a minimum digitally but may also provide a hard copy) by the first course meeting or, in the case of courses taught in a hybrid format or online, it will be available to them when the course opens.

a. If the syllabus is only distributed electronically, the instructor must provide detailed instructions on how to access the syllabus. Unless circumstances dictate otherwise, the syllabus must be provided on or before the time of the second-class meeting.

B. All courses with a C-classification must, at minimum, have an accessible syllabus posted in the course shell on the official Learning Management System of Humboldt State University.

C. During the semester, students shall be notified in writing (at a minimum digitally but may also provide a hard copy) of any substantive changes in the course syllabus. Colleges, schools, departments, or programs may specify additional syllabus requirements for their courses.

D. In the case of distance-learning classes that do not meet in person in the same physical setting, the enrolled students shall be provided with the electronic address, access instructions, and required information specified in the previous paragraph via either mail or e-mail.

II. Course Syllabus

Information that must be included in the course syllabus:

A. Instructor's name, office number, office telephone number and/or e-mail address, and office hours;

B. The course title and number;

C. Class term, meeting times, and location;

D. Statement of scope, content, course goals and/or objectives and/or expected student learning outcomes;

a. Including if the course meets any University Curricular Requirement (Institutions, DCG, specific area of GE, etc.).

E. Require text(s) and/or materials and information on any course fees;

F. Type and sequence of assignments and basis for assigning course grade;

G. A description of the teaching methods to be employed;

H. How the instructor will interpret the University withdrawal policy in this class;

I. A statement of, or reference to where students may find attendance policies and provision for makeup of assignments when there is an excused absence;

J. A reminder that it is the student's responsibility to notify the instructor in advance of the need for accommodation of a university verified disability;

K. Other information essential to the course, for example safety information, information about accessing online resources, information about assignments that must be accomplished at off-campus locations (e. g., field trips or service learning). Instructors should also refer students to the "General Regulations and Procedures" in the Catalog and are encouraged to discuss their interpretation of these General Regulations and Procedures, especially regarding cheating and plagiarism.

a. If students will be required to post course assignments on the Internet, outside of the official Learning Management System of Humboldt State University, this should be included in the syllabus with possible alternative arrangements or assignments.

i. Publicly viewable faculty review of student work may constitute a FERPA violation, and should not be undertaken without careful consultation with the Registrar.

L. Any course that uses hybrid, local online, or distance education course delivery shall explain the following issues in the course syllabus:

a. How the instructor will communicate with the students and how the students will communicate with each other;

b. How online participation will be assessed and graded;

c. How the instructor will monitor the online activities of the students;

d. How the standards of appropriate online behavior will be maintained;

e. The level of technical competence required of the students;
f. What the minimum computer hardware and software requirements are for the class, and what department, college, or University facilities are available to support these requirements for students who cannot afford to buy the technology;

g. The alternative procedures for submitting work in the event of technical breakdowns; the on-campus meeting requirements, if any; how academic honesty will be enforced. If some of the information is subject to change, that fact should be noted in the syllabus (e.g., due dates and exam dates).

M. Any additional statements required by University Senate Policy.

Faculty members must submit copies of the syllabus for each course to the department office by the first Friday of instruction for the semester. Departments and programs will keep a copy of each syllabus for at least five (5) years.

A model syllabus has been prepared by the Center for Teaching and Learning and is available on the Center's website.

III. Standard Course Outline

For courses that are a standard offering by departments, programs, or colleges course syllabi must conform to the standard course outline (SCO) for the course.

Standard course outlines for all courses should be kept on file by the department, program, or college that offer them. Departments, programs, or colleges may choose to develop standard course outline templates appropriate to their disciplines.

At a minimum, all standard course outlines should contain the following:

A. The catalog description of the course;

B. A statement of course objectives and student learning outcomes, including those related to General Education, when applicable;

C. An outline of the subject matter to be covered. The outline may be thematic and/or sequential;

D. Any instructional requirements of all faculty teaching the course, including policies regarding textbooks, testing systems, grading systems, integration of laboratory or other non-lecture/discussion components of the course, and other "administrative" aspects of the course, such as repeatability and requirements for hybrid/blended, local online, or distance education courses.

A revised standard course outline for lower-division courses is required by the Curriculum Office if the change to the course changes the community college articulation agreement in any way or if an articulation agreement is being initiated.

IV. Co-listed Undergraduate and Graduate Courses

Course syllabi for courses listed for both undergraduate and graduate credit must have separate syllabi for both the undergraduate and graduate course number;

A. The syllabi will demonstrate how the course meets the student learning outcomes of the undergraduate and graduate program, independently of each other.

B. Students receiving graduate credit for the course are expected to perform at a higher level than their undergraduate colleagues, the syllabus must demonstrate the higher expectations for graduate students.

V. Course Syllabi Website

A. The Office of Academic Affairs will maintain a website with information about syllabus requirements, accessible templates, links to relevant campus policies and other resources. Access the Syllabus Resources page here.

B. The office will keep links updated and remind Deans and Department chairs of this policy before the start of each semester.

VI. Syllabus Addendum Website

The Syllabus Addendum website (current URL listed below) has been created to house information about campus policies, procedures and resources for students centrally in one place. Faculty are required to include a link to the website in their syllabi, and are encouraged to list what is found there and describe why it might be useful. Suggested language is provided below:

A website, link below, has been created where you can find information about campus policies and procedures and resources for students. The site includes links such as Add/Drop Policy, Resources for Students with Disabilities, Academic Honesty Policy, Attendance and Disruptive Behavior Policy, Financial Aid, Emergency Procedures, and Counseling and Psychological Services.

VII. Dissemination and Compliance

A. Syllabi information will be incorporated into new faculty orientation and added to the faculty, administrative, and Department Chair handbooks. Informing all faculty of this policy and other relevant policies will be a responsibility of department chairs.

B. As part of the program review process, all departments and programs will be required to provide evidence of the department's compliance with syllabus policy. Information about the syllabus policy will be appended to all Program Review policies.

Expiration Date (if any; optional)


All changes must be listed chronologically in the format below, including all edits and reviews. Note when the policy name or number changes. Note if an edit or revision date is exclusively for the policy section or the procedure section:

Issued: February 29, 2018
Supersedes: P16-03 Syllabi Policy and VPAA 07-02 HSU Policy on Content of Syllabi
Revised: MM/DD/YYYY
Edited: MM/DD/YYYY
Reviewed: MM/DD/YYYY