Crafting a Course Syllabus: Syllabus Template

Syllabi provide students with a written overview of the course. The clearer you are in constructing your syllabus, the more pro-active you can be in addressing student expectations and questions. Viewing a syllabus as a blueprint can add coherence to the course and help students view their work in a broader, more meaningful manner.

The average AU undergraduate student takes five courses per semester. That means five differently constructed syllabi to interpret and follow. Although graduate students may take fewer courses, they also need to interpret each course syllabus. The more transparent you are about your expectations and schedule, the more strategic your students can be in their responses.

This template is meant to be a guide and includes items commonly included in course syllabi. You can view any of the individual topics for more detailed information and copy and paste the information into your syllabus.

General Education Courses

If your course can be taken for General Education credit, here is more information to include in your syllabus.

Specific School/Department Information

Individual schools, departments or programs may have items that they would like you to include in your course syllabus. Please contact your department chair, division director, or dean for more information.

Support for AU Students

American University provides numerous services that help students maximize their academic success and social and emotional wellbeing. Faculty is strongly encouraged to include this information on course syllabi. You are free to cut and paste this section into your syllabus.

As a preface to the list of resources, please consider an opening statement on the following:

During the semester, there may be times when you can benefit from the resources that AU makes available to students that can help with stress or academic challenges. Here are some useful resources:

  • Academic Support and Access Center (ASAC) MGC 243, 202-885-3360. All students may take advantage of the Academic Support and Access Center (ASAC) for individual academic skills, counseling, workshops, tutoring and writing assistance, as well as Supplemental Instruction. All services are free. The services include the Writing Center (first floor of Bender Library), which assists students with academic writing and assignments. The Math/Stat Lab (Myers Building, 202-885-3154) which provides mathematics and statistics tutoring. Additional content tutoring is also available in the ASAC’s Tutoring Lab.
    • Students with Disabilities- American University is committed to making learning and programming as accessible as possible. Students who wish to request accommodations for a disability, must notify me with a letter of approved accommodations from the ASAC. As the process for registering and requesting accommodations can take some time, and as accommodations, if approved, are not retroactive, I strongly encourage students to contact the ASAC as early as possible. For more information about the process for registering and requesting disability-related accommodations, contact ASAC.
  • Counseling Center MGC 214, 202-885-3500 is here to help students make the most of their university experience, both personally and academically. We offer individual and group counseling, urgent care, self-help resources, referrals to private care, as well as programming to help you gain the skills and insight needed to overcome adversity and thrive while you are in college. Contact the Counseling Center to make an appointment in person or by telephone, or visit the Counseling Center page on the AU website for additional information.
  • Center for Diversity & Inclusion MGC 201, 202-885-3651 is dedicated to enhancing LGBTQ, Multicultural, First Generation, and Women’s experiences on campus and to advance AU’s commitment to respecting & valuing diversity by serving as a resource and liaison to students, staff, and faculty on issues of equity through education, outreach, and advocacy.
    • American University expressly prohibits any form of discriminatory harassment including sexual harassment, dating and domestic violence, sexual assault, and stalking. The university is and equal opportunity, affirmative action institution that operated in compliance with applicable laws and regulations, and does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, religion, sex (including pregnancy), age, sexual orientation, disability, marital status, personal appearance, gender identity and expression, family responsibilities, political affiliation, source of income, veteran status, an individual’s genetic information or any other bases under federal or local laws in its programs and activities.
    • If you experience any of the above, you have the option of filing a report with the AU Department of Public Safety 202-885-2527 or the Office of the Dean of Students 202-885-3300 dos@american.edu. To file a Title IX complaint, contact the Title IX Program Officer 202-885-3373 or TitleIX@american.edu. Please keep in mind that all faculty and staff – with exception of counselors in the Counseling Center, victim advocates in OASIS, medical providers in the Student Health Center, and ordained clergy in the Kay Spiritual Life Center – who are aware of or witness this conduct are required to report this information to the university, regardless of the location of the incident.

Undergraduate Research Support

American University offers undergraduates many opportunities to learn research methodology, present their findings at conferences, and compete for awards. Please share the Undergraduate Research Support website with your undergraduate students both on your syllabus and on your course Blackboard site. Also, please encourage students to take advantage of these valuable opportunities to enhance their education.

Basic Course Content

-Course Information
  • Course Name, Number and Number of credits
  • Instructor’s name
  • Office location and Office hours
  • Office Phone and Email Address, and Best Way to Contact Instructor
-Course Description and Goals

-Required Textbooks and Materials
-Social Media Usage


Student Learning Outcomes

As part of our Middle States accreditation, student learning outcomes need to be a part of all course syllabi. Please see the link above to Student Learning Outcomes for more information.

Course Requirements and Expectations

  • Readings
  • Class Participation Policy
  • Attendance Policy
  • Policy on Collaborative Work
  • Assignments
  • Other Course Policies
  • Social Media Policy

Academic Integrity Code


Grading System

  • Evaluation Criteria
  • Percentage of Course Grade for Assignments and Activities

Class Schedule

Emergency Preparedness