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Syllabi: What to Include

As posted on the UK Senate website:


The Senate Rules (SR) require that certain things be present in every course syllabus; these components are listed below. (Please note that due to federal law, language regarding reasonable accommodations is in effect regardless of whether or not such language is included in the syllabus.)


  • The general information about the course (SR 6.1.1)

    • Content (could take the form of the Bulletin course description or a reasonable variation thereof)
    • Activities to be evaluated
    • Grading practices
    • If applicable, penalties for absences (only required if an instructor penalizes for absences)
    • If applicable, penalties for late assignments (only required if an instructor penalizes for late assignments)
  • Policies regarding (SR

    • Completion of assigned work
    • Attendance policies
    • Absences from exams (announced and unannounced)
    • If applicable, language stating that attendance serves as a criterion for a grade
    • If applicable, language stating that an instructor will not return any graded materials
  • In 400G- and 500-level courses, the different grading scales for both graduate and undergraduate students must be included. (SR 3.1.4). In addition to different grading scales:

    • The course must require completion of additional or distinct assignments by grad students; OR
    • The course must establish different (higher) grading criteria for grad students.
  • For undergraduates, during Dead Week, no assignment(s)/exam(s) may be scheduled to fall during Dead Week unless it was included in the syllabus AND the course has no final exam/assignment scheduled during finals week (SR (Exceptions: 1. lab practicals may be held during Dead Week if the lab does not also require a final exam during finals week; and 2. regularly assigned graded homework that was announced in the class syllabus.)
  • How much advance notice is required for a student to request an accommodation for a religious observance (SR

There are many things that faculty and others think are helpful to have in a syllabus. These items are not required but they are useful for students. Below are some examples of boilerplate language.