The English Course Syllabus

Your course syllabus is an essential part of your course as it is the legal contract between you and your students. Each course syllabus articulates the college’s and instructor’s policies on attendance, holidays, learning objectives, testing procedures and other requirements. All faculty members should include the elements on this page in their course syllabusEnglish course syllabi are archived online.

Minimum Elements of a Course Syllabus

[view more at Course Syllabus Elements]

  • Course prefix/number, title and section number: This ensures that students are in the right class!
  • Class meeting days and times: e.g. MWF 9:00-9:50 a.m.
  • Class location.
  • Instructor’s name, office telephone number, and your e-mail address.
  • Office hours and location.
  • Course information: View the Course descriptions, course competencies, and course outlines for
    use most recently dated document)
  • Course outline: schedule of class dates, reading assignments, lecture/lab topics, homework assignments, field trips, etc.
  • Required textbooks and manuals.
  • Attendance policy: You should familiarize yourself with the Official Absences policy of the college (see Official Absence Excuse Card in the Faculty and Staff Handbook web site).
  • Grading procedures or methods.
  • Policies for late work and makeup examinations.
  • Disability statement: State willingness to accommodate disabled students and refer to Disability Services and Resources (623) 845-3082.
  • Disclaimer statement: Include the words "Tentative Schedule" above or after the course outline, and the statement, "Course content may vary from this syllabus to meet the needs of this particular class. Students will be notified in class by the instructor when adjustments to this syllabus are required."
  • Your policy on recording (audio or video) lectures, for example:

    Taping Policy: It is the opinion of your instructor that taping entire lectures is a poor substitute for good note taking and class participation. However, there are some justifiable reasons for taping a lecture. If you have a reasonable need to tape lectures, please request permission in writing.

  • Include a policy on cheating and/or plagiarism (see Plagiarism in English Classes).
  • Include accurate holiday and final exam dates. Check the printed Class Schedule for dates (inside front and back covers) or access the Calendars and Schedules area of the Enrollment Services web site, where upcoming exam schedules are always linked.

Other Suggestions to Include:

  • Acknowledgement statement: Several faculty have incorporated an acknowledgement statement as part of each course syllabus. By signing such a statement, students acknowledge that they have read, understand and intend to comply with the policies and schedules provided in the syllabus.  Acknowledgement statements place the responsibility with each student and may reduce the amount of time necessary during the introductory portion of a class.
  • Etiquette policy: e.g. cell phone or pager instructions when in class, departing early or arriving late, food and drinks in the classroom.

Suggested web links to add to your syllabus:

Your email address and homepage;

Student Helpdesk:

GCC Tutorials:

Webpage for students to change password:

Writing Center:

Electronic Writing Center for online writing assistance:

Student Learning Resources at GCC

Student Activities at GCC

Student Support at GCC

Student Calendar

GCC Catalog/Student Handbook

Center for Learning:

GCC Library:

Library tutorial:

Counseling and Career Services

Financial Aid

Academic Advisement

Online Student Services (to check grades, transcripts, etc.)

English Department
Page maintained by: Marla DeSoto

More Syllabus Info

Online English Course Syllabus

Your Syllabus: Fair Warning of Sensitive Topics  Pete Kushibab, General Counsel, MCCD

Course Syllabi Websites

University of California, Berkley – Creating a Syllabus
Wondering what to include on your syllabus for next semester?  This site offers a list of “must include” topics and explains the rationale behind each topic.  You could even use the list as a check sheet.