Course Syllabus

Each course has a master course syllabus (MCS) approved through the university curricular process. The master course syllabus follows a standard format that gives the description of the course, prerequisites and co-requisites, rationale for the course level, materials and other requirements for students, typical instructional formats, course objectives, outline of topics, and typical methods for student evaluation. The master course syllabus, as approved through the curricular process, is filed in the Academic Senate office and available on their website. Changes in the MCS must be made through the curricular processes described in the Curriculum Authority Document.

A teaching syllabus, often referred to as the “class” or “course” syllabus, is not the same as the MCS. Individual faculty members develop a teaching syllabus to provide students with greater specificity about how a given course section will be conducted in order to accomplish the intended goals and learning objectives. The course syllabus must reflect the same course objectives and general content as the MCS. However, a faculty member may alter the sequence of topics, select appropriate instructional materials, use a variety of instructional methods, and design evaluation measures. The course syllabus for a UP (University Program) course should list the UP subgroup and indicate how the content meets the specific student learning outcomes of that UP subgroup. WI and QR sections of courses must also include the required student learning outcomes to meet those standards. Some departments use one course syllabus for multiple sections of the same course.

In addition to the course number, title, credit hours, and meeting times, the course syllabus should include the instructor contact information and office hours followed by the course objectives, schedule (including dates of major assignments and exams), required and recommended materials, and evaluation standards/course grading. It is helpful when developing the course syllabus if you include a checklist with examples of templates. Consult the Syllabus Design and Creation page on the Office of Curriculum and Instructional Support website for additional guidance.  

The following paragraphs provide resources that you should include in your syllabus.

Office Hours

All faculty are required to schedule specific office hours for student consultation. Share and post the schedule of your office hours with your students. Your department may have a required number of hours or recommended schedule, so check with your department chairperson.

Attendance Policy

CMU has no university-wide attendance requirement. Rather, students are expected to follow the instructor’s policy. To clarify your expectations and to avoid misunderstandings, craft a clear attendance policy. We recommend that you visit with your departmental colleagues to find out the policies they use and align yours accordingly.  See the Undergraduate Academic Bulletin for further information on Class Attendance requirements and the Missed Class Policy. In the case where a failing grade is assigned, instructors are required to provide the "last date of attendance".  Good record keeping based on the policy provided in your syllabus will be beneficial. 

Classes during Final Exam Week

Each main-campus class will have a scheduled meeting time during final exam week. The schedule is published in each semester's Class Schedule. CMU instructors are expected to use this time either for an examination or for the continuation of instruction.

Students with Disabilities 

CMU provides students with disabilities reasonable accommodations to participate in educational programs, activities or services. Students with disabilities requiring accommodations to participate in class activities or meet course requirements should register for services through Student Disability Services, 120 Park Library, 989-774-3018,

Academic Integrity

We all recognize the importance of encouraging academic integrity in the classroom. While we have no tool or strategy that can control human behavior to prevent acts of cheating or plagiarism, encouraging academic integrity amongst learners is paramount.  Including a reference to CMU's Academic Integrity Policy in your syllabus is vital to student success.

NOTE: Check with your department for departmental, programmatic, college or specialized accreditation requirements that must be included in your teaching syllabus.  

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