Graduate Course Syllabus Guidelines

The course syllabus serves as a contract between the student and professor regarding course expectations and policies. The course syllabus should clearly communicate what the instructor expects of students and what students can expect from the instructor.

The course syllabus must be finalized and distributed to the class during the first week of classes.


Required Sections

All course syllabi should include the following components:

Basic Information

  • Course Subject Code (i.e., ANA)
  • Course Number (i.e., 599)
  • Type of Instruction (i.e., LEC, SEM, TUT, etc.)
  • Course Title
  • Class Number (i.e., 12345)
  • Semester (i.e., fall 2018)

Course Information

  • Date(s)/time(s)
  • Delivery mode (e.g., hybrid, online, traditional)
  • Number of credits (include ranges where applicable)
  • Instructor name(s) and contact information (including office hour information, where applicable)
  • Other relevant persons (e.g., TAs) and contact information (including office hour information)

Course Description

  • Should conform to the official description for the course; if this description is outdated, a new course description should be submitted via your department scheduler to the university scheduling system for use in all UB communications and systems.
  • Be sure to include any course prerequisites (where applicable). A thorough and clear description of prerequisite coursework or any knowledge that is expected prior to starting the course helps students garner a better understanding of instructor expectations and make informed decisions about their ability to succeed in the course.

Course Materials

The course materials section of your syllabus may include the following:

  • Required and recommended reading materials, resources, textbooks and resources citations.
  • Location/availability of course materials, where applicable (e.g., items on reserve through the libraries, or inside Brightspace, UB's Learning Management System (LMS), etc.).

Student Learning Outcomes

Learning outcomes for the course should be linked back to the curriculum map for the program. Whether these are called outcomes, goals or objectives, these are specific student-focused statements that explain what the student should be able to do or know at the completion of the course. Student Learning outcomes should:

  • Include objectives which delineate what the students should achieve from the course.
  • Link to the more expansive student learning outcomes of the degree program, either in the syllabus or noted with a link to a site with the details on how the course relates to the larger program-level goals.

Course Requirements

Please include the following:

  • Number of papers, tests and any other requirements, such as homework, attendance, class participation, laboratory assignments and clinical performance, that will count toward the final grade. Also be sure to clearly articulate the submission deadline for each assignment, as well as any opportunity for extension, where applicable.
  • Course assignments should be linked to each of the student learning outcomes being assessed. Keep in mind that a single assignment may be used to evaluate more than one learning outcome. Conversely, one course learning outcome may be reinforced by more than one assignment.

Classroom Environment

In this section, you describe the strategies you will use to create a classroom or online course environment that aims to increase experiences of being respected, seen, represented and included.

Grading Policy

Students need to be informed of how their various graded activities will be combined to form their final grade for the course. These might include but are not limited to:

  • Indication of Grade weighting (e.g., satisfactory/unsatisfactory or traditional weighted A-F).
  • Explanation of any curve grading intentions.
  • How results from various requirements will be combined into a final grade*.
  • A make-up policy for tests.
  • Clear explanation of the level of work that must be completed in order to obtain specific letter grades (A through F) or a passing grade if the course is graded on a pass/fail basis.
  • Reference to the university’s Graduate Incomplete Policy and any additional requirements and preferences regarding the use of incomplete grades.

*In addition, the course syllabus should include a statement that reminds students of their responsibility to participate in the course evaluation process.

To clearly articulate the weight of each assignment, consider using a chart (see sample below).
Weight (percent of overall grade) Assignment

Graduate Grade Options:

Grade Quality Points
A- 3.670-3.331
B 3.000-2.671
B- 2.670-2.331
C+ 2.330-2.001
C 2.000-1.671
C- 1.670-1.331
D+ 1.330-1.001
D 1.000-0.001
F1 (for a student who participated beyond the 60% point of the class) 0.000-0.000
F2 (for a student who started participating, but stopped prior to the 60% point of the class) 0.000-0.000
F3 (for a student who did not participate in the class) 0.000-0.000
S n/a
U n/a

Incomplete Grade Options:

Grade Quality Points
I/A- 3.670-3.331
I/B 3.000-2.671
I/B- 2.670-2.331
I/C+ 2.330-2.001
I/C 2.000-1.671
I/C- 1.670-1.331
I/D+ 1.330-1.001
I/D 1.000-0.001
I/F1 (Incomplete/Failure for a student who participated beyond the 60% point of the class) 0.000-0.000
I/F2 (Incomplete/Failure for a student who started participating, but stopped prior to the 60% point of the class) 0.000-0.000
I/S n/a
I/U n/a

Academic Integrity

The following text must be included on the syllabus:

Academic integrity is a fundamental university value. Through the honest completion of academic work, students sustain the integrity of the university and of themselves while facilitating the university's imperative for the transmission of knowledge and culture based upon the generation of new and innovative ideas. For more information, please refer to the Graduate Academic Integrity policy.

Please also include any additional instructor, programmatic, departmental or decanal level requirements regarding academic dishonesty, as applicable.

Accessibility Resources

The following text must be included on the syllabus:

If you have any disability which requires reasonable accommodations to enable you to participate in this course, please contact the Office of Accessibility Resources in 60 Capen Hall, 716-645-2608 and also the instructor of this course during the first week of class. The office will provide you with information and review appropriate arrangements for reasonable accommodations, which can be found on the web at:

Optional Sections

Weekly Course Schedule

Consider adding a weekly schedule using the chart below. Including a week-by-week schedule keeps students and instructor on track and help students better plan for and prepare for any course milestones, such as a mid-term or an upcoming presentation.

Week Number and/or Date
Topic Required Reading(s)/Assignment(s) Due Date

Generative AI Tools (e.g., ChatGPT)

Faculty are encouraged to add a statement regarding the use of Generative AI Tools such as ChatGPT in their classes. When communicating expectations, faculty should avoid using any vague language, and include specific parameters or limits. Feel free to draw from the following examples:

  • Prohibition example
    Utilizing generative AI tools (such as ChatGPT) in this class is strictly forbidden. Any use of generative AI tools in this class will be considered a violation of UB's Academic Integrity policies. However, you are free to use AI tools (that are not generative) such as spellcheckers and auto-annotation, to assist in making your writing more professional.
  • Limited Use example
    In this class, using generative AI tools such as ChatGPT is not allowed during any tests, or for any help in generating both your final term paper and your online discussion comments. However, you are free to use generative AI tools such as ChatGPT when completing homework assignments. In addition, you are free to use AI tools (that are not generative) such as spellcheckers, formatting designers, and auto-annotation, etc. to assist in making your work more polished and professional.

Attendance Policy

Your attendance policy might include reference to:

Protecting Course Materials Disclaimer

The Graduate School's Improper Distribution of Course Materials policy is in place to protect course materials. If you desire to protect your course materials from use outside of your class, your graduate course syllabus should include the following language:

"All materials prepared and/or assigned by me for this course are for the students’ educational benefit. Other than for permitted collaborative work, students may not photograph, record, reproduce, transmit, distribute, upload, sell or exchange course materials, without my prior written permission. “Course materials” include, but are not limited to, all instructor-prepared and assigned materials, such as lectures; lecture notes; discussion prompts; study aids; tests and assignments; and presentation materials such as PowerPoint slides, or transparencies; and course packets or handouts. Public distribution of such materials may also constitute copyright infringement in violation of federal or state law.  Students who violate this policy will be required to complete an educational sanction about the value of intellectual property.  More serious and/or repeat violations of this policy may be treated as acts of “academic dishonesty” and/or subject a student to disciplinary charges under the Student Code of Conduct."  

Instructor and Course Support Staff Information

The following could be included in this section:

  • Relevant professional information and/or teaching philosophy.
  • Roles and responsibilities of course support staff (e.g., TAs/GAs)

Lab Safety

This section could include guidelines for lab safety, including policies and procedures.

University Support Services

Students are often unaware of university support services available to them. For example, the Center for Excellence in Writing provides support for written work, and several tutoring centers on campus provide academic support and resources.

Other vital support services for graduate students include counseling services and sexual violence resources. A support service section of your syllabus might include information about those.

Feel free to add the following text in your syllabus as you see fit.

Counseling Service

As a student you may experience a range of issues that can cause barriers to learning or reduce your ability to participate in daily activities. These might include strained relationships, anxiety, high levels of stress, alcohol/drug problems, feeling down, health concerns, or unwanted sexual experiences. Counseling, Health Services and Health Promotion are here to help with these or other issues you may experience. You learn can more about these programs and services by contacting:

Counseling Services
120 Richmond Quad (North Campus), 716-645-2720
202 Michael Hall (South Campus), 716-829-5800

Health Services
4350 Maple Rd, Amherst, NY 14226, 716-829-3316

Office of Health Promotion
114 Student Union (North Campus), 716-645-2837

Sexual Violence

UB is committed to providing a safe learning environment free of all forms of discrimination and sexual harassment, including sexual assault, domestic and dating violence and stalking. If you have experienced gender-based violence (intimate partner violence, attempted or completed sexual assault, harassment, coercion, stalking, etc.), UB has resources to help. This includes academic accommodations, health and counseling services, housing accommodations, helping with legal protective orders, and assistance with reporting the incident to police or other UB officials if you so choose. Please contact UB’s Title IX Coordinator at 716-645-2266 for more information. For confidential assistance, you may also contact a Crisis Services Campus Advocate at 716-796-4399.

Please be aware UB faculty are mandated to report violence or harassment on the basis of sex or gender. This means that if you tell me about a situation, I will need to report it to the Office of Equity, Diversity and Inclusion. You will still have options about how the situation will be handled, including whether or not you wish to pursue a formal complaint. Please know that if you do not wish to have UB proceed with an investigation, your request will be honored unless UB's failure to act does not adequately mitigate the risk of harm to you or other members of the university community. You also have the option of speaking with trained counselors who can maintain complete confidentiality. UB’s Options for Confidentially Disclosing Sexual Violence provides a full explanation of the resources available, as well as contact information. You may call UB’s Office of Equity, Diversity and Inclusion at 716-645-2266 for more information, and you have the option of calling that office anonymously if you would prefer not to disclose your identity.

Technology Recommendations

To effectively participate in this course, regardless of mode of instruction, the university recommends you have access to a Windows or Mac computer with webcam and broadband. Your best opportunity for success in the blended UB course delivery environment (in-person, hybrid and remote) will require these minimum capabilities.

Additional Optional Text: For this class, you should have access to (insert specific requirement here). Access is available (insert where on campus/how) or (recommended) students can purchase the (repeat specific requirement here) (insert where to purchase).

Additional Notes

Departments/programs may have additional requirements and/or may outline a particular format for the syllabus. Faculty should check to make sure there are no additional departmental guidelines they must follow when creating/revising course syllabi.