Graduate Course Syllabi 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.


Required Sections

The course syllabus must be finalized and distributed to the class during the first week of classes. 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) where applicable and contact information (including office hour information, where applicable)

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  • Should conform to the official description for the course; if this description is outdated, a new course description should be submitted via your department scheduler to the university scheduling system for use in all UB communications and systems.
  • Course prerequisites (if applicable); clear description of prerequisite coursework or knowledge expected prior to start the course.

Course Materials

The course materials section 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 library, use of Brightspace, 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 specify what the student should be able to do or know at that the completion of the course. Student Learning outcomes should:

  • Include objectives which delineate what the students should achieve from the course.
  • Be clearly linked 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 Learning Outcome Program Outcomes/Competencies
Instructional Method(s) Assessment Method(s)

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.
  • Deadlines for assignments. Assignments should be linked to each of the student learning outcomes being assessed. A single assignment may be used to assess more than one learning outcome and an outcome may be assessed by more than one assignment.

Grading Policy

Students should be apprised of how various graded activities will be combined to form their final grade for the course, including:

  • How results from various requirements will be combined into a final grade*.
  • Relative weightings.
  • A make-up policy for tests.
  • Specification 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 instructor requirements and comments regarding the use of incomplete grades.

*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 critical to the learning process. It is your responsibility as a student to complete your work in an honest fashion, upholding the expectations your individual instructors have for you in this regard. The ultimate goal is to ensure that you learn the content in your courses in accordance with UB’s academic integrity principles, regardless of whether instruction is in-person or remote.  Thank you for upholding your own personal integrity and ensuring UB’s tradition of academic excellence. 

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

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

Attendance Policy

Your attendance policy might include reference to:

While your attendance and participation are essential components of this course, it is critical that you follow public health guidelines. As such, any student exhibiting COVID-19 symptoms should not come to campus to participate in coursework. If you need to miss class due to illness, isolation or quarantine must notify the instructor by email as soon as possible and no later than 24-hours after missing class. At that time, you are also expected to make arrangements to complete missed work.

Protecting Course Materials Disclaimer

Your graduate course syllabus should include the following language, (if you desire to protect your course materials from use outside of your class):

"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.

Classroom Decorum

Discussion of classroom expectations, including tardiness and/or use of cell phones and laptops, may be included in this section.

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 success, support and resources.

Other vital support 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.