Template for Course Syllabi

Crafting a Course Syllabus

Syllabi provide students with a written overview of the course. The clearer you are in constructing your syllabus, the more pro-active you can be in addressing student expectations and questions. Viewing a syllabus as a blueprint can add coherence to the course and help students view their work in a broader, more meaningful manner.  

The average AU undergraduate student takes five courses per semester. That means five differently constructed syllabi to interpret and follow. Although graduate students may take fewer courses, they also need to interpret each course syllabus. The more transparent you are about your expectations and schedule, the more strategic your students can be in their responses.

This template is meant to be a guide and includes items commonly included in course syllabi. You can view any of the individual topics for more detailed information and copy and past the information into your syllabus. 

General Education Courses

If your course can be taken for General Education credit, here is more information to include in your syllabus.

Specific School/Department Information

Individual schools, departments or programs may have items that they would like you to include in your course syllabus. Please contact your department chair, division director, or dean for more information. 

Support for AU Students

American University provides numerous services that help students maximize their academic success and social and emotional wellbeing. Faculty is strongly encouraged to include this information on course syllabi. You are free to cut and paste this section into your syllabus.

  • Academic Support and Access Center MGC 243, 202-885-3360 supports the academic development and educational goals of all AU students while also providing support to students with disabilities. We offer workshops on topics of interest to all students such as time management, note taking, critical thinking, memory skills, and test taking. Additional support includes free private and group tutoring in many subjects, supplemental instruction, The Math Lab and The Writing Lab.
  • Counseling Center MGC 214, 202-885-3500 is here to help students make the most of their university experience, both personally and academically. We offer individual and group counseling, urgent care, self-help resources, referrals to private care, as well as programming to help you gain the skills and insight needed to overcome adversity and thrive while you are in college. Contact the Counseling Center to make and appointment in person or by telephone, or visit the Counseling Center page on the AU website for additional information. 
  • Center for Diversity & Inclusion MGC 201, 202-885-3651 is dedicated to enhancing LGBTQ, Multicultural, First Generation, and Women's experiences on campus and to advance AU's commitment to respecting & valuing diversity by serving as a resource and liaison to students, staff, and faculty on issues of equity through education, outreach, and advocacy. 
  • OASIS: The Office of Advocacy Services for Interpersonal and Sexual Violence 202-885-7070 provides free and confidential advocacy services for anyone in the campus community who experiences sexual assault, dating or domestic violence or stalking.

    American University expressly prohibits any form of discriminatory harassment including sexual harassment, dating and domestic violence, sexual assault, and stalking. The university is and equal opportunity, affirmative action institution that operated in compliance with applicable laws and regulations, and does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, religion, sex (including pregnancy), age, sexual orientation, disability, marital status, personal appearance, gender identity and expression, family responsibilities, political affiliation, source of income, veteran status, an individual's genetic information or any other bases under federal or local laws in its programs and activities.

    If you experience any of the above, you have the option of filing a report with the AU Department of Public Safety 202-885-2527 or the Office of the Dean of Students 202-885-3300 dos@american.edu. Please keep in mind that all faculty and staff - with exception of counselors in the Counseling Center, victim advocates in the Wellness Center, medical providers in the Student Health Center, and ordained clergy in the Kay Spiritual Life Center - who are aware of or witness this conduct are required to report this information to the university, regardless of the location of the incident. 
  • The Writing Center First floor of Bender Library offers free, individual coaching sessions to all AU students. In your 45-minute session, a student writing consultant can help you address your assignments, understand the conventions of academic writing, and learn how to revise and edit your own work. Hours: 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Thursday; 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Friday. Call 202-885-2991 to arrange a session. Meanwhile find handouts, information, and a weekly writer's blog at the Writing Center website and on Facebook.


Undergraduate Research Support

American University offers undergraduates many opportunities to learn research methodology, present their findings at conferences, and compete for awards. Please share the Undergraduate Research Support website with your undergraduate students both on your syllabus and on your course Blackboard site. Also, please encourage students to take advantage of these valuable opportunities to enhance their education. 

Basic Course Information

  • Course Name, Number and Number of credits                          
  • Instructor’s name              
  • Office location and Office hours
  • Office Phone and Email Address, and Best Way to Contact Instructor

Course Description and Goals

Required Textbooks and Materials

Student Learning Outcomes

As part of our Middle States accreditation, student learning outcomes need to be a part of all course syllabi. Please see the link above to Student Learning Outcomes for more information.

Course Requirements and Expectations

Academic Integrity Code

Grading System

  • Evaluation Criteria
  • Percentage of Course Grade for Assignments and Activities


Class Schedule

Emergency Preparedness