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.

General Education Courses

If your course can be taken for General Education credit, click for 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.


Undergraduate Research Support

American University offers undergraduates many opportunities to learn research methodology, present their findings at conferences, and compete for awards. A new website has been created that helps undergraduates navigate the growing possibilities: http://www.american.edu/provost/undergrad/research.cfm

Please share this 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. Note that the site is still being built but will be available (at least in skeletal form) by the start of classes in Spring 2013.


Important Information for All Students

AU provides numerous services to help students to be successful in their coursework: the Academic Support and Access Center, the Counseling Center, the Writing Center and the Writing Lab, and the Center for Diversity and Inclusion. You can include this information as part of your syllabus and/or as additional course information posted on your course site within Blackboard. Click on the name of each support service for more information.

  • Academic Support and Access Center (x3360, MGC 243) In addition to using the resources available in this department, all students may take advantage of individual academic counseling, skills workshops, tutor referrals, Supplemental Instruction, and writing appointments in the Academic Support and Access Center.
    Students with Disabilities: If you wish to receive accommodations for a disability, please notify me with a letter from the Academic Support and Access Center. As accommodations are not retroactive, timely notification at the beginning of the semester, if possible, is requested. 
  • Counseling Center (x3500, MGC 214) offers counseling and consultations regarding personal concerns, self-help information, and connections to off-campus mental health resources.
  • Writing Center in 228 Battelle-Tompkins offers free, individual coaching sessions to all AU students. In your 45-minute session, a student writing consultant can help you address assignments, understand the conventions of academic writing, and learn how to revise and edit your own work. The Center offers appointments on the hour from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Thursday; 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Friday, and 3 to 6 p.m. on Sundays. Call 202- 885- 2991 to arrange a session. Or for info click here.
  • Center for Diversity & Inclusion 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. It is located on the 2nd floor of Mary Graydon Center: 202-885-3651, email is cdi@american.edu.
  • Dean of Students Office (x3300, 408 Butler Pavilion) offers one-on-one meetings to discuss academic, adjustment, and personal issues that may be interfering with a student's ability to succeed academically. The DOS office also verifies documentation for students who have medical or mental health issues that cause them to be absent from class.