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  • Should conform to the official description for the course; if this description is outdated, a new course description should be submitted via your department scheduler to the university scheduling system for use in all UB communications and systems.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 UBLearns Blackboard site, 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- 3.67
B 3.00
B- 2.67
C+ 2.33
C 2.00
C- 1.67
D+ 1.33
D 1.00
F 0
S n/a
U n/a

Incomplete Grading Scale:

Grade Quality Points
I/B 3.00
I/B- 2.67
I/C+ 2.33
I/C 2.00
I/C- 1.67
I/D+ 1.33
I/D 1.00
I/F 0
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

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

Attendance Policy

Your attendance policy might include reference to:

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.

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.