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Course Syllabi | Policies | CSUSM

Course Syllabi

Definition: The purpose of this policy is to establish clear guidelines on what material must be included in a syllabus, and to make recommendations for additional items that instructors may choose to place in their syllabi.
Authority: The President of the university.
Scope: This policy applies to all CSUSM credit-bearing courses except independent study, research and internship courses for which independent student work is the primary mode of instruction.
Responsible Division: Academic Affairs
Approval Date: 08/20/2015
Originally Implemented: 08/20/2015
Signature Page/PDF: View Signatures for Course Syllabi Policy



A) The course syllabus must be made available to students no later than the first class meeting. The syllabus may be distributed either in hard-copy format or posted online.

a. Instructors are encouraged to post syllabi in Cougar Courses (or equivalent Learning Management System if another is used in place of Cougar Courses) instead of printing hard-copy syllabi as this is less resource-intensive, and it is harder for students to lose the syllabus if they have electronic access to it.

b. It is recommended that a copy of the syllabus be sent to the appropriate subject librarian at the start of the semester.

B) A copy of the course syllabus must be placed on file in the program/department office and/or the Dean’s office by the fourth week of classes.

a. The program/department office or Dean’s office is responsible for forwarding a copy of the course syllabus to Academic Programs (electronic format preferred).

b. Academic Programs will maintain an electronic archive of all course syllabi.


  1. Course Number
  2. Course Name (as it appears in the catalog)
  3. Semester or Term in which the course is being offered
  4. Name of Instructor(s)
  5. Office Hours and Location
    Note that (per the Online Instruction Policy) instructors for on-line courses must also hold "Office Hours."
  6. Faculty Contact Information
    Faculty e-mail address, office location, and/or campus phone number.
  7. Office Course Description
    At a minimum, this must include the official course description taken directly from the General Catalog. Instructors are encouraged but not required to supplement the official catalog statement by following the official course description with an “Expanded Description” that provides greater detail about what will be covered in the course. While such an “Expanded Description” may be useful for any course, it is especially recommended for courses where the catalog description is sufficiently broad that there may be significant differences in coverage from offering to offering.
  8. Course Learning Outcomes
    The Course Learning Outcomes (CLOs) are intended to communicate to the students what they are able to do upon completion of the course. These are often stated in a greater level of detail than Program Student Learning Outcomes.  CLOs should be presented using the following construction:
    Upon successful completion of this course, students will (be able to):
    [List of Course Learning Outcomes follows.]
    At their own discretion, instructors may choose additionally to indicate how the CLOs are addressed in the course and how students will be expected to achieve them.
  9. Required/Recommended Materials/ServicesAny required/recommended materials or services that students would have to purchase in order to complete the course. Include required texts, any required software and (for courses with an online component) minimum computer requirements. As applicable, include information about any Department, College or University resources available for students unable to purchase these materials or services.
  10. Schedule
    Tentative Schedule, including topics, and types and sequences of activities (e.g., readings, labs, field trips, etc.).
  11. Course Requirements and Graded Course Components
    Course requirements (i.e., number of exams, assignments, etc.) and graded course components (i.e., relative weight of the exams, assignments, etc.).
  12. Credit Hour Policy Statement
    Per the University Credit Hour Policy:
    • Courses with face-to-face instruction (including activity and laboratory modes of instruction) must include a statement to the effect that students are expected to spend a minimum of two hours outside of the classroom each week for each unit of credit engaged in learning. (Note that for courses with a “lecture” mode of instruction over an entire semester, each unit of credit corresponds to an ‘hour’ of class-time and two hours of student learning outside of class. For activity and laboratory modes of instruction, depending on the particular instructional mode, each unit of credit corresponds to two or three ‘hours’ of class-time, and two hours of student learning outside of class.)
    • Courses that are entirely on-line must describe the activities that the student will be required to complete as part of the course and indicate the expected minimum time (at least 45 hours for each unit of credit) that students will need to devote to each of these.
    • Hybrid courses must describe to students how the combination of face-to-face time, out-of-class time associated with the face-to-face sessions, and on-line work will total at least 45 hours per unit of credit.
  13. Final Exam Statement
    Syllabi must include either the date and time of the final exam, or a statement that there will be no final exam. If this information is integrated with the tentative schedule (item 10) or the course grading standards (item 11), then it is not necessary to make this a separate syllabus item.
  14. ADA Statement
    A sample statement follows:
    Students with disabilities who require reasonable accommodations must be approved for services by providing appropriate and recent documentation to the Office of Disabled Student Services (DSS). This office is located in Craven Hall 4300, and can be contacted by phone at (760) 750-4905, or TTY (760) 750-4909, and by email sent to Students authorized by DSS to receive reasonable accommodations should meet with me during my office hours in order to ensure confidentiality.


  1. [For undergraduate courses]
    All-University Writing Requirement
    Statement on how the All-University Writing Requirement (850 words for a 1-unit course, 1700 words for a 2-unit course, and 2500 words for courses of 3 or more units) is satisfied in the course.
  2. [For courses offered in a format other than face-to-face, traditional (FT) instruction]
    Course Format
    The Online Instruction Policy lists the following alternatives to face-to-face, traditional (FT) instruction: face-to-face, online (FO); local, online (LO); remote, online (RO); or hybrid (HY).
  3. [For on-line and hybrid courses]
    Necessary technical competency required of students
  4. [For on-line and hybrid courses]
    Contact information for technical support assistance
    This may include customer support for software used in the course as well as the CSUSM Help Desk.
  5. [For courses identified by departments as addressing the Program Student Learning Outcomes (PSLOs) in a major offered by the department which offers the course]
    Program Student Learning Outcomes (PSLOs)
    The syllabus must include a list of all PSLOs that the department has determined are addressed in the course. At their own discretion, instructors may choose additionally to indicate how the CLOs are addressed in the course and how students will be expected to achieve them.
  6. [For courses certified as fulfilling a requirement in the CSUSM General Education Program]
    General Education Program Student Learning Outcomes (GEPSLOs)
    The syllabus must include a list of all GEPSLOs that the course has been recognized by the General Education Committee as addressing. At their own discretion, instructors may choose additionally to indicate how the GEPSLOs are addressed in the course and how students will be expected to achieve them.
  7. [For courses where material will regularly be made available to students via Cougar Courses, other Learning Management Systems, Library Reserves, etc.]
    How course material will be made available
  8. [For courses with such a policy]
    Course attendance policy
    - Any special attendance requirements, such as attendance at outside events or Service Learning activities must be listed.
    - In accordance with the Administrative Course Drop policy, if there are any dates for which attendance is required to avoid being administratively dropped, these must be specified.
    - Hybrid courses with specific on-campus meeting requirements (e.g., for exams) must state those requirements.
    If the course attendance policy is integrated with the course grading standards (required item 11), then it is not necessary to make the attendance policy a separate syllabus item.
  9. [For courses with such a policy]
    Policy on Late/Missed Work
    If the instructor has a policy regarding acceptance of late work or making up missed work, this must be specified in the syllabus. If such a policy is integrated with the course grading standards (required item 11), then it is not necessary to make this a separate syllabus item.
  10. [For courses with such a policy]
    Student Collaboration Policy
    Any course guidelines and rules on (i) how students may collaborate on assignments and/or (ii) how students are required to work together.


  1. Class Meeting Time and Location
  2. Academic Honesty Statement [Strongly recommended.]
    Students will be expected to adhere to standards of academic honesty and integrity, as outlined in the Student Academic Honesty Policy. All assignments must be original work, clear and error-free. All ideas/material that are borrowed from other sources must have appropriate references to the original sources. Any quoted material should give credit to the source and be punctuated accordingly.
    Academic Honesty and Integrity: Students are responsible for honest completion and representation of their work. Your course catalog details the ethical standards and penalties for infractions. There will be zero tolerance for infractions. If you believe there has been an infraction by someone in the class, please bring it to the instructor’s attention. The instructor reserves the right to discipline any student for academic dishonesty, in accordance with the general rules and regulations of the university. Disciplinary action may include the lowering of grades and/or the assignment of a failing grade for an exam, assignment, or the class as a whole.
    It is recommended that students be referred to the full Academic Honesty Policy at
  3. Class Behavior Expectations
    A sample statement follows:
    Students in this class are expected to follow these basic principles:
    • Demonstrate respect for oneself and for others.
    • Treat other with dignity and behave in a way which promotes a physically and psychologically safe, secure, and supportive climate.
    • Allow all community members to engage as full and active participants where the free flow if ideas is encouraged and affirmed.
      On-line and hybrid courses may wish to add expectations for 'netiquette'.
  4. A statement that the syllabus is "subject to change."


  1. [For courses certified as fulfilling a requirement in the CSUSM General Education Program]
    Area-Specific General Education Requirements
    Which of the General Education area-specific requirements (formerly called General Education Learning Outcomes, or GELOs) the course satisfies, and how these requirements are addressed in the course.
  2. Statement on student responsibility for Add/Drop deadlines
    A sample statement follows:
    Students are responsible for understanding all processes and timelines associated with adding or withdrawing from a course. Published detailed information can be found with the Class Schedule on the CSUSM website.
  3. Statement on student responsibility for assignment deadlines and failed technology
    A sample statement follows:
    Assume that technology will fail at some point. Do not assume that everything will go smoothly when it comes to computers. Plan ahead. Do not leave completion/submission of assignments/projects for the last possible moment.
  4. Tips and suggestions for student success in the course


This policy does not preclude the addition of other syllabus elements as required by departments, programs, schools and colleges.