A syllabus defines the goals of a course and describes the classroom activities, readings, assignments, course policies, schedule and other important information. It often serves as the first point of contact between students and instructors, and should be clear and concise. Instructors at Carolina should strive to develop syllabi that are both an effective ‘road map’ of the course’s content and logistics, and an invitation for students to actively engage in the learning process.
Below you will find resources to help you design your syllabus, and a list of required components that all syllabi should contain. Instructors should be sure to have a complete version of each course syllabus prepared and ready to share with students by the first day of class for each semester, and make sure to upload a copy of that syllabus to the Online Syllabus Manager (OSM) application for archiving purposes. For professional school instructors, please check with your chair/dean to determine how syllabi are collected and archived.
University policies and support services that are required to be included in the syllabus are best attached as a separate page at the end of the syllabus. The Fall 2021 insert for undergraduate courses is available here: syllabus insert (Word), syllabus insert (PDF). More information about required content – including sample statements – can be found below.
Development and Design Resources
All syllabi at UNC-Chapel Hill should contain the following content per Faculty Council resolution 2012-11 and 2020-6:
- Course number, section, and title
- Course description (from the Catalog)
- Meeting days, times, and location
- Student learning outcomes
- Student learning outcomes for any IDEAs in Action Gen Eds the course fulfills
- Assignment list
- Grade scale and grading rubric
- Weekly calendar with assignment and assessment dates
- Academic Policies section (see below)
- Academic Resources section (see below)
New instructors are encouraged to review the Creating a Syllabus at Carolina document and the other sections of this webpage when designing their syllabus. We also encourage instructors to confer with their Director of Undergraduate/Graduate Studies and their colleagues, as well as the Center for Faculty Excellence section on course design for additional support.
The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill is committed to providing an inclusive and welcoming environment for all members of our community. Consistent with that commitment, the gender-inclusive terms (chair; first-year student; upper-level student, etc.) should be used on syllabi. The UNC Writing Center has a handout on Gender-Inclusive Language.
Academic and Course Policies
The content below provides sample statements for a variety of required and recommended policies. Instructors are encouraged to use these statements when creating a syllabus.
No right or privilege exists that permits a student to be absent from any class meetings, except for these University Approved Absences:
- Authorized University activities
- Disability/religious observance/pregnancy, as required by law and approved by Accessibility Resources and Service and/or the Equal Opportunity and Compliance Office (EOC)
- Significant health condition and/or personal/family emergency as approved by the Office of the Dean of Students, Gender Violence Service Coordinators, and/or the Equal Opportunity and Compliance Office (EOC).
Instructors may work with students to meet attendance needs that do not fall within University approved absences. For situations when an absence is not University approved (e.g., a job interview or club activity), instructors determine their own approach to missed classes and make-up assessments and assignments. Please provide your approach on the course syllabus.
Please communicate with me early about potential absences. Please be aware that you are bound by the Honor Code when making a request for a University approved absence.
An Honor Code statement is required on all syllabi. You may select from one of the following examples or create your own.
- Spring 2021 Suggestion: I expect all students to follow the guidelines of the UNC honor code. In particular, students are expected to refrain from “lying, cheating, or stealing” in the academic context. You can read more about the honor code at honor.unc.edu. In any course, including mine, what constitutes cheating can change from one activity to another. For example, collaboration may be encouraged for an assignment but qualify as cheating during an exam. Please see my guidelines for each activity, and if you are unsure, please ask me to clarify.In remote classes, there may be many temptations for using online exchange sites, such as Chegg. Note that these sites provide names of students who have used their materials, and they routinely cooperate with institutions around academic integrity issues. Please don’t get caught up with honor code issues just because it appears to be simple and untraceable. It is not!
- All students are expected to follow the guidelines of the UNC honor code. In particular, students are expected to refrain from “lying, cheating, or stealing” in the academic context. If you are unsure about which actions violate that honor code, please see me or consult honor.unc.edu. (source: Department of Asian Studies)
- Students are bound by the Honor Code in taking exams and in written work. The Honor Code of the University is in effect at all times, and the submission of work signifies understanding and acceptance of those requirements. Plagiarism will not be tolerated. Please consult with me if you have any questions about the Honor Code. (source: syllabus from section of HIST 486 offered in 2015)
- The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill has had a student-administered honor system and judicial system for over 100 years. The system is the responsibility of students and is regulated and governed by them, but faculty share the responsibility. If you have questions about your responsibility under the honor code, please bring them to your instructor or consult with the office of the Dean of Students or the Instrument of Student Judicial Governance. This document, adopted by the Chancellor, the Faculty Council, and the Student Congress, contains all policies and procedures pertaining to the student honor system. Your full participation and observance of the honor code is expected (honor.unc.edu). (source: syllabus from section of GEOG 67 offered in 2015)
- As a condition of joining the Carolina community, Carolina students pledge “not to lie, cheat, or steal” and to hold themselves, as members of the Carolina community, to a high standard of academic and non-academic conduct while both on and off Carolina’s campus. This commitment to academic integrity, ethical behavior, personal responsibility and civil discourse exemplifies the “Carolina Way,” and this commitment is codified in both the University’s Honor Code and in other University student conduct-related policies.
By enrolling as a student in this course, you agree to abide by the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill policies related to the acceptable use of IT systems and services. You may be asked to participate in online discussions or other online activities that may include personal information about you or other students in the course. The rights and protection of other participants are protected under the UNC-Chapel Hill Information Technology Acceptable Use Policy, which covers topics related to using digital resources, such as privacy, confidentiality, and intellectual property.
Consult the University website “Safe Computing at UNC” for information about the data security policies, updates, and tips on keeping your identity, information, and devices safe.
Describe when submissions will be considered late, how many points will be deducted, etc.
- UNC-Chapel Hill Privacy Statement
- Sakai’s Discussion Forum, Assignments, DropBox, Gradebook, and Tests & Quizzes tools are designed to share FERPA-protected information privately between instructors and individual students.
The professor reserves the right to make changes to the syllabus, including project due dates and test dates. These changes will be announced as early as possible.
Community Standards in Our Course and Mask Use.
This semester, while we are in the midst of a global pandemic, all enrolled students are required to wear a mask covering your mouth and nose at all times in our classroom. This requirement is to protect our educational community — your classmates and me – as we learn together. If you choose not to wear a mask, or wear it improperly, I will ask you to leave immediately, and I will submit a report to the Office of Student Conduct. At that point you will be disenrolled from this course for the protection of our educational community. An exemption to the mask wearing community standard will not typically be considered a reasonable accommodation. Individuals with a disability or health condition that prevents them from safely wearing a face mask may seek alternative accommodations through Accessibility Resources and Service For additional information, see Carolina Together.
Instructors: If a student arrives in your classroom not wearing a mask, or declines to wear one, please use this script when addressing the student and the rest of the class. The script also includes important post-class action steps.
Last updated 8/18/2021
A Grade Appeal Process statement is recommended on all syllabi. You may use the following example or create your own.
If you feel you have been awarded an incorrect grade, please discuss with me. If we cannot resolve the issue, you may talk to our departmental director of undergraduate studies or appeal the grade through a formal university process based on arithmetic/clerical error, arbitrariness, discrimination, harassment, or personal malice. To learn more, go to the Academic Advising Program website.
Services and Student Support
The content below provides sample statements for a variety of services. Some statements are required. Instructors are encouraged to use these statements when creating a syllabus.
Required on all syllabi.
The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill facilitates the implementation of reasonable accommodations, including resources and services, for students with disabilities, chronic medical conditions, a temporary disability or pregnancy complications resulting in barriers to fully accessing University courses, programs and activities.
Accommodations are determined through the Office of Accessibility Resources and Service (ARS) for individuals with documented qualifying disabilities in accordance with applicable state and federal laws. See the ARS Website for contact information: https://ars.unc.edu or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Required on all syllabi.
CAPS is strongly committed to addressing the mental health needs of a diverse student body through timely access to consultation and connection to clinically appropriate services, whether for short or long-term needs. Go to their website: https://caps.unc.edu/ or visit their facilities on the third floor of the Campus Health Services building for a walk-in evaluation to learn more. (source: Student Safety and Wellness Proposal for EPC, Sep 2018)
Required on all syllabi.
Any student who is impacted by discrimination, harassment, interpersonal (relationship) violence, sexual violence, sexual exploitation, or stalking is encouraged to seek resources on campus or in the community. Reports can be made online to the EOC at https://eoc.unc.edu/report-an-incident/. Please contact the University’s Title IX Coordinator (Elizabeth Hall, interim – email@example.com), Report and Response Coordinators in the Equal Opportunity and Compliance Office (firstname.lastname@example.org), Counseling and Psychological Services (confidential), or the Gender Violence Services Coordinators (email@example.com; confidential) to discuss your specific needs. Additional resources are available at safe.unc.edu.
The University is committed to providing an inclusive and welcoming environment for all members of our community and to ensuring that educational and employment decisions are based on individuals’ abilities and qualifications. Consistent with this principle and applicable laws, the University’s Policy Statement on Non-Discrimination offers access to its educational programs and activities as well as employment terms and conditions without respect to race, color, gender, national origin, age, religion, creed, genetic information, disability, veteran’s status, sexual orientation, gender identity or gender expression. Such a policy ensures that only relevant factors are considered and that equitable and consistent standards of conduct and performance are applied.
If you are experiencing harassment or discrimination, you can seek assistance and file a report through the Report and Response Coordinators (see contact info at safe.unc.edu) or the Equal Opportunity and Compliance Office, or online to the EOC at https://eoc.unc.edu/report-an-incident/.
A diversity statement is recommended on all syllabi. You may use the following example or create your own.
I value the perspectives of individuals from all backgrounds reflecting the diversity of our students. I broadly define diversity to include race, gender identity, national origin, ethnicity, religion, social class, age, sexual orientation, political background, and physical and learning ability. I strive to make this classroom an inclusive space for all students. Please let me know if there is anything I can do to improve, I appreciate suggestions.
The College of Arts and Sciences provides a secure, proctored environment in which exams can be taken. The center works with instructors to proctor exams for their undergraduate students who are not registered with ARS and who do not need testing accommodations as provided by ARS. In other words, the Center provides a proctored testing environment for students who are unable to take an exam at the normally scheduled time (with pre-arrangement by your instructor). For more information, visit http://testingcenter.web.unc.edu/. (source: http://testingcenter.web.unc.edu/)
The UNC Learning Center is a great resource both for students who are struggling in their courses and for those who want to be proactive and develop sound study practices to prevent falling behind. They offer individual consultations, peer tutoring, academic coaching, test prep programming, study skills workshops, and peer study groups. If you think you might benefit from their services, please visit them in SASB North or visit their website to set up an appointment: http://learningcenter.unc.edu. (source: syllabus from section of ECON 486 offered in 2015)
The Writing Center is located in the Student and Academic Services Building and offers personalized writing consultations as well as a variety of other resources. This could be a wonderful resource to help with your writing assignments in this course (and any assignments in your other courses). You do not need a complete draft of your assignment to visit; they can help you at any stage! You can chat with someone in the writing center or set up as appointment on their website: http://writingcenter.unc.edu. (source: syllabus from section of ECON 486 offered in 2015)
For examples of syllabi that fulfill specific IDEAs in Action general education requirements, please visit the IDEAs in Action curriculum page.
- UNC Faculty Council Resolution 2012-11: On Guidelines for Course Syllabi.
- Center for Faculty Excellence
- Office of Instructional Innovation