Washington State University

Office of the VPUE

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Washington State University

Office of the Vice Provost for Undergraduate Education

Guidelines (Undergraduate & Graduate)

For Course Planning & Syllabi

Course Planning and Syllabi

The information below outlines requirements, recommendations, and additional resources for faculty related to course planning and syllabi. The 2018 Syllabus Components Checklist provides an updated guide for syllabi design.

On This Page:
Required for Course SyllabiRecommended for SyllabiResources and Other Policies

Required for Course Syllabi

According to WSU's Educational Policies and Procedure Manual:

"The instructor(s) of each course shall make available to enrolled students a course syllabus which should (a) be presented during the first week of class, (b) contain expected student learning outcomes, and (c) include information about the method(s) to be used for evaluation of student progress and determination of grades. The University, College or Academic Unit may, in published policies, specify additional information to be included in course syllabi."

Each course syllabi should include the items listed below and in the downloadable syllabus components checklist:

Course Information

  • Course prefix and number
  • Title of course
  • Number of credits
  • UCORE category (if applicable)
  • Prerequisites
  • Current semester and year

Meeting Schedule

  • Days & times the course meets
  • Building(s) and room(s) (if known) and/or online space in which the course is held

Instructor Information (and TA and/or Lab Instructor Information If Appropriate)

  • Name
  • Office location
  • Office hours
  • Contact information (phone, email)

Required and/or Recommended Textbooks and Course Materials

  • Include ISBNs and specify how and where to obtain required materials (e.g. Bookie, Amazon, OpenStax, etc.)
  • Indicate whether specific editions are required, and if so which edition(s) are appropriate for the course

Student Learning Outcomes and Assessment

  • Course-level student learning outcomes
  • Means of assessment
  • Clearly stated link between learning outcomes and methods used to assess them (see pgs. 6-11 of checklist)
  • Clear identification of how coursework contributes to student learning outcomes
    • Must including in-class, online, and out-of-class components
  • Provision of clear guidance for how much time and effort students should expect to invest in the course
    • For online courses: be especially clear, because new students may underestimate time and effort required, and how work will be assessed.
    • For graduate courses: include the statement, "For each hour of lecture equivalent, students should expect to have a minimum of two hours of work outside class."

Week-To-Week Course Outline

  • Include dates of additional activities
    • Include field trips, competitions, or other commitments
    • See Academic Calendar.

Description of Required Assignments

  • Describe all types of assignments used for course

Grading Policy

  • Requirements to earn specific grades
    • Statement of what letter-grade equivalencies (e.g. numerical scores for an A, B, C, D, or F) or other grading criteria are used to determine student progress and grades
    • Information on how grades will be rounded; avoid non-specified ranges
  • Consequences of turning in late assignments

Attendance Policy

  • Description of attendance policy
  • Number of absences allowed before grades are impacted
  • Specific statement of:
    • Whether make-up laboratories are allowed
    • Whether make-up exams are allowed

WSU Reasonable Accommodation Statement

WSU Academic Integrity Statement (Updated August, 2016)

  • Provide the full statement: “Academic integrity is the cornerstone of higher education. As such, all members of the university community share responsibility for maintaining and promoting the principles of integrity in all activities, including academic integrity and honest scholarship. Academic integrity will be strongly enforced in this course. Students who violate WSU’s Academic Integrity Policy (identified in Washington Administrative Code (WAC) 504-26-010(3) and -404) will receive [insert academic sanction (e.g., fail the course, fail the assignment, etc.)], will not have the option to withdraw from the course pending an appeal, and will be reported to the Office of Student Conduct.
    Cheating includes, but is not limited to, plagiarism and unauthorized collaboration as defined in the Standards of Conduct for Students, WAC 504-26-010(3). You need to read and understand all of the definitions of cheating: http://app.leg.wa.gov/WAC/default.aspx?cite=504-26-010. If you have any questions about what is and is not allowed in this course, you should ask course instructors before proceeding.
    If you wish to appeal a faculty member's decision relating to academic integrity, please use the form available at conduct.wsu.edu.”

Safety and Emergency Notification (Updated August, 2016)

  • “Classroom and campus safety are of paramount importance at Washington State University, and are the shared responsibility of the entire campus population. WSU urges students to follow the “Alert, Assess, Act,” protocol for all types of emergencies and the “Run, Hide, Fight” response for an active shooter incident. Remain ALERT (through direct observation or emergency notification), ASSESS your specific situation, and ACT in the most appropriate way to assure your own safety (and the safety of others if you are able).
    Please sign up for emergency alerts on your account at MyWSU. For more information on this subject, campus safety, and related topics, please view the FBI’s Run, Hide, Fight video and visit the WSU safety portal.”

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Grading Policy

  • Assigning Incompletes: University policy (Academic Regulation #90) states that Incompletes may only be awarded if: "the student is unable to complete their work on time due to circumstances beyond their control".

Instructor-Specific Expectations

  • Do you have policies about cell phones and text messaging in class, late papers, or late arrivals to class?
  • What are your expectations regarding procedures relating to safety?
  • Do you remind freshmen and sophomores to keep papers for Writing Portfolio submissions?

Instructional Methods

  • Will you be using group work or peer review?
  • Do you expect students to collaborate or work independently?
  • Will your course be a combination of lecture and interactive discussion?
  • Do you have hands-on projects and opportunities for critical inquiry?
  • Spell out expectations of groups vs. individual work, evaluation of group work, permissible re-writes or revisions, allowable collaboration, and so on.

Blackboard Learn/Course Website

  • It is recommend that you use the university’s Learning Management System for providing course materials and communicating with your students, and not your personal webpage. See: learn.wsu.edu/webapps/login

Final Exams

Important Dates and Deadlines

Severe Weather

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Resources and Other Policies

Absence Policies

The Office of the Registrar posts academic regulations regarding absences (see #73) and faculty should be familiar with those.

Academic Integrity at WSU

Academicintegrity.wsu.edu offers resources and references for faculty.

Academic Regulations

The Office of the Registrar lists Academic Regulations.

Campus Safety and Emergency Policies

All faculty and staff members and students are responsible for knowing what to do in case of an emergency on campus. The WSU Campus Safety offers detailed information as does the
Office of Emergency Management including links to further resources.

Faculty are further responsible for:

  • discussing with students in each class and laboratory the emergency policies specific to that location.
  • including links to web sites in every course syllabus.
  • posting such information on course web sites.

Closed Week (Also Known as Dead Week)

According to Academic Regulation (#79) per the Office of the Registrar, “No examinations or quizzes (other than laboratory examinations, make-up examinations and make-up quizzes) may be given during the last week of instruction.” Note that special arrangements may be made for paper-proctored exams at a distance.

Academic Regulation #27: Credit Definition

Academic credit is a measure of the total minimum time commitment required of a typical student in a specific course. See www.catalog.wsu.edu/General/AcademicRegulations/ListBy/27

Education Policies and Procedures Manual (EPPM)

The faculty senate approves Education Policies and Procedures.

Faculty Manual

Policies related specifically to expectations of faculty members in regard to courses and interactions with students are in the Faculty Manual.


Students have rights regarding protection of their academic records in accordance with the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act.

Grade Appeals

According to the Education Policies and Procedures Manual (EPPM), “Students having complaints about instruction or grading should refer them first to the instructor. If the complaint is not resolved, then the student may refer the complaint in writing to the chairperson of the department in which the course is offered by the end of the last day of the following semester.”

Reasonable Accommodation

Reasonable accommodations are available for students with a documented disability. For more information contact a Disability Specialist on your home campus.

Pullman or WSU Online
: 509-335-3417 accesscenter.wsu.edu, Access.Center@wsu.edu

: https://spokane.wsu.edu/studentaffairs/disability-resources/

: www.tricity.wsu.edu/disability/

: 360-546-9138 studentaffairs.vancouver.wsu.edu/student-resource-center/disability-services

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Vice Provost for Undergraduate Education, PO Box 641046, Washington State University, Pullman WA 99164-1046
509-335-8044, Contact Us