Office of the Academic Ombud -- A neutral, independent and confidential resource for UK students and faculty

109 Bradley Hall • ombud@uky.edu • 859-257-3737 • University Senate Rules

Professor talking with student in a laboratory

The Course Syllabus

In any given course the syllabus is, typically, the first indicator of a specific instructor's expectations of students and offers students a rather detailed description of both course content and assignments. The course syllabus functions as an academic "contract" between the instructor (and by extension, department, college and university) and student. Thus, it should be clear, explicit, and complete; it should not contain imprecise, vague, or ambiguous language; and it should not be changed for the duration of the semester.

The course syllabus must be provided free of charge (S.R. 6.1.1), and each student must receive the syllabus during the first or second class meeting. Syllabi can be distributed electronically (e.g., via email, Canvas, etc.) provided the electronically distributed syllabus contains all the necessary information, is posted electronically before the first or second class meeting, and remains posted throughout the semester.  

Regardless of its form (paper or electronic), the course syllabus must contain sufficient information so that students have a clear understanding of the course, its content, assignments, grading criteria, and the like. It must also specify course policies and procedures, especially those that in any way affect student grades. At a minimum, the course syllabus must outline the following items:

  1. Course and Instructor Demographics
  2. Course Descriptions
  3. Dead Week
  4. Course Policies
  5. University Senate Syllabi Guidelines

Students outside Memorial Hall