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Senate Rules 6.1.1: The Course Syllabus

(Click here to visit Summary of Course Syllabi Changes, Effective Fall 2021)


Below are descriptions of official policies established in the University Senate Rules, available HERE in their entirety.


Effective Fall 2021:

Section 6.1.1: THE COURSE SYLLABUS

Section 6.1.1 ("The Course Syllabus"): All students must be informed in writing of the course content and other matters listed in this rule at no cost to the student. Students have the right to be informed in writing (in the course syllabus) about the nature of the course, including the content, the activities to be evaluated, and the grading practice to be followed. The course syllabus shall provide information to studnets regarding any factors used in determining grades (e.g. absences, required interactions, and late assignments). Syllabi may be posted electronically but must be shared with students by the third day of the fall and spring semesters, or, for compressed courses and courses in the summer session and winter intersession, by the first day of the course. Electronically posted syllabi must remain available to students for the entire term.

Course syllabi must address a series of required components (listed below) and include Academic Policy Statements (see SR 9.1.7). Syllabi for undergraduate and graduate courses must also include rules regarding academic offenses for undergraduate and graduate students. (There may be additional rules for professional courses and programs.)

The following sections of the Senate Rules describe required components of a syllabus: SR 3.2.1.5 (expectations of graduate students and differentiation from undergraduate students); SR 5.2.5.1 (policy on return of assignments); SR 5.2.5.2.1 (acceptable documentation for excused absences); SR 5.2.5.2.2 (making up graded work for excused absences); SR 5.2.5.6 (Prep Week policies); and SR 6.1.3.1 (midterm grades for undergraduate students).

Section 6.1.1.1: Required syllabi components

Required syllabi components

  1. Full and accurate title of course, corresponding to the title in the official Bulletin of the University.
  2. Course prefix, course number, and course section number.
  3. Instructor name, office location, office phone number including area code, and campus email address.
  4. Office hours (days, times, location) or how to make appointment. For distance-learning courses, provide virtual office hours, preferred method of communications, and maximum timeframe for responding to student communications.
  5. Course description corresponding generally to the description in the official Bulletin of the University.
  6. Required materials for the course, e.g. textbooks, required readings/films, etc.
  7. Associated expenses other than “required materials,” such as the cost of a field trip, proctoring fees, or polling software devices, if applicable.
  8. Skill/Technology requirements, if applicable. If specific technical/digital literacy skills or software are required, the syllabus must describe these.
  9. Student learning outcomes.
  10. Descriptive list of activities, exams, and grading scheme. The syllabus must include language that describes to students how their grades will be calculated.
  11. As applicable, include the following: a list of activities with enough description for students to understand the course requirements; the factors used in determining grades (e.g., absences, required interactions, or late assignments); and due dates (if applicable, include a caveat that due dates can be changed and explain under what circumstances they can be changed).
  12. Mechanics of submissions, if applicable. The syllabus must explain if assignments must be submitted via a certain method (e.g., via email or a specific software program or file type).
  13. Policy on return of assignments, if applicable. See SR 5.2.4.1.
  14. Grading scale (undergraduate, graduate, etc.). See SR 3.1.4.
  15. For 400G- and 500-level courses, expectations of graduate students and differentiation from undergraduate students. See SR 3.1.4.
  16. Midterm grades, if undergraduate students are enrolled in the course. See SR 6.1.3.1 and the University Calendar.
  17. Submission of late assignments and late policies. The syllabus should explain if late assignments are accepted for unexcused absences and if there are penalties or time limits regarding work submitted after the due date. (Per SR 5.2.4.2.2, within some guidelines, late assignments must always be accepted for excused absences.) See SR 5.2.4.2.2.
  18. Permissible assignments that are due during Prep Week. See SR 5.2.4.6.
  19. Tentative course schedule. At a minimum include due dates of major assignments and exams. More detailed information must also be provided, either within the syllabus or located on another platform, such as a Learning Management System (e.g., Canvas).
  20. Course activities outside of regularly scheduled class-required interactions, if applicable. These include special events, field trips, and required synchronous meetings for distance learning courses.
  21. URL/hyperlink to, or copy and paste of, Academic Policy Statements. See SR 6.1.1.2.
  22. Attendance policy for course, if applicable. (Per SR 5.2.4.2.3.2, unless an attendance policy is described in the syllabus, students cannot be penalized for lack of attendance.) See SR 5.2.4.2.3, SR 5.2.4.2.3.1, and SR 5.2.4.2.3.2.
  23. Acceptable documentation for excused absences (e.g., a letter from an institution or medical provider, or published information). See SR 5.2.4.2.1.
  24. Policy for absences due to major religious holidays, if applicable. See SR 5.2.4.2.1.
  25. Resources. If applicable, the syllabus should describe special resources that may be useful to students, such as UK’s distance learning library services, the Hub, proctoring information, etc.
  26. Policy on diversity, equity, and inclusion. Instructors must include a URL to or text of a statement on diversity, equity, and inclusion approved by a relevant faculty body. The Senate Council-approved syllabus statement on diversity, equity, and inclusion or any other equivalent faculty body-approved statement will meet this requirement (https://www.uky.edu/universitysenate/syllabus-dei).

  27. Section 6.1.1.2: Academic policy statements

    Section 6.1.1.2 ("Academic Policy statements"): Academic Policy Statements are applicable to all courses, such as policies on excused absences, religious observances, accommodations due to disability, and non-discrimination and Title IX requirements. Instructors may either insert the full narrative of the Academic Policy Statements into a syllabus or include the URL/hyperlink to the Academic Policy Statements web page (https://www.uky.edu/universitysenate/acadpolicy).

    [See SR 6.1.1 on documenting this information in a course syllabus.]


    Section 6.1.1.3: Rules regarding academic offenses

    Section 6.1.1.3 ("Rules regarding academic offenses"): Instructors for courses with undergraduate and graduate students must either insert the full language of the Senate Rules on academic offenses (SR 6.3.1, “Plagiarism,” and 6.3.2, “Cheating,” and 6.3.3, “Falsification or Misuse of Academic Records”) in a syllabus or include the URL/hyperlink to the web page with this language. (https://www.uky.edu/universitysenate/ao)

    Instructors for professional courses and programs must describe applicable academic offense policies within their syllabi or include a URL/hyperlink to a web page with that information.


    Section 6.1.1.4: Resources available to students

    Section 6.1.1.4 ("Resources available to students"): Instructors are encouraged to provide students with a list of available resources ( https://www.uky.edu/universitysenate/student-resources).


    Section 6.1.1.5: Optional information for syllabi

    Section 6.1.1.5 ("Optional information for syllabi"): As non-required information that instructors may opt to include in a course, the following items may also be included: if required by an accrediting agency, course goals or objectives (in addition to student learning outcomes, or SLOs); classroom behavior policies; course material copyright statement; or classroom recording policy. The Senate's page on Optional Components of a Course Syllabus has some sample language (https://www.uky.edu/universitysenate/optional-components-syllabi).