Syllabus Creation

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Syllabus as a Learning Tool

The syllabus is your opportunity to plan and create the course that you envision for your students. It is also a contract between you and your students, and as such, requires careful planning and preparation.

Creating a Learning-centered syllabus, means that you'll also be designing it to help your students use the document in ways that support their learning process.

A learning-centered syllabus should:

  • Define students’ responsibilities

  • Define instructor’s role and responsibilities

  • Provide a clear statement for intended learning outcomes

  • Establish standards and procedures for evaluation

  • Inform students of course logistics

  • Establish a pattern of communication

  • Offer some flexibility for revision

  • Be reasonable in workload expectations

  • Be distributed and discussed on the first day of class
    Retrieved from Building Your Syllabus- Supporting a Learner-Centered Classroom by Dr. Patti Bartlett, Montgomery College, Rockville, MD.

 Read more about creating syllabi that support student learning at:

Required Elements

Required elements for Penn State Syllabi (as of summer 2006) are:
  1. List of course content and expectations
  2. Grading Policy
  3. Examination Policy (including evening non-final exams)
  4. Statement of Academic Integrity

The Penn State Syllabus Policy ( requires a written syllabus within the first 10 calendars days of the beginning of class. To read detailed descriptions about each required section and to see samples for each, visit the link.

Suggested elements are also important and can be viewed at this link.

** Check with your department to make sure there are no additional requirements or suggestions for syllabi locally.

Using a PSU Syllabus Template   is PSU's World Campus site for creating a syllabus. This is an EXCELLENT resource for creating a syllabus for your course at PSU. While a few components such as Rules for Netiquette are strictly for online courses, most of the material is transferable to face to face classes. Links are provided to sample wording for required sections.

Sample Syllabi


Additional Penn State Syllabus Resources

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Page last updated 06/18/2009
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Suzanne C. Shaffer, M.Ed., MS.Ed.
Instructional Design eLearning Support
Penn State York Campus
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