Your Syllabus at UT Austin
Your syllabus is both an agreement and an opportunity. As an agreement between you and the students in your class, it helps them know what is expected of them and what they are agreeing to do in order to achieve your learning objectives and demonstrate that learning. You, in turn, are agreeing that students can plan their semester around this set of expectations.
It is also an opportunity to invite your students to participate in your course by understanding its rationale, learning outcomes, assessments, and content. Clearly setting out course expectations in a well-organized and informative syllabus empowers students to take charge of and maximize their learning experience.
Syllabus requirements are taken from the UT Austin General Information Catalog. The requirements specified there are subject to the joint oversight of faculty governance and administration, and they satisfy the syllabus requirements promulgated by the State of Texas and the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board.
- Instructors must provide each student with a course syllabus on or before the first day of classes.
- The General Information Catalog requires a syllabus be uploaded to Canvas if Canvas is being used in the course. Posting a final syllabus to a course’s Canvas site meets the requirement of sharing the syllabus with students as long as the site has been published and made available to students by the first day of class.
- Because students make plans and commitments based around information in the syllabus provided, no changes to a syllabus are permitted after the first day of class, except in response to uncontrollable circumstances. Any changes must be in the best interest of students.
- Instructors must also provide a copy of their course syllabus to their departmental office or dean’s office (in non-departmentalized schools and colleges) on or before the first day of classes.
- Administrative units must upload the syllabi of all undergraduate courses via the university’s Syllabi and Instructor CV Upload system no later than seven days after the first day of classes so that they are publicly available at the university’s Access Syllabi and CVs website.
- This requirement applies to undergraduate courses offered to five or more students. It excludes independent study courses where the content is “tailored specifically for individual students” and it also excludes “laboratory, practicum, or discussion sections that are intrinsic and required parts of larger lecture courses and are directly supervised by the same instructor(s) of record for those large courses.”
- As noted under “Required Syllabus Content” below, the publicly-available version must omit information about the teaching assistant(s) and may also omit the instructor’s office location.
As specified in the General Information Catalog to the extent practicable, the syllabus provided to students on or before the first day of class must include the required content listed below. Consider integrating optional language into the required text so that students understand class expectations and policies. See the accordions below and syllabus template for examples.
Course number and title
- Note: Office location and office hours are optional for public version.
- OPTIONAL: Asking for Help
Share with students how best to access or ask questions of the instructor (and teaching assistants) outside of class time, and/or how office hours will be conducted.
- OPTIONAL: Carrying of Handguns in my Personal Office
“Per my right, I prohibit carrying of handguns in my personal office. Note that this information will also be conveyed to all students verbally during the first week of class. This written notice is intended to reinforce the verbal notification and is not a “legally effective” means of notification in its own right.” Review the university policy regarding campus carry for more information.
- Note: Do not include any information about the teaching assistant(s) in the public version.
- Include prerequisites, subject matter of each lecture or discussion, and learning outcomes for the course and how they will be assessed.
- OPTIONAL: Teaching Modality Information
State the course modality and clearly explain how class meetings will be conducted. Modalities could include fully online (asynchronous or a combination of synchronous/asynchronous learning), in-person (requires in-person attendance), or hybrid (online plus optional in-person class time). The course modality must match the modality published in the Course Schedule.
If there will be no alternative to in-person attendance, other than normal emergency accommodations, note this clearly (some in-person course instructors choose to post course recordings, and students get confused and think everyone is required to do so). If the course has multiple formats—e.g. lecture, lab and discussion, group learning projects and/or presentations—these should be explained.
- OPTIONAL: Classroom Behavior Expectations
State the guidelines and ground rules for appropriate behavior. You can reference a class-specific code of conduct (some instructors ask students to write this during the first week of class) or, more formally and officially, Section 11-400 of the Institutional Rules in the General Information Catalog.
- OPTIONAL: Professional Standards
List and describe any professional standards that apply in your school or to the subject being studied in your course.
- OPTIONAL: Flag Courses
Instructors teaching courses that carry one or more of the Skills and Experience Flags are requested to include a statement about the Flag(s) in their syllabus. Suggested wording for these statements may be found in this link.
- Include the means of evaluation and assignment of class grades, such as whether plus or minus grades will be used for the final class grade and whether (and, if so, how) attendance will be used in determining the course grade.
- OPTIONAL: Making up Missed Work
Describe policies and procedures around makeup assignments.
- OPTIONAL: Class Attendance
State your expectations for attendance with the rationale. Explain the consequences for not attending if there are any.
- OPTIONAL: Religious Holy Days
Whether or not it is included in the syllabus, the statement below is university policy as presented in the General Information Catalog. Some faculty members find it helpful to be more explicit about the temporal elements of the policy by specifying a minimum period for advance notice and for completion of the assignment. Whether or not notification is provided in the syllabus, the accommodation must be made, and it must be “reasonable.”
“By UT Austin policy, you must notify me of your pending absence for a religious holy day as far in advance as possible of the date of observance. If you must miss a class, an examination, a work assignment, or a project in order to observe a religious holy day, you will be given an opportunity to complete the missed work within a reasonable time after the absence.”
- OPTIONAL: Class Participation
Describe what you mean by this and how students can succeed. If participation is included in the course grade, you should also list it in the assignments under “Grading for this Course.”
- OPTIONAL: Academic Integrity Expectations
Which could include:
Academic integrity is foundational to scholarly work. “Students who violate University rules on academic misconduct are subject to the student conduct process. A student found responsible for academic misconduct may be assigned both a status sanction and a grade impact for the course. The grade impact could range from a zero on the assignment in question up to a failing grade in the course. A status sanction can include a written warning, probation, deferred suspension, or dismissal from the University. To learn more about academic integrity standards, tips for avoiding a potential academic misconduct violation, and the overall conduct process, please visit the Student Conduct and Academic Integrity website.”
It is strongly recommended that you outline any individual expectations for assignments completion, including parameters around group work, authorized resources, citation requirements, use of AI tools, etc. in the assignment directions. Clear and detailed expectations not only reduce the likelihood of a possible violation, but they also aid the Student Conduct team in holding students accountable that fail to adhere to the assignment directions.
- OPTIONAL: Artificial Intelligence
The Office of Student Conduct and Academic Integrity recommends including a statement about the use of artificial intelligence tools in class and outlines three levels of permissibility to choose from, please tailor the statement below to meet your needs:
“The creation of artificial intelligence tools for widespread use is an exciting innovation. These tools have both appropriate and inappropriate uses in classwork. The use of artificial intelligence tools (such as ChatGPT) in this class:
- …is strictly prohibited. This includes using AI to generate ideas, outline an approach, answer questions, solve problems, or create original language. All work in this course must be your own or created in group work, where allowed.
- …shall be permitted on a limited basis. You will be informed as to the assignments for which AI may be utilized. You are also welcome to seek my prior-approval to use AI writing tools on any assignment. In either instance, AI writing tools should be used with caution and proper citation, as the use of AI should be properly attributed. Using AI writing tools without my permission or authorization, or failing to properly cite AI even where permitted, shall constitute a violation of UT Austin’s Institutional Rules on academic integrity.
- …is permitted for students who wish to use them, provided the content generated by AI is properly cited.
If you are considering the use of AI writing tools but are unsure if you are allowed or the extent to which they may be utilized appropriately, please ask.”
For more information about AI in education, see the Center for Teaching and Learning’s “5 Things to Know about ChatGPT” webpage that includes additional suggested syllabi statements for your consideration.
- Include a brief descriptive overview of all major course requirements and assignments, along with the dates of exams and assignments that count for 20 percent or more of the class grade.
- OPTIONAL: Content Warning
“Our classroom provides an open space for the critical and orderly exchange of ideas through discussion. Some readings and other content in this course will include topics and comments that some students may find offensive and/or traumatizing. I’ll aim to forewarn students about potentially disturbing content, and I ask all students to help to create an atmosphere of mutual respect and sensitivity.”
[Best practice discussions around content warnings also suggest including tags or other warnings on the Course Outline next to the assigned material. One possible statement is listed below:
“In this class, I will provide content warnings when we will be reading, discussing, imagining, or problem solving in relation to physical or emotional hurt or harm.
In any course where theoretical frameworks are applied to real world case studies, there is an opportunity to reactivate or cause secondary trauma. With that being said, I’ve provided content warnings next to readings on the calendar for topics having to do with hate, harm, or violence.”
Further discussion of content warning can be found at this page.]
- Include a list of required and recommended course materials, such as textbooks, image collections, audio and audiovisual materials, supplies, articles, chapters, and excerpts as appropriate, identified by author, title, and publisher.
- OPTIONAL: Sharing of Course Materials is Prohibited
Anyone concerned about the unauthorized sharing of their course materials through online sites should consider adding the statement listed below to their syllabus. Including this statement regarding the posting and/or use of your course content by students establishes a proactive directive to students that is helpful to the Office of Student Conduct and Academic Integrity in administering the conduct process should the material be posted in opposition to your written directive.
“No materials used in this class, including, but not limited to, lecture hand-outs, videos, assessments (quizzes, exams, papers, projects, homework assignments), in-class materials, review sheets, and additional problem sets, may be shared online or with anyone outside of the class without my explicit, written permission. Unauthorized sharing of materials may facilitate cheating. The University is aware of the sites used for sharing materials, and any materials found online that are associated with you, or any suspected unauthorized sharing of materials, will be reported to Student Conduct and Academic Integrity in the Office of the Dean of Students. These reports can result in initiation of the student conduct process and include charge(s) for academic misconduct, potentially resulting in sanctions, including a grade impact.”
- OPTIONAL: Longhorn Textbook Access
If you are using digital course materials through the Longhorn Textbook Access (LTA) program, please consider including the following in your course syllabus:
“The materials for this class are available through the Longhorn Textbook Access (LTA) program, a collaboration between UT Austin, The University Co-op and textbook publishers to significantly reduce the cost of digital course materials for students. You can access your required materials through the “My Textbooks” tab in Canvas. You are automatically opted into the program but can easily opt-out (and back in) via Canvas through the 12th class day. If you remain opted-in at the end of the add/drop period (12th class day fall/spring, 4th class day summer sessions), you will receive a bill through your “What I Owe” page. If you do not pay your bill by the specified deadline, you will lose access to the course materials and your charge will be removed. More information about the LTA program is available at Longhorn Textbook Access website.
- OPTIONAL: Required Devices
Describe any devices, especially computers or other electronic devices, that are needed to succeed in the course.
- OPTIONAL: Confidentiality of Class Recordings
If class recordings that include student personally identifiable information are made, UT Legal has indicated that the following disclosure should be included in the syllabus and wherever recordings are posted on Canvas:
“Class recordings are reserved only for students in this class for educational purposes and are protected under FERPA. The recordings should not be shared outside the class in any form. Violation of this restriction by a student could lead to Student Misconduct proceedings.”
- OPTIONAL: Getting Help with Technology
To learn more about available technologies for students or if you require technical assistance, please visit the IT @ UT website.
This support will vary by department, unit, and course modality, making it confusing for students. A statement such as the following, tailored to your context, would help students who encounter difficulties:
“Students needing help with technology in this course should contact the ITS Service Desk or <your local support unit(s)>.”
Class Canvas site or website (if any)
- Please provide a notice that students with disabilities may request appropriate academic accommodations from Disability and Access (D&A). (Suggested wording available here.)
- Note that instructors must not use the syllabus to limit in any way a student’s right to receive or deliver an accommodation letter or to request accommodation. Questions or concerns about accommodating students in courses may be discussed with the student’s assigned Access Coordinator, listed on the Accommodation Letter or with the Assistant Vice President of Disability and Access.
- In addition to the above requirements specified in the General Information Catalog, please provide a link in your syllabus to the University Policies and Resources for Students Canvas page, which provides a list of resources that are important for students as they engage with and navigate your course and the university.
Editable Syllabus Template – The syllabus template linked here includes all of the content included on this page. You may use it at your discretion and adapt it for your course as you wish. Except for the “Required Syllabus Content” discussed on this page, all content and most wording are your choice. The more the syllabus is tailored to your course and its content, as well as to your personal style and guidance for students, the more effective it will be. Download the template
Best Practices – For more information about best practices in syllabus drafting as well as tips for how to get students to read your syllabus, see the Center for Teaching and Learning's “An Effective Syllabus” webpage, which includes a sample syllabus .
Faculty are required to make available to the public on its website certain undergraduate course information.Learn More
If you have any feedback or questions about the information on this page, please use the form below.Submit here