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The syllabus is an essential contract between instructors and students. As such, the University of Massachusetts Amherst is committed to ensuring the clarity and quality of syllabi and has established both recommended and required elements to be included in the crafting of a syllabus.

The following elements are required as outlined in Sen. Doc. No. 24-066:

  • Course number and title
  • Number of credits and number of instructional contact hours per week for in-person and live online classes
  • Instructor’s and Teaching Assistants’ (if any) Name and Contact Information
  • Appointment Hours
  • Course Description
  • Student Learning Objectives
  • Delivery Mode (in-person, online, flex, etc.)
  • Course materials
  • Individual course requirements and grade weights (e.g., participation, homework, projects, assessments, assignment)
  • Grading scale
    • Grade scale used must reflect the course number. Please see 24-066 for more information and examples
  • Course Schedule
  • Attendance policy
  • Late or make-up work policies
  • Required Policy Statements (See below)

Sources: Sen. Doc. No.s 85-021 ; 23-05024-066

Required Statements

The following statements are required to be included verbatim in all UMass Amherst syllabi:

Sample Syllabus

This is a sample syllabus with all of required elements as per Sen. Doc. No. 24-066. It can be used as a fillable template, or serve as an example. 

Syllabus Guidelines

The following are offered for you to consider when developing your syllabus.

Use of inclusive syllabus language

  • The Center for Teaching and Learning provides advice on creating an inclusive syllabus: https://www.umass.edu/ctl/resources/how-do-i/how-do-i-write-inclusive-syllabus

Pronoun statement

  • A pronoun policy on a syllabus indicates support for students and acknowledges that gender is not solely based on appearance.
  • Students are able to choose their pronouns on Spire, which will show up on class rosters

Land acknowledgment

  • To honor that UMass is on unceded lands, the land acknowledgment is valuable for students. It also serves as a way to educate our students about the background of the university as well as ways to review and learn from history.
  • These statements may also support an inclusive classroom: Indigenous Ways of Knowing and/or First Peoples Principles of Learning

Classroom civility & respect

  • The Dean of Students Office has information on expected classroom behavior: https://www.umass.edu/dean_students/campus-policies/classroom

Student success resources

  • The Office of Student success has links to many resources that may be valuable for students to have available in a syllabus. This includes links to the library, Learning Resource Center, Writing Center

Generative AI policy

  • In the time of developing generative AI, including but by no means limited to ChatGPT, a clear policy on its use will support academic integrity. 
  • Examples of generative AI policies for individual classes respect that the tools may be valuable, or verboten, in specific types of classes

Communication outside of class

  • Letting students know instructor communication preferences (ex: Email, and when to expect a response) will support students navigate effective outreach when they have questions or emergencies

A statement acknowledging some students will have family responsibilities

A statement providing resources to promote mental health and the management of stress.