The Importance of your Syllabus

On the first day of class, your instructor will give you a syllabus, either in paper or electronic format. This document is *IMPORTANT*

Your syllabus is your contract with the instructor. It has all the important information you need to know for that class. Do not look at it once and throw away.

Contact Information

  • It will provide your instructor’s contact information and office hours
  • If you have a question outside of class and are unable to speak with your instructor before or after lecture, this is how you go about doing it 


The Course Description and Format

  • What you can expect to learn from the course and how you will learn it
  • Through lecture, discussions, readings and assignments 


The Required Readings

  • What textbook(s) you will need to purchase
  • A list of all the chapters or articles your instructor expects you to read
  • Possibly where to find these readings
  • The dates you will need to have these readings completed by 


Assignment Descriptions

  • These are the various assignments you will complete for marks
  • When you will complete them (Due Dates)
  • And how much each assignment is worth
  • These assignments might be research papers, literature reviews, tests, midterms
  • Due dates are important when it comes to managing your time and they have a tendency to sneak up faster than you think
  • Consult often. You do not want to forget an assignment!
  • You will write a better paper and do better on a test if you give yourself a week to prepare rather than a day 


Day-by-Day Breakdown

  • Not all syllabi will contain this, but some will
  • This is the complete structure of your course. It will list every class, identify what topic(s) will be covered and what readings you need have read
  • This is a wealth of information!
  • Our brains naturally work by association (connecting smaller bits into larger bits)
  • By having a list of what you are learning in class, you can begin to connect each lecture together
  • And when it comes to tests and midterms, you have a rough study guide of the material you need to know