Syllabus Guidelines

A syllabus should be made available electronically or in hard copy to students by the first day of classes. For guidelines on how to design a thorough and informative syllabus, see the resources on designing your syllabus provided by the Stearns Center. 

The university policy on Cross-level Listing of Undergraduate/Graduate Courses contains explicit guidelines for offering cross-level listed courses.

All syllabi for courses offered in the College of Humanities and Social Sciences should include the following items. All new courses proposed in the College must also includes these basic elements.


Course Description

A basic description of the class which uses the catalog description as a guideline and adds any specific elements unique to this section the instructor is offering.

Learning Goals, Objectives, or Outcomes

  • These are most often stated in terms of what will students know or be able to do at the end of the course: "At the end of this course, students will be able to  ... "

Grading Requirements

  • A list of the things that students will have to do to get a grade in the course (e.g. paper, presentation, quiz, exam, class participation ... )
  • For more major assignments, at least a brief description of what is expected (e.g. "a 10-page paper in which ... ")
  • A description of how the grade for the course will be distributed over the assignments (e.g. "paper is 50% of grade" or "short review is 30 points out of 150 points" )
  • A description of how the overall percents or points for the course translate into a grade for the course (e.g. "90 - 100% = A")

Schedule of Topics and Assignments

  • Description of how the course will evolve through semester. Most often this is presented as a class by class or week by week schedule that gives the students a clear idea of the expectations for the work for the course and how the topics of the course will advance through the semester
  • Important deadlines so that students have a clear idea of when major assignments will be due

Required and Recommended Readings

  • References listed should model the same citation style that is required for the course.
  • How students may access readings (readings are linked in Blackboard, readings are library resources, books need to be purchased, etc)

Disability Statement/Accommodations

Disability Services at George Mason University is committed to providing equitable access to learning opportunities for all students by upholding the laws that ensure equal treatment of people with disabilities. If you are seeking accommodations for this class, please first visit for detailed information about the Disability Services registration process. Then please discuss your approved accommodations with me. Disability Services is located in Student Union Building I (SUB I), Suite 2500. | Phone: (703) 993-2474

Honor Code Statement to Include at least this Information

  • Mason is an Honor Code university; please see the Office for Academic Integrity for a full description of the code and the honor committee process. When in doubt (of any kind) please ask for guidance and clarification.
  • George Mason University has an Honor Code, which requires all members of this community to maintain the highest standards of academic honesty and integrity. Cheating, plagiarism, lying, and stealing are all prohibited.
  • All violations of the Honor Code will be reported to the Honor Committee.
  • Any student use of Generative AI tools should follow the fundamental principles of the Honor Code

Enrollment Statement to Include at least this Information

Students are responsible for verifying their enrollment in this class.
Schedule adjustments should be made by the deadlines published in the Schedule of Classes. (Deadlines each semester are published in the Schedule of Classes available from the Registrar's Website
Last Day to Add ________
Last Day to Drop ________
After the last day to drop a class, withdrawing from this class requires the approval of the dean and is only allowed for nonacademic reasons.
Undergraduate students may choose to exercise a selective withdrawal. See the Schedule of Classes for selective withdrawal procedures.


Attendance and Participation Policy

If participation is to be included as part of the grade in the course, CHSS faculty are asked to specifically define 1) what constitutes participation and 2) how it is measured. You should not grade solely based on attendance at Mason; attendance can, however, be factored into the grade for participation.