Faculty Guide to Teaching

Course Outlines and Syllabi

Key Components, Required Language

How do I edit and publish my course outline?

Key components of an effective syllabus

The syllabus you share with your students on the first day of class should include: 

  • Course description
  • Course goals
  • Readings and materials
  • Type of evaluation and weighting
  • Exam format
  • Expectations
  • Study strategies, strategies for succeeding in the course
  • Any unique learning activities, and what students can expect (such as field trips, labs, community engaged learning or simulations)

*At the program level, SFU requires educational goals, which are defined by individual academic units. Please ask your academic unit about its specific educational goals (Educational goal is the SFU specific term for a learning outcome).

Click here for strategies on how to write a welcoming syllabus that is accessible to students.

What standard language/content should I add to my syllabus?

Please check department-specific expectations for course outlines. Your unit will likely be able to provide you with a sample outline. The following sections are recommended:

  • Recommended text for Academic Integrity, Plagiarism, Copyright, Use of Turn-It In, Online Proctoring Collaboration

“Academic honesty is essential for maintaining a high standard of academic excellence and integrity. There are many different forms of academic dishonesty. These include plagiarism such as inadequately citing the source of short phrases or ideas of an author in written work submitted for a grade and submitting or presenting another’s work as one’s own, among others. Students should read SFU’s policy S10.01 on Code of Academic Integrity and Good Conduct at: which outlines all prohibited acts of academic dishonesty.”

  • Accessibility and Accommodation

“Students with hidden or visible disabilities who may need classroom or exam accommodations are encouraged to register with the SFU Centre for Accessible Learning (CAL- 1250 Maggie Benston Centre) as soon as possible to ensure that they are eligible and that approved accommodations and services are implemented in a timely fashion.”

  • Sexual Violence Support and Prevention

Establish expectations for respectful conduct and provide information about support resources. Consider using content notes when teaching content related to sexual violence, such as:

“In this course, we will discuss issues related to sexual violence, intimate partner violence, and racism. I recognize that this content may bring up difficult feelings for people who have been impacted by these issues. If you are concerned about this content, you are invited to seek support from one of the campus services listed below. We can also discuss how to achieve the same learning goal from a different pathway.”

Visit for ideas on what to include in your syllabus and other information for instructors on how to handle issues related to sexual violence.

  • Religious Accommodation

Learn about your responsibility to accommodate students for religious reasons. Encourage students to let you know their needs for religious accommodation early in the semester if possible.

If a significant religious holiday in the student’s culture falls on the date of the exam, the student is entitled to be absent, without penalty, and perform the work at another time. Accommodation can involve any of the following:

  • Writing a make-up exam on another day
  • Assigning the value of the exam to a later exam
  • Requiring the student to submit another type of assignment

Multifaith calendar:

  • Course Codes and Terminology

For a detailed list, please see: Terminology – Schedules

D = Day
E = Evening
C = Distance Education
OL = Faculty Led Online
B = Blended
F = French
U, W, X, Y, Z = Education Professional