Syllabus Requirements and Recommendations

Revised 11/8/21

Note: Per Faculty Senate Policy 43-00, the syllabus must be distributed to students on or before the first class meeting. The syllabus may be distributed on paper or electronically. Changes may be made to the syllabus, and must also be given to the students on paper or electronically. Review guidance from the Schreyer Institute for Teaching Effectiveness at Schreyer Institute – Search Tools and Resources for syllabus and their excellent checklist. See the Faculty Senate's Syllabus Requirements page for example language you can use on your syllabus. 

Required by Senate

  • Academic Adjustments
  • Academic Integrity
  • Contact
  • Description
  • Counseling
  • Equity Concerns

Required by Senate (continued)

  • Exams
  • Expectations
  • Grades
  • Location
  • Materials

Recommended by Senate/IST

  • Communication
  • Copyright
  • Emergencies
  • Generative AI
  • Webcams
  • Syllabus Edits

The College of IST’s Office of Learning Design maintains syllabi templates for in-person and World Campus courses (send an email request) and can act as a starting point for building your syllabus.

Recommended by College of IST Associate Dean for Undergraduate and Graduate Education

Recommended Statement:

Please note that the specifics of this Course Syllabus are subject to change. Instructors will notify students of any changes and students will be responsible for abiding by them. Even if you print this syllabus, please check the online version often.

Required by Faculty Senate Policy 43-00

Recommended format: “Course number: Course Title (number of credits) – text from the PSU Bulletin”

Example bulletin listing for IST 110

IST 110: Information, People and Technology (3 credits) – Information, People and Technology presents the high points of an education in the College of Information Sciences and Technology. It opens an intellectual journey through the ideas and challenges… (source)

Required by Faculty Senate Policy 43-00

For resident courses, provide building, room, days and times.

For courses delivered electronically, provide the location for the class materials and content. If there are synchronous sessions, provide the details about the service being used, URLs, phone numbers, meeting IDs and password/passcodes.

Required by Faculty Senate Policy 43-00


  • TBD

Office hours

  • (one hour per hour of instructional time)
  • Schedule and location of office hours


  • Teaching, Instructional and Learning Assistants’ contact information
  • and office hours schedule

Required by Faculty Senate Policy 43-00

Use APA standards, plus ISBN as shown. For example:

  • Hall, D., & McMullen, S. (2004). Mathematical techniques in multi-sensor data fusion (2nd ed.). Boston: Artech House. ISBN 978-1580533355.

All textbooks, lab fees, materials, online fees, and other materials required for students must be listed. These items are published in LionPath and communicated to students in advance of the course. All materials should be available via the campus bookstore.  Materials may be listed as “Required” or “Recommended”.

Expectations of personally-owned computer capabilities, operating systems, administrative rights, internet speeds, and software to be installed must be disclosed.

The College of IST staff sends a request early in the semester BEFORE the course so that materials can be listed at the Bookstores in a timely manner. Contact Alison Laniger ( if you have questions.

Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) Policy

Computers are REQUIRED for in-class activities, but this course is NOT held in a computer lab. Students are required to BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) for in-class activities. Penn State is committed to supporting any student who needs a device for use during the semester. Please utilize these resources if you have a need at any time:

  • Penn State’s IT Help Portal – During the pandemic, Penn State will provide PC laptops and WIFI hotspots to students who need them. If students are studying remotely, this service offers delivery within the United States. (Web Access login required to fill out the Penn State Mobile Technology Request form)
  • Penn State Library – Wagner Building Annex – Students studying at University Park campus can sign out a Mac laptop, PC laptop, iPad with attached keyboard, etc., for all or part of any semester. (Web Access login required to make reservations through the Patron Portal)

Required by Faculty Senate Policies 43-00 and 47-20

Recommendation from the College of IST Associate Dean of Undergraduate and Graduate Studies

Provide a breakdown of the graded elements of the course and the percentage weight for each category.  (E.g. Exams 60%, Homework 10%, Quizzes 10%, Labs 20%). Provide sufficient detail on the grading scheme – points, percentages, weights, etc.

Final letter grades are issued with the 47-40 Grading System A, A-, B+, B, B- C+, C, D or F

In addition, the point values required to earn a given letter grade should be provided to the student on the syllabus.  It is completely up to the faculty member to determine where these cut scores are.  Most faculty members use the following percentage grading scheme:

  • A    93%+
  • A-   90% – 92.9%
  • B+  87% – 89.9%
  • B    83% – 86.9%
  • B-   80% – 82.9%
  • C+  77% – 79.9%
  • C    70% – 76.9%
  • D    60% – 69.9%
  • F    <60%

However, some faculty use 94% or 95% for the full A or other variations. Regardless of what grading scheme is used, it needs to be communicated to the students. Canvas should be configured with this grading scheme to avoid confusion.

Required by Faculty Senate Policies 43-00 and 44-00


  • Evening exams must be announced at beginning of the semester, with consent of College of IST Associate Dean of Undergraduate and Graduate Studies, Limit of 3 per semester, Scheduled by Registrar (Policy 44-30)
  • Written notification of the examination procedures must be shared in the first ten calendar days of a semester. (Policy 44-10)
  • The Registrar schedules all finals during finals week (Policy 44-20, #4)
  • Quizzes and narrowly limited tests no more than ten percent of the semester grade may be given during the last week of classes (Policy 44-20, #3)
  • Final Projects/Papers over 10% must be due no earlier than first day of finals week (Policy 44-20, #5)
  • Final Exam schedule is submitted by IST Staff during the first week of the semester. Contact Alison Laniger ( with questions.

Recommended by College of IST Associate Dean for Undergraduate and Graduate Education

Recommended Statement:

PSUAlert is available at PSUAlert is Penn State’s emergency notification system for students, faculty and staff. The system will be used to alert members of Penn State’s campus communities of emergencies, campus closings and other urgent information. Using this portal, students, faculty and staff can choose to receive PSUAlert messages by text message, voice message and e‑mail. We recommend that students enroll in this system.

Required by Faculty Senate Policies 43-00 and 49-20 to have such a statement.

Penn State and the College of Information Sciences and Technology are committed to maintaining Penn State’s policy on Academic Integrity (Links to an external site.) in this and all other courses. We take academic integrity matters seriously and expect you to become a partner to the University/College standards of academic excellence.

For more information, please review these policies and procedures:

While utilizing additional sources outside of this class is encouraged for gaining a better understanding of course concepts, seeking explicit answers for graded assignments from outside sources (e.g. Course Hero, Chegg, tutoring services like, etc.) is considered CHEATING and will not be tolerated. Sanctions range from failure of the assignment or course to dismissal from the University. Additionally, sharing course content without permission is a violation of copyright and may result in university sanctions and/or legal ramifications. Contact your instructor with questions related to this topic.

Required by Faculty Senate Policy 43-00 to have such a statement.

Recommended by Faculty Senate to include the example provided.

Copy the “Recommended Syllabus Statement” from Syllabus Requirements or check Model Language for Syllabus Statement for updated language.

Example Disability Accommodation Statement

Penn State welcomes students with disabilities into the University’s educational programs. Every Penn State campus has an office for students with disabilities. Student Disability Resources (SDR) website provides contact information for every Penn State campus ( For further information, please visit Student Disability Resources website (

In order to receive consideration for reasonable accommodations, you must contact the appropriate disability services office at the campus where you are officially enrolled, participate in an intake interview, and provide documentation: See documentation guidelines ( If the documentation supports your request for reasonable accommodations, your campus disability services office will provide you with an accommodation letter. Please share this letter with your instructors and discuss the accommodations with them as early as possible. You must follow this process for every semester that you request accommodations.

Required by Faculty Senate Policy 43-00 to have such a statement.

Recommended by Faculty Senate to include one of the several examples provided.

Note: these example statements were updated in this document on 7/20/2020 with the latest links to these policies and sites.

Choose one of the “Recommended Syllabus Statements” from Syllabus Statement Examples

Example 1

Consistent with University Policy AD29 Statement on Intolerance  (, students who believe they have experienced or observed a hate crime, an act of intolerance, discrimination, or harassment that occurs at Penn State are urged to report these incidents as outlined on the University’s Report Bias webpage (

Students may also contact one of the following offices:

  • University Police Services, University Park: 814-863-1111
  • Multicultural Resource Center, Diversity Advocate for Students: 814-865-1773
  • Office of the Vice Provost for Educational Equity: 814-865-5906
  • Office of the Vice President for Student Affairs: 814-865-0909
  • Affirmative Action Office: 814-863-0471
  • Dial 911 in cases where physical injury has occurred or is imminent

Example 2 - Recommended by the College of IST Associate Dean of Undergraduate and Graduate Studies

Penn State takes great pride to foster a diverse and inclusive environment for students, faculty, and staff. Acts of intolerance, discrimination, or harassment due to age, ancestry, color, disability, gender, gender identity, national origin, race, religious belief, sexual orientation, or veteran status are not tolerated and can be reported through Educational Equity via the Report Bias webpage (

Additional Resources

Required by Faculty Senate Policy 43-00 to have such a statement.

Recommended by Faculty Senate to include the example provided.

Copy the “Recommended Syllabus Statement” from Syllabus Statement Examples

Example CAPS Statement

Many students at Penn State face personal challenges or have psychological needs that may interfere with their academic progress, social development, or emotional wellbeing. The university offers a variety of confidential services to help you through difficult times, including individual and group counseling, crisis intervention, consultations, online chats, and mental health screenings. These services are provided by staff who welcome all students and embrace a philosophy respectful of clients’ cultural and religious backgrounds, and sensitive to differences in race, ability, gender identity and sexual orientation.

Wellness and Health Statement

“As your professor, I value your health and wellbeing. In order to succeed in my class, in college and beyond, you must work hard and balance the work with rest, exercise and attention to your mental and physical health. Yes, I plan to challenge you. There will be rigorous reading, weekly writing assignments, and concepts that will challenge your thinking. By the end of this class, I hope you will feel proud of your growth and learning much like the marathoner feels accomplished by their triumphs across the finish line. However, this work cannot be as the expense of your wellbeing. Working until exhaustion is NOT a badge of honor; it shows that you are out of balance. As such, I plan to model wellbeing as a value in my class” (Van Cleve, 2020)

Section Required by Faculty Senate Policy 43-00

Content recommended by College of IST Associate Dean and Director of Undergraduate Programs

Attendance Policies

Attendance Policies – See Senate Policy 42-27 Attendance

Attending class – Students are expected to attend class and participate in all activities.

Missing class – Students are expected to notify the instructional team prior to missing class in order to gain the opportunity to earn possible full points for make-up work.

NOTE IF NEEDED: In recognition of the COVID-19 pandemic, additional flexibility will be afforded to participate in and make up for assignments and activities.

  • Illness, family emergencies, military service and other unavoidable conflicts
  • Religious observations
  • Sporting and other extra-curricular events
  • Employment interviews

Class cancellations

Class will only be cancelled for instructor emergencies or campus closures.

Classroom Policies – Instructor Defined

Recommended policy guidance pending

Late Submission Policies – Instructor Defined

Flexible: Late assignments will receive a N% penalty per day that the assignment is late. This N% is applied immediately after the due date for the assignment.

Ex: The assignment is due on a Sunday evening at 11:59 p.m., but it was turned in at 12:30 a.m., 31 minutes late. This late submission results in the assignment receiving a grade no greater than 100-N%.

Timed FlexibleLate assignments will receive a N% penalty per day that the assignment is late. This N% is applied immediately after the due date for the assignment. After the Nth day the assignment is closed and worth 0 points.

Make-up quiz/Exam – Instructor Defined

Firm: Exams/quizzes must be completed at a specific date/time. No accommodations will be considered for make-up evaluations unless students contact the instructor prior to missing the exam/quiz with a valid and truthful excuse. False claims may be considered violations of the policy on Academic Integrity and will be written up as such.

Firm Conditional: Exams/quizzes must be completed at a specific date/time. The lowest quiz score will be dropped and that score can be 0. No further accommodations will be made.

Flexible Conditional: Exams/quizzes must be completed at a specific date/time. Accommodations can be made for special circumstances. For accommodations, you must contact your instructor N days before the exam/quiz.

Use of Specific Technologies – Instructor Defined

Recommended policy guidance pending

Extra Credit Opportunities – Instructor Defined

Firm: No extra credit will be available in this course.

Flexible: Extra credit opportunities are to be decided by the instructor.

Grade Disputes – Instructor Defined

Firm: All grades are final no exceptions will be made. However, if you want to contest your final grade in the course, you may follow the official procedure for contesting a grade: Grade Mediation and Adjudication

Flexible: The option for a regrade is made on a case-by-case basis by the instructor.  

Flexible Conditional: If you have a question about your graded assignment or exam/quizzes, you have N days/weeks from the date that the assignment grade/comments was given to you to email any issues to the professor. Point changes will not be made at the end of the semester.

Assignment Policies – Instructor Defined

Recommended policy guidance pending

Engagement and Participation – Instructor Defined

Students are expected to actively participate in all course activities with attention to course content, not social media or electronic devices. The instructor is also expected to actively participate in course activities without checking social media or electronic devices. The focus of our time together is intended for learning, so everyone should, figuratively, check technological distractions at the door.

Deferred Grades

(University policies: Undergrad and Graduate)

Accommodations can be made on a case-by-case basis.

Technical Issues Regarding Submissions – Instructor Defined

Firm: It is your responsibility to engage with the course using a stable connection. Please be sure to allow yourself time to address any possible issues with your connection/technology. Resources for University-level technology support are available through Get Support | Penn State IT

Flexible: If you run into any issues with submitting an assignment or completing an exam/quiz, it is your responsibility to document issues by contacting both your instructor and IT Helpdesk to create a record of the incident. Accommodations can be made on a case-by-case basis. Resources for University-level technology support are available through Get Support | Penn State IT

Logging into Canvas

Students are expected to login regularly to check for course updates, announcements, emails, discussions, etc.

Emailing through Canvas

Students are expected to use Canvas for all course email communication.

Attending virtual meetings

Students are expected to use specified virtual meeting tool(s) for collaboration, meetings, presentations, etc., as needed.

Recommended by the IST Office of Teaching, Learning, and Assessment

Consider statements in your syllabus to address communication issues and expectations. Some examples are below:
Questions and Other Communications with Instructor

Instructors will respond in ____ day(s) (Example: 1-2) to student emails during normal business hours. Please use (Canvas Inbox or PSU Email).


Part of this course will include groupwork. You are expected to collaborate and communicate with your group members in a professional manner. Group grades will only be given to participating group members. When providing feedback to a classmate, you are expected to offer positive, constructive criticism.

Logging into Canvas

Students are expected to log in to Canvas daily, to check for course updates, announcements, emails, discussions, etc.

Emailing through Canvas

Students are expected to use Canvas for all course email communication with the professor and students are expected to check their email and notifications at least daily.

Class Recording

“Video and audio recordings of class lectures will be part of the classroom activity. The video and audio recording is used for educational use/purposes and only may be made available to all students presently enrolled in the class. For purposes where the recordings will be used in future class session/lectures, any type of identifying information will be adequately removed.”

(See Virus Information)

Preferred Name & Preferred Gender Pronouns

FlexibleClass rosters are provided to the instructor with the student’s legal name. I will gladly honor your request to address you by an alternate name or gender pronoun. Please advise me of this preference so that I may make appropriate changes to my records.


Acting with professional courtesy and sensitivity is always important and especially critical when addressing topics and experiences that may differ including but not limited to race, culture, religion, politics, sexual orientation, gender, gender variance, and nationalities. This class strives to make a safe space for all learners. There is no place for hate and intolerance at Penn State.

In the summer of 2023, a task force of IST administration, faculty, and staff created a series of syllabus statements that include policies considered permissive, context-specific, and restrictive. Click the link below for a message from the task force, sample statements, and examples of how they could be used. 

Generative AI Tools Use Syllabus Statements

Guidance on webcam use for class and examinations are available in this document provided by the Faculty Senate: Webcam and Microphone Guidance

Sample Statement

This course may require you to have a webcam for class sessions and assessments. Classes and assessments may be conducted using Zoom or other technology selected by your instructor which may use your computer’s webcam or other technologies to communicate, monitor, and/or record classes, class activities, and assessments. Assessments may also be conducted using proctoring software, which may listen to you, monitor your computer screen, view you and your surroundings, and record (including visual and audio recordings) all activity during the proctoring process. Please contact your instructor if you are unable to comply or have any questions or concerns.

Recommended by College of IST Associate Dean for Undergraduate and Graduate Education

Recommended Statement

All course materials students receive or to which students have online access are protected by copyright laws. For courses in which they have previously been or are currently enrolled, students may use course materials and make copies for their own use as needed, but unauthorized distribution and/or uploading of materials without the instructor’s express permission is strictly prohibited. Policy AD 40 (Recording of Classroom Activities and Note Taking Services) addresses this issue. Students who engage in the unauthorized distribution of copyrighted materials may be held in violation of the University’s Code of Conduct, and/or liable under Federal and State laws.