Yale Center for Teaching and Learning

Sample Syllabi

Sample syllabi give future employers a sense of the types of class you are prepared to teach and how you approach those classes.

What should you include in, or exclude from, your sample course syllabi?

Eliminate references to yourself as a graduate student, a teaching fellow, or a teaching assistant.

Keep in mind that yours are not actual syllabi to be used on a daily or weekly basis by students, but rather sample syllabi meant to be read (quickly!) by a search committee. Aim for a two-page document.

  1. Consider formatting strategies to make your syllabus easily readable
  2. Consider eliminating sections that would appear on an actual syllabus
    1. Plagiarism or anti-cheating statements
    2. Elaborate descriptions of written work (papers, final projects)
    3. Attendance policy
  3. Do, however, include sections that would be of interest to a search committee or support the content of your syllabus
    1. Course description
    2. Learning goals
    3. Grading policy
    4. Texts and readings
    5. Daily/weekly work breakdown (though this section may be less elaborate than that of an actual syllabus)
    6. If including introductory and advanced-level syllabi, the introductory syllabus should usually be listed first
      1. Consider that undergraduate syllabi need to “reach” students in a way that content-focused graduate syllabi often do not
    7. Eliminate Yale-specific email addresses, course numbers, etc.
    8. Eliminate unclear abbreviations (EBE, MCDB, EPE, etc.)
    9. Does your syllabus include a description of the course goals?
    10. Does it include a description of the course format (e.g., “This class will be a series of lectures with weekly discussion sessions”)
      1. Will students be working in teams?
      2. Will they be completing regular writing assignments?
    11. If a “standard” course (“Intro to Biology,” for example), have you included something that makes your course stand out from the pack?
    12. Is the syllabus annotated for your readers at the top of the first page?
      1. For example, “I’ve designed this course specifically for non-physics majors…,” or “This is a junior-level course for physics majors”