Preparing to Teach

9 Syllabus

A good syllabus that is thorough, yet concise can help reduce the amount of email that you and your TAs receive.  A quality syllabus helps your students find the information they need quickly.

Syllabus tips:

  • Use headings and subheadings to lead students to each topic.
    • This makes it easy for students to refer to the syllabus throughout the semester.
  • Convert large chunks of text to bullet points.
  • Bold and italicize words for emphasis so that the convention of underlines can be reserved for links.
  • Keep the syllabus as short as you can.
    • Yes, it needs to be thorough, but is there some information that could be provided as a link?
  • Be sure to check with your department/college for specific syllabus requirements.
  • UF Syllabus Policy
  • Office of Teaching Excellence: Syllabus Design

How do you get students to read the syllabus?

  • Create a short extra credit quiz on the syllabus.
  • Use the syllabus as part of a scavenger hunt game.
  • When students have questions that you have already answered in the syllabus, be sure to ask them what was unclear so that you can correct the document.

Student Support

Be sure to include information about tutoring support that is available to them.

The Teaching Center provides support in Chemistry, Mathematics, Physics, Writing and other topics.  Contact Dr. Winnie Cooke if your course has specific needs

The University of Florida Writing Program (UWP) offers face-to-face and online tutoring as well as video resources. The Writing Studio (through the UWP:   offers feedback sessions on essays; students can schedule two 30 min appointments weekly, with face-to-face time including business and evening hours, and an online option as well. Students are highly encouraged to make appointments since our times fill up quickly. The tutors here are mostly graduate teaching assistants trained in both humanities and science prose.

Include links to these services in your syllabus:


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UF Instructor Guide by University of Florida is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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