Curriculum Development

Curriculum development

Syllabus guidelines

All new course syllabi should contain the elements and policies outlined in ASU policy ACD 304-10 Course Syllabus. Below is additional information that expands on some of those items.

Course Description

The description of the course may include course content and goals and amplify key points of methodology, clinical or theoretical approach, course themes and special requirements.

Enrollment Requirements

Indicate any prerequisites, corequisites, pre- or corequisites and/or antirequisites. Enrollment requirements should clearly indicate the academic preparation required for success in the courses. If there is not a specific course that prepares students for this work, preparation may be indicated in terms of a prerequisite number of hours or a class standing. An antirequisite is editorially added with crosslisted courses and can be added for combined courses (e.g., "Credit is allowed for only ABC 123 or BCD 123," or "Credit is allowed for only ABC 456 or ABC 556").

Course Overview

Provide a more extensive version of the catalog description that expands on the course content and goals and amplifies key points of methodology, clinical or theoretical approach, course themes and special requirements.

Course Objectives

Course objectives describe what a faculty member will cover in a course. They are generally more broad than student learning outcomes. Course objectives can be duplicated text from the course description. Only the faculty with disciplinary expertise should identify the course objectives.

Expected Learning Outcomes

Learning outcomes indicate what students are expected to gain from the course, as opposed to what the instructor wishes to accomplish. In specifying the outcomes, address specific tasks, fields of knowledge, methodologies, techniques, and so on, at a level of expectation appropriate to the course content (e.g., introductory course versus advanced seminar). For example: "Students completing course X will be able to..." The number of outcomes per course varies widely, depending on program requirements, external accreditation, and the specific nature of the course. Properly written outcomes are observable and measurable.

For more information, refer to Student Learning Outcomes and Writing Measurable Learning Outcomes.


Describe the types of assignments in the course and their number and frequency (e.g., average number of pages per semester of critical writing; average hours spent in laboratory work). Include a brief explanation of discipline-specific assignments such as fieldwork or collaborative projects. Descriptions should clarify such things as length and format of papers, structure of projects, nature of exams, and how they correlate with learning outcomes. In other words, there should be a clear enumeration and description of the types of assignments. Try to include:

  • Weight of each assignment or exam
  • Kinds of papers or projects, format, due dates
  • Reading assignments, due dates
  • Rewrite and make-up policies
  • Acceptability of handwritten work
  • Grading criteria
  • Policy on late assignments

Required Primary and Secondary Materials (e.g., readings, videos, podcasts, films)

While it is possible that some courses will not have required readings (e.g., internships, studio courses), the vast majority will. A list of texts assigned or a bibliography of texts that may be drawn upon in the course is not sufficient. Give some indication of how primary and secondary materials are assigned (assigned by instructor, self-selected by student) and used; include relevant information about online platforms (e.g., Blackboard), libraries, and software that convey these materials. Briefly describe primary and secondary materials (e.g., texts, videos, podcasts, films, but also screenings, performances, field trips, etc.) and how they are assigned (e.g., assigned by instructor, selected by student, drawn from a bibliography). Include relevant information about online platforms (e.g., Blackboard), libraries, and software that convey these materials. Assigned material should be appropriate to the level of the course. Please include:

  • Titles and authors of required/recommended books
  • Titles and authors of all books on reserve
  • The cost and location of the instructor's professional publishing packet
  • Calculators
  • Disks, CDs
  • Lab supplies

Course Itinerary

Outline the structure of this course (weekly meetings, modules, online, hybrid). The syllabus should include some form of itinerary or timeline (e.g., weekly schedule, modules) to provide a sense of how the course will be paced, when readings will be discussed, when assignments are due, and when exams will be given. If the student "self-paces," please indicate the criteria or guidelines you wish your students to follow.

Please include:

  • The structure of this course (weekly meetings, modules, online, hybrid)
  • Timeline for readings, discussions, assignments and exams
  • Weekly schedule (EXAMPLE BELOW):

Weekly Topic:

  1. Course Introduction; Energy
  2. Introduction to Photovoltaics
  3. Theoretical Limits
  4. Electronic Materials
  5. Solar Cell Science, I
  6. Solar Cell Science, II
  7. Solar Cell Science, III
  8. Solar Cell Science, IV
  9. First Generation Solar Cells, I
  10. First Generation Solar Cells, II
  11. Second Generation Solar Cells, I
  12. Second Generation Solar Cells, II
  13. Third Generation Solar Cells, I
  14. Third Generation Solar Cells, II
  15. Solar Cell Modules, I
  16. Solar Cell Modules, II


The syllabus should provide a clear account of the types of activities and assignments that will be graded, and potential ranges of weight assigned to the various activities. This can take the form of point distributions or percentages. Of particular importance are categories like "class participation", which may require large percentages (more than 20%) in some special cases. Be sure to clarify how grades relate to expectations specific in learning outcomes. Note: make sure points/percentages are consistent and that totals are accurate.


Class Presentations: 200 Points
Projects Assigned: 600 Points
Midterm Exam: 100 Points
Class Participation: 100 Points
TOTAL: 1000 Points

See here for more examples of sample grading rubrics used by units in the past.