Variable-Unit Course Syllabus Template

December 21, 2016

Starting spring semester 2017, we must renew our efforts to ensure that all courses (entities for which students earn credit) have syllabi and that those syllabi include intended student learning outcomes (also called course learning outcomes) as well as information that allows a student to understand the effort required to earn the units associated with the course.[1] For courses with published, scheduled meeting times, the latter is typically, already addressed in syllabi in the form of the weekly class meeting times and by providing the number of units the students earn for the course.

Importantly, we need to also ensure that students receive syllabi providing the same information for courses like internships (92, 192), undergraduate and graduate research (95, 195, 295), directed group study (98, 198, 298), service learning (97), directed individual research (99, 199, 299), and other non-traditional courses for which students earn academic credit. Ensuring syllabi are developed and shared with students for these types of courses can help clarify for students what they should expect to take away from these experiences together with the amount of work required to successfully earn the associated credit. It also helps us meet an accreditation requirement.

To simplify the process of developing these syllabi, a downloadable Word template has been developed together with some examples. These are available on the website for the Center for Engaged Teaching and Learning – here.  As per the recommendations on that page, we encourage you to have the student draft the syllabus as part of their preparation for the semester’s work.

We will need to provide examples of these syllabi in our accreditation report due to our institutional accreditor, WSCUC, in July 2017. So please submit these syllabi to your school’s administration when the call is issued for spring 2017 syllabi.

Template for Research Unit Syllabus.pdf
Template Syllabus Non-Traditional Variable Unit Course.docx
Sample Syllabus

The templates can also be found at cetl.ucmerced.edu > Resources > Teaching Resources > Syllabus and Course Development (under the Student Engagement section)



[1]As per UC Merced’s credit hour policy and UC Senate Regular 760, “The value of a course in units shall be reckoned at the rate of one unit for three hours’ work per week per term on the part of a student, or the equivalent.” The UC Merced Academic Senate defines “work” to include class contact time as well as time spent outside of class studying and doing research or other assignments, while “equivalent” acknowledges that workload may vary from week to week over the course of a term. This amounts to 45 hours of work per unit per semester.