The Associate Dean for Undergraduate Education in the College of Earth and Mineral Sciences has determined a list of required and recommended elements for a course syllabus based on University policy and best practices. This page contains a list of up-to-date required and recommended policies for your syllabus. Additional information about how to present an online syllabus in an accessible way can be found at the bottom of the page.
To use these policies, just copy and paste the text directly from this page into your syllabus. Alternatively, you may use the Word version of the syllabus with all requirements listed.
It is your responsibility to check this site each semester to ensure your syllabi remain in compliance with College and University syllabus requirements.
This page is updated before the beginning of each semester. All new updates will be noted in the text box below.
- Elements of a Syllabus (EMS)
- Required Policies (based on University and College of EMS standards)
- Recommended Policies (based on College of EMS and Dutton Institute recommendations)
- Recommended Technical Requirements (recommended by the Dutton Institute)
- Recommended Disclaimer Statement
- How to create an accessible online syllabus
Elements of a Syllabus in EMS
Required elements are denoted by bold text
- Course Number and Title
- Instructor name, contact information and office hours
- Teaching Assistant name, contact information and office hours (recommended if applicable and known)
- Support services available (e.g., tutoring) (recommended if applicable)
- Class meeting times and locations
- Course designation in curriculum. (e.g., required in major or option, elective, etc.) (recommended)
- Brief course description from LionPATH (then choose "Class Search") (recommended)
- Prerequisites and Concurrent Courses (required if applicable)
Sample policy statement to include here as well, if there are prerequisites:
Students who do not meet these prerequisites may be disenrolled according to Administrative Policy C-5. if they do not have the proper prerequisite override. Students who re-enroll in the course after being disenrolled according to this policy are in violation of Item 15 on the Student Code of Conduct: https://studentaffairs.psu.edu/support-safety-conduct/student-conduct/code-conduct.
Note: Every effort should be made to disenroll students prior to the start of the semester, because if a student is disenrolled after the semester begins, the course will be counted as uncompleted, and could negatively affect the student’s financial aid.
- Required textbooks (required if applicable. Please include the "Assistance with Textbooks" statement below if textbooks are required for your course.)
Assistance with Textbooks: Penn State honors and values the socioeconomic diversity of our students. If you require assistance with the costs of textbooks for this course, contact the Office of Student Care and Advocacy : studentaffairs.psu.edu/studentcare/ (120 Boucke Building, 863-4926, http://studentaffairs.psu.edu/studentcare/). For additional needs related to socioeconomic status please visit Project Cahir: sites.psu.edu/projectcahir.
- Recommended textbooks (required if applicable)
- Reserve materials and location (required if applicable)
- Internet materials and links (required if applicable)
- Course Goals and Objectives (e.g., list the course objectives and outcomes developed for the Penn State-required program assessment or for ABET accreditation)
- Course Content (e.g., list of topics covered, pages for or sources of required and suggested reading)
Required Course Policies and Statements
Assessment Policy including:
- Required written/oral assignments
- Summary of required problem sets, papers, oral presentations, etc.
- Weight given to each assignment
- Due date for each assignment
- Examination Policy
- Summary of quizzes and exams
- Weight given to each quiz or exam
- Due dates for each quiz or exam
- Make-up exam policy
- Grading Policy
- Grading Scale
- Curving Policy if applicable
- Late Penalties if applicable
Two Sample statements are given below; please edit to fit your class.
Academic Integrity statement option 1; please edit to fit your class
Students in this class are expected to write up their problem sets individually, to work the exams on their own, and to write their papers in their own words using proper citations. Class members may work on the problem sets in groups, but then each student must write up the answers separately. Students are not to copy problem or exam answers from another person's paper and present them as their own; students may not plagiarize text from papers or websites written by others. Students who present other people's work as their own will receive at least a 0 on the assignment and may well receive an F or XF in the course. Please see: Earth and Mineral Sciences Academic Integrity Policy: http://www.ems.psu.edu/undergraduate/academic-advising/forms-and-procedures/academic-integrity, which this course adopts. To learn more, see Penn State's "Plagiarism Tutorial for Students."
Academic Integrity statement option 2
This course follows the guidelines for academic integrity of Penn State's College of Earth and Mineral Sciences. Penn State defines academic integrity as "the pursuit of scholarly activity in an open, honest and responsible manner." Academic integrity includes "a commitment not to engage in or tolerate acts of falsification, misrepresentation, or deception." In particular, the University defines plagiarism as "the fabrication of information and citations; submitting other's work from professional journals, books, articles, and papers; submission of other student's papers, lab results or project reports and representing the work as one's own." Penalties for violations of academic integrity may include course failure. To learn more, see Penn State's "Plagiarism Tutorial for Students."
All course materials students receive or to which students have online access are protected by copyright laws. 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. University Policy AD 40, the University Policy Recording of Classroom Activities and Note Taking Services addresses this issue. For example, uploading completed labs, homework, or other assignments to any study site constitutes a violation of this policy. 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.
For example, uploading completed labs, homework, or other assignments to any study site constitutes a violation of this policy.
Accommodations for Students with Disabilities
Penn State welcomes students with disabilities into the University’s educational programs. Every Penn State campus has an office for students with disabilities. The Student Disability Resources Web site provides contact information for every Penn State campus: http://equity.psu.edu/student-disability-resources/disability-coordinator. For further information, please visit the Student Disability Resources Web site: http://equity.psu.edu/student-disability-resources.
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: http://equity.psu.edu/student-disability-resources/applying-for-services. If the documentation supports your request for reasonable accommodations, your campus’s disability services office (equity.psu.edu/student-disability-resources/disability-coordinator) will provide you with an accommodation letter. Please share this letter with your instructors and discuss the accommodations with them as early in your courses as possible. You must follow this process for every semester that you request accommodations.
This course abides by the Penn State Attendance Policy E-11: http://undergrad.psu.edu/aappm/E-11-class-attendance.html, and Conflict Exam Policy 44-35: http://senate.psu.edu/policies-and-rules-for-undergraduate-students/44-00-examinations/#44-35. Please also see Illness Verification Policy: https://studentaffairs.psu.edu/health-wellness/medical-services/policies-patient-resources, and Religious Observance Policy: http://undergrad.psu.edu/aappm/R-4-religious-observances.html. Students who miss class for legitimate reasons will be given a reasonable opportunity to make up missed work, including exams and quizzes. Students are not required to secure the signature of medical personnel in the case of illness or injury and should use their best judgment on whether they are well enough to attend class or not; the University Health Center will not provide medical verification for minor illnesses or injuries. Other legitimate reasons for missing class include religious observance, military service, family emergencies, regularly scheduled university-approved curricular or extracurricular activities, and post-graduate, career-related interviews when there is no opportunity for students to re-schedule these opportunities (such as employment and graduate school final interviews). Students who encounter serious family, health, or personal situations that result in extended absences should contact the Office of the Assistant Vice President for Student Affairs (AVPSA) and Student Care and Advocacy for help: http://studentaffairs.psu.edu/studentcare. Whenever possible, students participating in University-approved activities should submit to the instructor a Class Absence Form: http://undergrad.psu.edu/aappm/classabs.pdf, at least one week prior to the activity.
Campus emergencies, including weather delays, are announced on Penn State News: http://news.psu.edu/ and communicated to cell phones, email, the Penn State Facebook page, and Twitter via PSUAlert (Sign up at: https://psualert.psu.edu/psualert/.
Reporting Bias-Motivated Incidents
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 (https://policy.psu.edu/policies/ad29) and can be reported through Educational Equity via the Report Bias webpage.
Counseling and Psychological Services
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. Services include the following:
Counseling and Psychological Services at University Park (CAPS): 814-863-0395
Counseling and Psychological Services at Commonwealth Campuses
Penn State Crisis Line (24 hours/7 days/week): 877-229-6400
Crisis Text Line (24 hours/7 days/week): Text LIONS to 741741
Syllabus and Paper Acknowledgement Forms
It is the recommendation of the college that all students sign and return the Syllabus Acknowledgement Form during the first week of the semester. In addition, the College also recommends the attached Paper Submission Form as a way to have students take responsibility for papers/labs/homework done as part of group work.
Penn State E-mail Accounts
All official communications from Penn State are sent to students' Penn State e-mail accounts. Be sure to check your Penn State account regularly, or forward your Penn State e-mail to your preferred e-mail account so that you don't miss any important information.
If you are prevented from completing this course within the prescribed amount of time for reasons that are beyond your control, it is possible to have the grade deferred with the concurrence of the instructor, following Penn State Deferred Grade Policy 48-40 (http://senate.psu.edu/policies-and-rules-for-undergraduate-students/47-00-48-00-and-49-00-grades/#48-40). To seek a deferred grade, you must submit a written request (by e-mail or U.S. post) to the instructor describing the reason(s) for the request. Non-emergency permission for filing a deferred grade must be requested before the beginning of the final examination period. It is up to the instructor to determine whether or not you will be permitted to receive a deferred grade. If permission is granted, you will work with the instructor to establish a communication plan and a clear schedule for completion. If for any reason, the coursework for the deferred grade is not complete by the assigned time, a grade of "F" will be automatically entered on your transcript.
Veterans and currently serving military personnel and/or spouses with unique circumstances (e.g., upcoming deployments, drill/duty requirements, disabilities, VA appointments, etc.) are welcome and encouraged to communicate these, in advance if possible, to the instructor in the case that special arrangements need to be made.
The term "Netiquette" refers to the etiquette guidelines for electronic communications, such as e-mail and bulletin board postings. Netiquette covers not only rules to maintain civility in discussions, but also special guidelines unique to the electronic nature of forum messages. Please review some general Netiquette guidelines: facdev.e-education.psu.edu/node/271 that should be followed when communicating in this course.
Behavior that disrupts normal classroom activities will not be tolerated, in accordance with Items 9 and 14 in the Student Code of Conduct.
In the case of an emergency, we will follow the College of Earth and Mineral Sciences Critical Incident Plan (https://www.ems.psu.edu/sites/default/files/documents/faculty_staff/cip_fall_2018-spring_2019.pdf). In the event of an evacuation, we will follow posted evacuation routes and gather at the Designated Meeting Site. Evacuation routes for all EMS buildings are available at http://www.ems.psu.edu/faculty_staff/safety/evacuationPlans. For more information regarding actions to take during particular emergencies, please see the Penn State Emergency Action Guides.
Mandated Reporting Statement
Penn State’s policies require me, as a faculty member, to share information about incidents of sex-based discrimination and harassment (discrimination, harassment, sexual harassment, sexual misconduct, dating violence, domestic violence, stalking, and retaliation) with Penn State’s Title IX coordinator or deputy coordinators, regardless of whether the incidents are stated to me in person or shared by students as part of their coursework. For more information regarding the University's policies and procedures for responding to reports of sexual or gender-based harassment or misconduct, please visit Penn State's Office of Sexual Misconduct Prevention & Response website.
Additionally, I am required to make a report on any reasonable suspicion of child abuse in accordance with the Pennsylvania Child Protective Services Law.
Diversity, Inclusion, and Respect
Penn State is “committed to creating an educational environment which is free from intolerance directed toward individuals or groups and strives to create and maintain an environment that fosters respect for others” as stated in Policy AD29 Statement on Intolerance. All members of this class are expected to contribute to a respectful, welcoming and inclusive environment and to interact with civility.
For additional information, see:
- Penn State Affirmative Action non-discrimination statement
- Policy AD 85 Sexual and gender-based harassment and misconduct, Title IX
- Policy AD91 Discrimination and Harassment, and Related inappropriate Conduct
- Penn State Statement on Diversity, Equity, and Inclusive Excellence
- Penn State Values
- Penn State Principles
- All In at Penn State: A Commitment to Diversity and Inclusion
For this course, we recommend the minimum technical requirements outlined on the Dutton Institute Technical Requirements: www.e-education.psu.edu/techspecs page, including the requirements listed for same-time, synchronous communications. If you need technical assistance at any point during the course, please contact the ITS Help Desk: http://service.psu.edu/.
Please note that the specifics of this Course Syllabus can be changed at any time, and you will be responsible for abiding by any such changes. Changes to the syllabus shall also be given to the student in written (paper or electronic) form.
Notes: Any syllabus posted online (e.g. a Word/PDF file or an online syllabus) should make destinations clickable links such as is done throughout this page. Also, in order to comply with Penn State Policy AD69 (Accessibility of Penn State Web Pages, http://policy.psu.edu/policies/ad69), PDF documents cannot be the sole source of presenting online information. Such documents include syllabi, homework assignments, and scanned notes.