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Syllabus Option

Syllabus Option. The syllabus should be thought of as a course guide that includes information that students see and information only for the instructor explaining the overall objectives and approach of the course, why this approach was selected and how it differs from other approaches as well as a brief “mini essay” for each of the twelve weeks explaining that week’s objectives, emphases for lecture and discussion, and justification for each of the assigned readings. It must include:

  • A one or two paragraph overview of the course.  This should explain the course to prospective students and serve as background for the instructor’s use.
  • Three to five core learning objects for the course (What are the key things that students need to learn in the course?)
  • Schedule for 12 weeks of class meetings (once or twice a week): each class meeting must have a title and a list of readings. Readings should be carefully selected at an appropriate level for the class and total no more than 200 pages.

In addition to the syllabus, which would be something that your students will see, you should also create a detailed guide to your course.  The course guide must include:

  • For each class meeting, a list of the main goals of that meeting and a discussion of why you picked the readings that you picked to achieve those goals.  Further, if there are other readings that you will discuss in class or specific problems that you will pose to the students, those should be included as well.

Other notes:

  • You are allowed (and even encouraged) to look at other syllabi, but in your detailed guide please cite the syllabi that influenced you.  Also, your syllabus should be sufficiently different from any existing course.
  • You should decide with the professor supervising the exam how many weeks the syllabus would be and have the topics approved before you launch seriously into the readings; you should also review the proposed list of readings for each of the topics with your advisor.
  • Unless you have taken a course in the department on that field, you should consider taking a reading course with the professor during or in advance of working on the syllabus.
  • Please send your advisor a draft after you have completed the first three weeks so that he or she can make sure that you are on the right track. This draft is due no later than two weeks before the exam is due.
  • There will be an oral examination on the content of your syllabus and course guide so you should be prepared to explain and defend your decisions, both what you have decided to include and what you have decided to exclude.
  • Your syllabus and course guide will be submitted along with your other written general exam materials to all members of your committee, and your oral exam will be at the same time as your oral exam for your other generals.
  • You are still responsible for knowing all the materials on your reading list.