University of Minnesota
Office of Human Resources

Course Description and Student Learning Outcomes

This section of your syllabus will help students answer such questions as:

  • "Is this the course I thought it was when I registered?"
  • "Is this a class I'm going to enjoy?"
  • "Do I have the prerequisite courses and/or knowledge base to succeed in this course?"
  • "Do the goals and objectives of this course correspond with my needs and interests?"

If the answer to any of these questions is "no," it's better for both faculty and students to find out on the first day of the term when adjustments can still be made. A description which conveys your enthusiasm for this course can also be a positive influence on the attitude the students will bring to the class.

This section of your syllabus is also the place where you can make it clear to students how your course aligns with the university's student learning outcomes for undergraduate education. Making students aware of these connections can help them place your course within the larger framework of their education, help them draw connections between your subject and others they are studying, and prepare them to apply what they're learning in the classroom in "real world" environments.

Learn More about Writing Course Descriptions, Student Learning Outcomes, and Liberal Education Requirements