University of Minnesota
Office of Human Resources

Course Description and Student Learning Outcomes

In May 2007, the Faculty Senate approved seven student learning outcomes that define what undergraduate students, regardless of major, will be able to do when they leave the University of Minnesota. At the time of receiving a bachelor's degree, students:

  • Can identify, define, and solve problems
  • Can locate and critically evaluate information
  • Have mastered a body of knowledge and a mode of inquiry
  • Understand diverse philosophies and cultures within and across societies
  • Can communicate effectively
  • Understand the role of creativity, innovation, discovery, and expression across disciplines
  • Have acquired skills for effective citizenship and life-long learning.

These learning outcomes articulate a set of institutional values and guidelines for course and curriculum development. They also provide students with a language for reflecting on their undergraduate education and talking about it with others. It can be useful, then, to include which students learning outcomes your particular course meets on your syllabus.

Faculty sometimes use the words "goals" and "objectives" to mean something very similar to "student outcomes." They are all ways to provide students with a clear statement of what they will gain as a result of the course.

The following pages provide examples you may find useful as you begin to align your syllabus with the new student learning outcomes. For more, see the Provost's Coucil for Enhancing Student Learning Web site at