Possible Language to Include in Your Syllabus

It is always helpful to have your classroom and assignment rules in writing, both to promote clarity about your expectations and to forestall the use of ignorance as an excuse.  The following suggestions are compiled from multiple syllabi in a variety of courses. Choose the ones that best address the type of class you teach and that align with your needs and educational philosophy as an instructor -- and ignore the rest. If you think we've missed any important ones, please let us know.

Introductory Statement:

The following expectations are to enhance your ability to learn in this class, to avoid distraction and disruption to others, and to improve the quality of the classroom experience. Repeated failure to meet these expectations may result in a lower grade for the course.

Entering/Exiting Class:

  • Please arrive on time to class and stay for the entire class period. Late arrivals and early departures are disruptive.
  • If, despite your best effort, you arrive late, please quietly take a seat at the back of the classroom. Similarly, in the rare event that you must leave class early (e.g. for a medical appointment), email me in advance to let me know, then sit close to the rear door and leave as unobtrusively as possible. If you can’t be there on time or must always leave early because of a class or work conflict, either seek specific permission from me or do not take this class.
  • During exams, you must ask permission before leaving the classroom for any reason. Please use the restroom before coming to class or an exam.


  • When class begins, please stop all conversation.
  • Turn your cell phone off and put it in a bag or backpack out of sight.
  • Wait until class is completely over before putting your materials away, standing up, or talking to friends.

Electronic Devices:

  • No taping, filming, or photography in class without my prior permission (whether by camera, cell phone, or other means). These activities are distracting and inhibiting to faculty and other students, may infringe upon privacy or copyright, are a violation of University policy, and have a chilling effect on classroom discussion.
  • Cell phones should be turned off and put away. No talking, texting, or emailing on laptops during class. 
  • No laptop use is permitted in my class. Laptops offer infinite possibilities for distraction and are distracting to others. Please take notes the "old school" way:  by hand. (Preliminary research also suggests that notes taken by hand are better retained than notes taken on a computer.)
  • No listening to iPods or other electronic recording devices during class.  Out of courtesy, please remove ear-buds during class.

Electronic Etiquette:

  • If you email me, I expect your messages to conform to standards of professional correspondence:  emails should be courteous and respectful in tone; do not send emails that are curt or demanding.
  • Do not expect an immediate response via email (normally, a response will be sent within two business days). If your email question is sent at the last minute, it may not be possible to send you a response before an assignment is due or a test is given.
  • Please do not send me more than one email per week.  If you find that you have more questions than that, come to my office hours.
  • Do not post personal information about yourself or others to the class list serve. For example, if you are having trouble with a lab partner, please talk to me or the TA in person to discuss the problem.


  • [If participation is used as part of calculating the student’s grade] Because participation is counted as part of your grade, missing class may negatively impact your grade.  It is a violation of University policy to sign in for others, or have someone else sign in for you. 
  • Stay focused on the topic at hand. If you have questions off the current topic, address these outside of class at office hours or by email with me or the TA.
  • Do not talk out of turn. Wait to be recognized before speaking and do not try to dominate a discussion with your questions or comments – give others a fair opportunity to participate.
  • Please be advised that disrupting class may also lower your participation grade.

Common Courtesy:

  • Do not read the newspaper during class. The shuffling of pages can be very distracting.
  • Food and drink are discouraged in class. There may be times that you need a beverage or small snack during class. Avoid bringing in large meals or food that is noisy when unpackaged or chewed.
  • Show respect for me and fellow classmates. Do not interrupt someone who is speaking. It is okay to disagree with an idea but it is not okay to ridicule or make fun of another person or their ideas. Raised voices, derogatory language, name-calling, and intimidating behavior will NOT be tolerated.
  • Do not disturb others by engaging in disruptive behavior. Disruption interferes with the learning environment and impairs my ability to teach and the ability of others to focus, participate, and engage.  Please be advised that disruptive behavior is a violation of our Code of Academic Conduct.

Working With Others:

  • At UC Davis, students are expected to do their own work independently (by themselves).  Students may study with others as much as they like, but for any work that will be turned in for a grade or credit, students are not permitted to work with others unless the instructor gives explicit permission for them to do so -- and even then, students may only work together to the extent that the instructor allows.
  • In this class, I permit students to discuss the concepts and ideas of the assignments with each other, but I require that students then do the assignment independently (i.e. by themselves -- alone). If your answers are identical or highly similar to those of another student, I will know that you worked together beyond what I allow and I will report you to the Office of Student Support & Judicial Affairs (OSSJA).  Working together when not allowed, or beyond what is allowed, is called "unauthorized collaboration" and is a violation of our Code of Academic Conduct. 


  • Any time you use the research, ideas, images, analysis, language, etc. of another, you must cite that individual (give them credit).  If you use the words of another author verbatim (word-for-word), you must indicate that by putting the words in quotation marks.  As a UC Davis student, you are expected to know when and how to cite and paraphrase correctly.  If you do not, ask me or your TA for help.  Submitting work that contains work "borrowed" from others and not properly cited is called "plagiarism" and is a violation of our Code of Academic Conduct.

Course Hero, Etc.:

  • You are not allowed to post any of my course materials to any website -- period.  Doing so is an infringement of copyright standards and a violation of University policy.  It is generally not difficult to figure out who posted my materials to such a site, and I do report those individuals to the Office of Student Support and Judicial Affairs (OSSJA).


Edited on 2/3/2019 by slh