A syllabus is a listing or summary of the objectives, content, instructional methods, behaviors, assessment, and evaluation practices that comprise an educational course or offering.
Contemporary practice has begun to view a syllabus as a “contract” between the instructor and the student in the relevant course/offering. As a result, many syllabi now contain extensive legalese and descriptions that are often available elsewhere (formal course description as found in a college’s catalog, for instance, or a rehashing of diversity policies as found in a school’s handbook or web page).
At its essence, a syllabus should contain administrative information about the instructor and setting, a statement of the over-arching objective of the class, a listing of assessable student outcomes that evidence attainment of the objective, a listing of relevant resource material (books, videos, course-management systems, etc.), a description of assessment and grading practices/scales, an outline (preferably by date) of the course material to be covered, and any ancillary administrative issues that apply to the instructor, students, and/or setting that might impact the learning process.