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Course Outlines


Course Outline Guidelines - General Information

These guidelines suggest the minimum components that should be included on a course outline and are meant to serve as a resource to instructors, chairs, directors, and others preparing or reviewing course outlines. Academic units may require additional information specific to the unit or program to be included on course outlines as well.  Faculty members and course instructors should check with the Chair/Director or Administrative Assistant in their unit for more information. 

In some cases, the checklist references the Undergraduate Calendar. Those adapting these guidelines for graduate, diploma, or Guelph-Humber courses should replace this with the appropriate link.

In addition to a wide range of support, Open Learning and Educational Support (formerly Teaching Support Services and the Office of Open Learning) offers assistance in the development of courses and program curriculum. You can contact OpenEd for assistance with in-class or online (DE) courses development. 

The University of Guelph Senate has approved policies on Grading Procedures include resolutions pertaining to grading standards and definitions, the distribution of course outlines to students, timely feedback to students, consistency across multi-section courses, examination policies and departmental responsibilities. Course instructors should review and be familiar with the resolutions related to Grading Procedures.

As well, the Senate approved policy on Academic Misconduct states that "faculty members have a responsibility to provide students, early in their course or program, with information about academic integrity that might be particular to their discipline."

Additional Questions? Contact:
Patricia Tersigni, Director, Academic Programs and Policy
Office of the Associate Vice-President (Academic) 
ext. 53899


Undergraduate Calendar: Undergraduate Degree Regulations and Procedures

Associate Diploma Calendar: Associate Diploma Regulations and Procedures

Guelph-Humber Calendar: Undergraduate Degree Regulations and Procedures


*Faculty and Instructors are strongly encouraged to use the online Course Outline Manager tool

  • University of Guelph – Name of Department/School/College/Campus
  • Semester of Offering (i.e. Fall 2019)
  • Course Code (and Section, if applicable), Title and Credit Weight
  • Prerequisites, Corequisites, Restrictions
  • Instructor Name, email, office location and office hours
  • GTA Name, email, office location and office hours, if applicable
  • Class Schedule and Location, including lecture, seminar, lab
    • *nb:  for Fall semester courses, include a note re: extra class days at end of semester to replace Thanksgiving Monday and the Fall Study Break Day
  • Final Examination Date and Time
  • Required Texts
  • Recommended Texts
  • Texts/Notes available on D2L CourseLink site and/or held at the Library Reserve Desk
  • Calendar Description and detailed Course Description
  • Evaluation – Methods, Breakdown (% of grade) and specific due dates
  • Detailed objectives and/or expected outcomes; statement of purpose, goals and/or objectives
  • Weekly schedule/syllabus, where applicable
  • Additional detailed information on assignments, midterms, final exam Instructor or Department Policy on Late or Missed Assignments -- see Academic Consideration
  • Courses associated with supplemental assistance (Supported Learning Group, lab or quiz rooms, help labs, language labs, etc.) should note this information, including relevant hours of operation, location, online links, etc. 
    Course Evaluation information (link to Course Evaluation website if conducted online, provide alternate information if conducted in-class)

Standard Statements

The following are standard statements for inclusion on all course outlines (adapted with permission from the College of Arts).  Some departments or colleges may also elect to post this information on a common website and link to such sites in the course outline.  However, it is strongly recommended that statements on academic misconduct and links to the academic misconduct section of the academic calendars are included on all course outlines. 

In some cases, the standard statements reference the Undergraduate Calendar. Those adapting these guidelines for graduate, diploma, or Guelph-Humber courses should replace these with the appropriate links:

Email Communication

As per university regulations, all students are required to check their <> e-mail account regularly: e-mail is the official route of communication between the University and its students.

When You Cannot Meet a Course Requirement

When you find yourself unable to meet an in-course requirement because of illness or compassionate reasons, please advise the course instructor (or designated person, such as a teaching assistant) in writing, with your name, id#, and e-mail contact. See the Undergraduate Calendar for information on regulations and procedures for Academic Consideration.

Drop Date

Courses that are one semester long must be dropped by the end of the last day of classes; two-semester courses must be dropped by the last day of classes in the second semester. The regulations and procedures for Dropping Courses are available in the Undergraduate Calendar.

Copies of Out-Of-Class Assignments

Keep paper and/or other reliable back-up copies of all out-of-class assignments: you may be asked to resubmit work at any time.


The University promotes the full participation of students who experience disabilities in their academic programs.  To that end, the provision of academic accommodation is a shared responsibility between the University and the student.

When accommodations are needed, the student is required to first register with Student Accessibility Services (SAS).  Documentation to substantiate the existence of a disability is required, however, interim accommodations may be possible while that process is underway.

Accommodations are available for both permanent and temporary disabilities. It should be noted that common illnesses such as a cold or the flu do not constitute a disability.

Use of the SAS Exam Centre requires students to make a booking at least 14 days in advance, and no later than November 1 (fall), March 1 (winter) or July 1 (summer). Similarly, new or changed accommodations for online quizzes, tests and exams must be approved at least a week ahead of time.

More information:

Academic Misconduct

The University of Guelph is committed to upholding the highest standards of academic integrity and it is the responsibility of all members of the University community – faculty, staff, and students – to be aware of what constitutes academic misconduct and to do as much as possible to prevent academic offences from occurring.  University of Guelph students have the responsibility of abiding by the University's policy on academic misconduct regardless of their location of study; faculty, staff and students have the responsibility of supporting an environment that discourages misconduct.  Students need to remain aware that instructors have access to and the right to use electronic and other means of detection.  

Please note: Whether or not a student intended to commit academic misconduct is not relevant for a finding of guilt. Hurried or careless submission of assignments does not excuse students from responsibility for verifying the academic integrity of their work before submitting it. Students who are in any doubt as to whether an action on their part could be construed as an academic offence should consult with a faculty member or faculty advisor.

The Academic Misconduct Policy is outlined in the Undergraduate Calendar.

Recording of Materials

Presentations which are made in relation to course work—including lectures—cannot be recorded or copied without the permission of the presenter, whether the instructor, a classmate or guest lecturer. Material recorded with permission is restricted to use for that course unless further permission is granted.


The Academic Calendars are the source of information about the University of Guelph’s procedures, policies and regulations which apply to undergraduate, graduate and diploma programs.


Medical notes will not normally be required for singular instances of academic consideration, although students may be required to provide supporting documentation for multiple missed assessments or when involving a large part of a course (e.g., final exam or major assignment).


Accessible Course Outlines - Guidelines

Updated October 2014

Where a college or department does not have a course outline standard template, instructors should refer to the following minimum guidelines to ensure their course outline is in an accessible format.  Additional resources may be found on the websites for Diversity and Human Rights Office (DHR) and the Open Learning and Educational Support, including:

  1. The material should be presented in a clear, organized manner.  Use headings to organize material.  Keep the formatting of the document as simple as possible.
  2. Use a font which is which is, at minimum, 12-point.
  3. The font should be sans-serif (such as Arial or Calibri).
  4. Maintain high contrast between the background and the text, for example: black text on a white background.
  5. Text boxes and images create visual clutter for some individuals and may be problematic for screen readers if they are not properly formatted.
  6. Keep in mind that course outlines are often read using different media.  For some readers, how material appears when printed on paper may be different from how the same material appears when read on a screen.  For example, if you are creating your course outline in MS Word, choose formatting from the “style” option on the home tab.  For example, rather than using “bold” and “italics” under the “Font” option use “Strong” and “Emphasis” from the “Style” option on the home tab.
  7. Web addresses, for students with visual impairment, can be confusing.  The recommendation is that the name of the website is written, with an active link.  For example, the link to “Accessible Instruction—Resources” is formatted in MS Word by clicking on the “Insert” tab and select “Hyperlink.”  In “text to display,” write the name of the web site, put the address in appropriate box and press “ok.”
  8. When converting a course outline to PDF, be sure the format is still accessible (refer to Document Accessibility for tips).