Creating a Syllabus

The term syllabus refers to a written course description that provides the course objectives, assignments and schedule. The syllabus serves as a contract between the faculty member and the student, outlining expectations and requirements for successful completion of the course. Included in a syllabus is a disability statement.

Essential Elements of an Accessible Syllabus

  • Basic Information: Course title, course number, number of credits, current year and term, meeting time and location, your name, location of your office and office phone number, email address, office hours, appointment times, information on teaching assistants, and a syllabus disability statement
  • Prerequisites: Classes, skills, and information required prior to enrolling in course
  • Course Objective: Information to be covered, general themes, and course activities
  • Learning Objectives: A precise statement(s) linking subject matter and student performance. The objective includes competencies, skills, and knowledge students should acquire by the end of the course.
  • Textbooks/Readings: Titles, authors, editions, and local book retailers. You should always attempt to order textbooks for which electronic format is available. For information on available alternate format of a book, contact the publisher.
  • Course Schedule: Supply a schedule of events; include discussion topics, exam dates, assignments, and readings to be completed for each day
  • Additional Required Materials: Any additional course material, such as calculator or art supplies, that the student has to buy to successfully complete the course. Information on such materials needs to be as detailed and specific as possible.
  • Grades: Describe how you are going to calculate the grades and give an explanation of what is required to receive a particular grade
  • Course Policies: Specify how you deal with tardiness, absences, late assignments, test/assignment make-ups, and academic misconduct

This document is cited from The Ohio State University Partnership Grant, Improving the Quality of Education for Students with Disabilities

Syllabus Disability Statement

"A disability statement opens the lines of communication making the student feel more comfortable approaching faculty to disclose their disability and need for accommodation."
—Jennifer Aaron, student self-advocate

Disability Statement Definition

A statement placed on course syllabus indicating a faculty member's willingness to provide reasonable accommodations to a student with a disability.


The statement should be an invitation to students who have disabilities to meet with the faculty member, in a confidential environment, to review course requirements and to discuss their need for accommodations. Establishing reasonable accommodations should be considered on a case-by-case basis because of the functional limitations of each individual and the specific demands of the course will vary.


  • The accommodation process should be one of collaboration between student and instructor with support from the Learning Support Services (LSS)
  • Students already working with LSS have provided the office with documentation of their disability. Faculty should not ask the student for documentation. However, they can request that a report from LSS be sent to verify the accommodation(s) required.
  • A statement on the syllabus and an announcement in class normalizes the accommodation process by treating it as just another part of the course
  • The statement can be altered to meet the specific needs of your department/courses
  • It is recommended that instructors for multiple section courses and labs come to an agreement on the syllabus statement used

Please help support our students with permanent as well as temporary conditions by including a disability statement in your syllabus:

Services and accommodations are available to students covered under the Americans with Disabilities Act. Any student who feels she/he may need an accommodation based on the impact of a permanent or temporary condition should contact Learning Support Services to discuss specific needs. Please contact Kim Garrett, Director of Learning Support Service for Students with Disabilities, 503-352 2171, via email at, or stop by the office (Clark 226) to coordinate reasonable accommodations.  It is extremely important that you begin this process at the beginning of the semester. Please do not wait until the first test or paper.