The following guidelines are to assist qualified graduate students in the preparation and delivery of a successful seminar. The possibility of receiving General Education credit should make the Collegium of University Teaching Fellows seminars more attractive to a wide range of students, who will, in turn, bring a diversity of interests and backgrounds to each seminar. Please note that GE credit is not guaranteed, and is subject to the review and approval from the GE Governance Committee and the Undergraduate Council.

It is highly recommended that prospective fellows consult the General Education Submission Guidelines and Foundation Area GE Credit Guidelines for the desired foundation area to assist with developing a syllabus. In addition, all CUTF teaching fellows must participate in a workshop during Fall quarter that helps them refine their syllabi to apply for GE credit.

  • Seminar Content
    • Content of the course should be broad. This should be reflected in the breadth of the reading list.
    • Seminar content should be related to the graduate student’s dissertation research or advanced graduate work.
  • Seminar Audience
    • Seminars are intended for undergraduate students only and are specifically targeted to freshmen and sophomores.
    • The seminar is worth five units. Undergraduate students who enroll are expected to have 12 out-of-class hours per week in addition to the three class hours of student contact, i.e., the seminar.
    • Do not include any prior requirements for the seminar, e.g., “knowledge of a second language.”
    • Keep in mind this seminar may be their first introduction to your topic and that typical course workload for undergraduate students is less than that of graduate students.
    • Limit the seminar enrollment to about 16 students so as to insure active participation by all members.
  • Seminar Format
    • The seminar should provide an active learning format in which students can develop the ability to read critically and conceptually, and therefore to speak and write with discrimination.
    • Attendance may not be used as a class requirement. The CUTF Program recommends using class participation instead. Please note the difference between the attendance and participation and explain on the syllabus how a student would earn points for participation.
    • Limit lectures, guest lectures, field trips, and films so as to ensure that weekly discussions are at the heart of the seminar experience.
    • The seminar should require a substantial writing component, i.e., 12-15 pages for a final paper. In writing assignments it is usually best to provide for a “draft and rewrite” experience so that students can learn how to respond to supportive criticisms and can also experience the distance that usually has to be traveled between a draft and a polished paper.
    • Assign weekly core readings so that the seminar can focus on topics or documents that all students are prepared to discuss. Pose prompt questions from the readings in order to improve the quality of discussion. Assignment of formal presentations and critical comment may also be a useful strategy for stimulating discussion.
    • The seminar should provide insights into research methodology in the field, as well as an introduction to the meaning and excitement of research. The best results are usually obtained when students are obliged to define a topic for research early in the quarter and report on preliminary results by the fifth or sixth week.
  • Seminar syllabi must include the following elements:
    • Course objectives
    • A week-by-week breakdown for the 10 weeks
    • A substantial writing component, including scaffolded writing assignments laying the foundation to the final paper throughout the quarter
    • Weekly readings that address the core topic of the course
    • Clearly outlined assignments, which may include papers, projects, research, presentations, etc.
    • Clear grading rubrics related to assignments, participation, and papers

If you have any questions regarding the development of your syllabus, please reach out to CUTF Program Coordinator Alison Fedyna at afedyna@teaching.ucla.edu.

EXAMPLES OF PAST SUCCESSFUL SYLLABI