Guidelines for Course Descriptions

For FS 101 and FS 102 descriptions, please see instead the guidelines for FS Course descriptions.

For all other course descriptions, please use the guidelines below:


  1. Use 100 words or fewer.
  2. Write in the present tense (e.g., “Students investigate…,” not “Students will investigate…”).
  3. Begin the description with a sentence fragment (e.g., “A study of…”)
  4. Do not include instructor names.
  5. Use the word “course” sparingly.
  6. Avoid rhetorical questions
  7. Avoid discipline-specific jargon or specialized terms unlikely to be understood by potential students.


  1. Provide a concise yet comprehensive summary of the course content.
  2. Do not include syllabus-level information likely to change over time (e.g., specific texts, software packages, field trips. etc.)
  3. Do include information about instructional formats other than lecture/discussion (lab, field work, etc.)