Skip to main content
U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government

Building Your Syllabus

The syllabus is the cornerstone of any college course and the first step toward class preparation. While Nilson (2010) identifies 23 recommended components of a syllabus, this guide will briefly focus on eight core areas:

  1. Course title
  2. Prerequisites
  3. Course description
  4. Learning objectives
  5. Textbooks and other reading materials
  6. Grading scale and rubrics
  7. University and class policies
  8. Course outline

Course Title

The Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS) defines community corrections as the supervision of criminal offenders in the resident population, as opposed to confining offenders in secure correctional facilities. Likewise, the National Institute of Justice (NIJ) defines community corrections as programs that oversee the supervision of offenders outside of jail or prison. Community corrections encompasses probation and parole but can also be broadened to include pretrial supervision. Probation is typically regarded as correctional supervision conducted in the community in lieu of incarceration, whereas parole represents supervised release in the community from a prison. The term community corrections may also be used in reference to halfway houses, day reporting centers, and work release programs.

Various course titles have been used across universities including Introduction to Community-Based CorrectionsAlternative to CorrectionsProbation and ParoleCommunity Corrections, or some variation thereof. Simply Introduction to Community Corrections would be sufficient.


Given the focus on introducing community corrections to undergraduate students, it is recommended that such a course is permitted to proceed immediately after completion of an Introduction to Criminal Justice class.