Class and Classroom Scheduling Policy


The goal of class and classroom scheduling is to make the most efficient and effective use of instructional days and classroom space to support the academic mission of Syracuse University.

Policy updated: June 2012

I. Class Scheduling

Class Scheduling Objectives

  • Maintain a traditional MWF 55-minute and TTh 80-minute class meeting pattern, but with additional 80-minute meeting times on MW and WF, to accommodate pedagogical preferences of faculty.
  • Minimize time conflicts in class offerings to facilitate students’ registration both for required courses and for inter-disciplinary sampling of courses.
  • Create continuous time periods for faculty research, writing, consultation, and student advising.
  • Comply with NYS instructional contact hour requirements.
  • Apply scheduling policies in a consistent and equitable manner across departments and colleges, while maintaining flexibility to accommodate special needs and circumstances.
  • Allow for exceptions deemed to be in the University’s best interests by the Vice Chancellor.

Class Scheduling Policies

All Syracuse University classes, undergraduate and graduate, with start times from 8:00 am to 8:15 pm must adhere to the standard schedule, with the exception of College of Law classes, classes offered in an online format only, classes taught off-campus (any physical instructional location outside Onondaga county, or a location within Onondaga county not owned, leased, or rented by Syracuse University), summer classes, and classes for which an exception has been approved. However, even classes that are not required to adhere to the standard schedule are expected to adhere to the overall scheduling goal and objectives.

All classes are expected to meet the minimum New York State Dept. of Education (NYSED) course contact requirement and SU guidelines.

NYSED contact minute requirement

The New York State Education Department defines a credit hour as 50 minutes of contact per week for 15 weeks, i.e., 750 minutes/1 credit per semester, 2250 minutes/3 credits per semester. Final exams as well as lectures, recitations, discussions, and labs may be counted toward the total. NYSED requires at least 30 hours of supplementary assignments per credit hour.

Senate Committee on Curricula Guidelines

The Senate Committee on Curricula suggests the following guidelines for calculating how much time students will spend on the course:

  • In Class: 50 minutes/week/credit hour
  • Preparation for Class: 100 minutes/week/credit hour
  • Lab or Studio: 150 minutes/week/credit hour

1. Standard Class Hours and Meeting Patterns
The approved standard class meeting patterns are as follows:

  • A. 55-minute class pattern: The 55-minute class pattern is MWF. There are five 55-minute blocks.  The last two are embedded in a standard 80-minute block.
M W F  8:25am-  9:20am  9:30am-10:25am 10:35am-11:30am  11:40am-12:35pm  11:40am-12:35pm
  • B. 80-minute class patterns: The 80-minute class patterns are TTh, MW, and WF. There are sixteen 80-minute blocks.
T Th 8:00am–
2:00pm–3:20pm  3:30pm–4:50pm 5:00pm–6:20pm 6:30pm–7:50pm 8:00pm–9:20pm
M W 8:00am–9:20am 12:45pm
2:15pm–3:35pm 3:45pm–5:50pm 5:15pm–6:35pm 6:45pm–8:05pm 8:15pm–9:35pm
W F 8:00am–9:20am 12:45pm
2:15pm   –3:35pm 3:45pm–5:50pm
  • C. One-day class patterns: Undergraduate and graduate classes meeting once per week must start and end at standard times.
  • D. Meeting patterns for classes of four or more credits: Courses of four or more credits may meet in one of several combinations, e.g., two 55-minute periods and two 80-minute periods, but all should be combinations of standard meeting times.

2. Distribution of 80-minute Classes Across the Week
For 80-minute undergraduate classes, schools/colleges are expected to equitably distribute classes across the week as follows.

M W  T Th W F
35% 45% 20%

* Distribution requirements, which were determined based on the number of 80-minute time blocks and their distribution across the week (MW, TTh, WF) will be reviewed periodically

3. Distribution of Classes Across the Day
Schools/colleges are expected to offer 55- and 80-minute undergraduate-level classes, including 500-level classes, evenly across the day to prevent the bunching of courses between 9:30 am and 3:30 pm.

4. Special Scheduling Considerations

  • Undergraduate classes, except for labs, studios, practicums, and capstone or seminar courses, may not have meeting periods longer than 80-minutes without approval.
  • Classes for first year students with enrollments of more than 50 must have an associated recitation or discussion section of no more than 25 students.
  • Only special topics, cross-listed, and double-numbered classes may meet together.
  • In assigning classes to faculty, schools/colleges are encouraged to accommodate special family-related needs of faculty.
  • Efforts should be made to assign 55-minute and 80-minute classes equitably among faculty.

5. Exceptions
All classes are expected to conform to the above requirements. Requests for exceptions are subject to the approval of the dean of the school/college (or his or her designee) in which the department resides, with final approval of the Vice Chancellor and Provost (or his or her designee). Exceptions are specific to the reason for which they are requested and the specific class for which they are approved. Scheduling of a class for which an exception has been approved is subject to classroom availability.

Once approved, an exception will remain in effect until the approved end date. Any change in the nature of the exception or an extension of the end date will require submission of a new request.

Procedure for requesting exceptions:

  1. The department chair submits the exception request to the dean (or his or her designee) for review and approval.
  2. Approved requests are submitted to the Vice Chancellor and Provost and must be received no later than three weeks before the final class schedule is due.
  3. The Vice Chancellor and Provost (or his or her designee) reviews the requests.
  4. The Registrar’s Office notifies the dean (or his or her designee) whether the request has been approved or denied by the Vice Chancellor and Provost (or his or her designee).

Only in unusual and compelling circumstances will exceptions be approved for classes that:

  • Overlap or encroach on a standard time block.
  • Bunch additional classes between 9:30 am and 3:30 pm.
  • Embed a 55-minute class within a 80-minute time block. This option will primarily be reserved for particular departments offering 4-credit classes in a 55-minute meeting pattern. Although such embedding “works” from a scheduling perspective, it has the potential to create scheduling conflicts for students taking courses across disciplines or colleges. This is of particular concern for students pursuing dual programs or minors.
  • Are lower division and request a three-hour time block.


The effectiveness of the class scheduling policies in meeting the class scheduling objectives will be reviewed periodically by the Vice Chancellor and Provost.

II. Classroom Scheduling

Classroom Scheduling Objectives

  • Match instructional needs with appropriate technology and specialized equipment
  • Match pedagogy with classroom size and configuration
  • Maximize efficiency in terms of available seats in classroom and enrollment
  • Maximize efficiency of use throughout the semester
  • Meet disability accommodations needs
  • Assign, to the extent possible, classes to classrooms in the academic department’s home building or in buildings geographically close to the home building
  • Give priority to academic uses and accommodate non-academic uses as possible

Classroom Scheduling Policies

Less than half of the spaces that are used for instructional purposes have been designated as “registrar classrooms.” The pool of registrar classrooms cannot, therefore, meet the instructional needs of the University. Departments with captive space are expected to use that space to meet instructional needs as necessary.

For the fall and spring semesters, the Registrar’s Office assigns, reviews, and adjusts classroom assignments, in consultation with academic units and faculty. University College handles these functions for summer sessions.

At its discretion and subject to specific requirements, the Registrar’s Office may delegate the ability to schedule classrooms in a specific building to the sole academic college or department in that building. When scheduling capability has been delegated, the Registrar’s Office expects that all of the school’s/college’s/department’s classes will be scheduled within that building, and all instructional space across all time blocks will be utilized. Classroom space outside the building, except for technology-enabled classrooms, will not be assigned unless this requirement has been met and will receive low priority until six weeks prior to the start of early registration for the next fall/spring semester. Classroom space in the building that has not been scheduled six weeks prior to the start of early registration for the next fall/spring/summer semester may be scheduled for other departments by the Registrar’s Office or, in summer, by University College.

Classroom assignments are not done on a first-come, first-served basis. Groups of classes are reviewed in the following order:

  1. Classes meeting in a standard meeting patterns, then
  2. Classes meeting one day per week for 2 hours and 45 minutes, then
  3. Discussions and recitations, then
  4. Classes approved for a meeting pattern exception.

The following factors are given priority:

  • Class size and seating capacity
  • Special facility and/or technology needs
  • Geographic proximity to the academic department’s home building

Note: Room assignments are not confirmed until the first day of classes. Classes assigned to a classroom may be relocated at any time before or after the start of a term to meet disability accommodations for a registered student.

Priority for registrar classrooms is given to the academic and instructional needs of the University. Once the process of assigning classrooms to classes has occurred, registrar classrooms may be available for other uses. Student groups and organizations or departments and colleges requesting a classroom for non-academic purposes submit requests to Student Centers and Programming Services (SCPS) .


The effectiveness of the classroom scheduling policies in meeting the classroom scheduling objectives will be reviewed periodically by the Vice Chancellor and Provost.