How to Write a Course Description: A Step-by-Step Guide (2024)

A course description is a crucial component of any educational program. It serves as an introduction to the course and provides students with an overview of what they can expect to learn. A well-written course description can be the deciding factor for many students when deciding which courses to take. In this article, we will take a step-by-step approach to guide you through the process of writing an effective course description.

Understanding the Importance of a Course Description

The role of a course description in student decision-making

When students are selecting courses, they typically look for courses that align with their interests, learning goals, and career aspirations. This is where a course description comes into play. It gives students a clear idea of what they can expect to learn from a specific course and whether it aligns with their expectations.

For example, a student who is interested in pursuing a career in marketing would be more likely to enroll in a course that has a course description that outlines topics such as advertising, market research, and consumer behavior. On the other hand, a student who is interested in pursuing a career in finance would be more likely to enroll in a course that has a course description that outlines topics such as financial analysis, investment strategies, and risk management.

Therefore, it is essential to ensure that your course description accurately reflects the course's content and aligns with the students' expectations.

How a well-written course description can improve course enrollment

Incorporating clear and concise language into your course description will attract and retain students' attention. This level of attention can translate into higher enrollment rates and, ultimately, increased success rates for your course.

A well-written course description should provide an overview of the course's content, learning objectives, and learning outcomes. It should also include information about the course format, such as whether it is online or in-person, the course duration, and the course prerequisites.

Additionally, a course description should highlight the unique features of the course, such as guest speakers, case studies, or hands-on learning experiences. This information can help students understand how the course will benefit them and what they can expect to gain from the course.

By including all of this information in your course description, you can improve the likelihood that students will enroll in your course. Students will have a better understanding of what the course entails, and they will be more likely to see how the course aligns with their interests, learning goals, and career aspirations.

Key Elements of an Effective Course Description

Course objectives and learning outcomes

Students want to know what they will gain from a specific course. This is why course objectives and learning outcomes are essential components of a course description. Outlining these elements in your course description can provide students with clarity and objectivity, which ultimately increases the chances of student enrollment.

Course content and structure

The course content and structure should be the backbone of your course description. It encompasses the topics, themes, and activities your students will engage in throughout the course. Develop a clear outline of the course content that will give students a comprehensive understanding of what they will learn. Break down the structure of the course in detail and specify the format of the lessons, including assignments, readings and assessments.

Teaching methods and assessment techniques

Students find it helpful when the teaching methods and assessment techniques align with their preferred learning style. These aspects of a course description are critical because they can help students know what to expect from the course, and how to succeed in it. Ensure you provide clarity on your preferred teaching methods and appropriate assessment techniques to avoid any confusion on these aspects of the course.

Prerequisites and target audience

It is essential to specify prerequisites and identify the target audience in your course description to save time and to ensure that the course content is suitable for specific students. Students need to know if they possess the required prerequisites before enrolling and whether the course is targeted towards a specific major, program of study, or academic level.

Course duration and workload

Students consider the duration of a course when making decisions. They need to know the time commitment required to successfully complete the course. Make sure to provide an estimated duration for the course and the overall workload that will be required of students while taking the course.

Step-by-Step Guide to Writing a Course Description

Step 1: Research and gather information

Gather all the information and resources required to design a course. Research your course topic extensively, identify current trends and developments in the field. Determine what skills or knowledge students require to succeed after the course.

Step 2: Define your course objectives and learning outcomes

Objectives determine what you want your students to learn, and learning outcomes will indicate how you measure student success. Outline clear objectives and learning outcomes to provide clarity on what students will gain from the course.

Step 3: Outline the course content and structure

Develop a comprehensive course curriculum to provide an overview of the course structure. Your students must be able to use this structure to understand the course sequence effectively.

Step 4: Describe the teaching methods and assessment techniques

Identify your preferred teaching methods throughout the course and outline the various assessment techniques that you will use to measure student success. This step should add clarity and objectivity to your course description, helping students to decide if the course fits their preferred learning style.

Step 5: Specify prerequisites and target audience

Specify any prerequisites required to enrol and identify the target audience. This step will help students confirm their eligibility to enrol for the course and determine if the class is appropriate for their academic level, major or program of study.

Step 6: Determine course duration and workload

Determine the estimated duration of the course and the overall workload required of students. This step is crucial as it enables students to make informed decisions on their course load and schedules.

Step 7: Write a concise and engaging course description

Write a concise and engaging course description, incorporating the information gathered from steps 1 to 6. Use clear and concise language, write in an engaging and active writing style, and avoid using jargon.

Step 8: Review and revise your course description

Take time to review and revise the course description, ensuring it aligns with the curriculum, teaching style, and learning outcomes. Ensure that the course is engaging and helps the student understand what is expected of them when they enroll in your course.


The article has outlined each step of the process of writing an effective course description. Remember to research extensively and include all necessary details such as learning outcomes, teaching methods, assessment techniques, course content, and objectives to provide value to your students. With this guide, you can confidently write a course description that meets the expectations of your students, and ultimately leads to course success!

How to Write a Course Description: A Step-by-Step Guide (2024)
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