Want to know the workload of a class before you commit to an entire semester? Duke Student Government’s new syllabus bank may be your golden ticket.

The initiative was launched by DSG's Academic Affairs Committee in the Fall semester, with the bank going live last month. As of Thursday, the archive provides access to more than 300 files from courses taught during previous semesters, and will continue to be updated throughout the semester.

“The idea had kind of been floated around for a while, and last year I made it one of my big goals as vice president of academic affairs and I talked to administration about it,” said junior Sean Bissell, DSG vice president of academic affairs.

Located on Duke’s Box, a cloud storage service, the syllabus bank is accessible to all current Duke faculty, staff and students. Syllabi are organized into 55 folders according to class. The economics, public policy, chemistry and biology folders currently contain the most syllabi.

“When you’re registering for classes, it’s really helpful to know what to expect from a class based on professors and stuff,” said sophomore Shreya Bhatia, a senator for academic affairs. 

Bissell echoed the goal of the project, noting that students who are warned by their academic advisers to balance the workload of their classes often face difficulty determining what their semester might actually look like.

Although the archive contains hundreds of syllabi, it is not fully comprehensive and some departments have zero files uploaded. For example, the bank lacks syllabi for classes in documentary studies, gender, sexuality, and feminist studies and ocean and earth studies.

“It’s not done," Bhatia said. "We’re going to hopefully keep adding to it and making sure that there are no repeat syllabi."

Students are encouraged to submit syllabi to dukesyllabusarchive@gmail.com.

“I can’t stress enough for everyone to send in old syllabi. That’s how we keep this current for all Duke students,” Bissell noted. “It’s going to be updated throughout the semester as more syllabi come in.” 

As noted by Bhatia, the committee’s ultimate goal is to get every syllabus from every semester for every class.

“Last time I checked, we had uploaded 300 syllabi, and we have more to upload that have been sent, so we’ve been working diligently to do that as well,” Bissell said.