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Newark, DE 19716
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Reference Guide to Academic Integrity

Students at the University of Delaware are expected to be honest and forthright in their academic endeavors. It is the official policy of the University of Delaware that all acts or attempted acts of alleged academic dishonesty be reported to the Office of Student Conduct for disposition within the University Undergraduate Student Conduct System.

Following is an explanation of the University's policy and general procedures for handling undergraduate student cases of academic dishonesty. All graduate student infractions should be referred to the Assistant Provost for Graduate Studies. For additional information, refer to the Student Guide to University Policies.



Encouraging academic honesty among students

  1. Include a statement in the course syllabus regarding academic honesty as it relates to that particular course.

  2. Discuss the issue of cheating, academic misconduct, fabrication, and plagiarism at the beginning of each semester and before examinations.

  3. In assigning term papers, discuss the issue of plagiarism, make certain that students understand referencing requirements, the specific extent of collaboration on class/term projects, assign specific topics and set a time limit.

  4. Give essay tests, instead of multiple-choice tests, when appropriate and where class size permits.

  5. When using proctors, more than one should be present for over forty students. Instruct proctors about their responsibilities during exams.

  6. Require positive identification from students (University student identification card, driver's license) when students enter the classroom to take an examination or when they turn in their answer sheets if the students are not familiar to you. This is particularly important in large size classes.

  7. Have each student sign his/her answer sheet. Signatures can be compared if a question arises over who actually took the examination.

  8. Keep examinations in a secure location, e.g., locked desks, locked files, etc. Faculty offices may not be a secure location for examinations.

  9. All waste copies of an examination should be destroyed.

  10. Number exams and count the number distributed and returned.

  11. Alternate forms of the same examination, particularly with short answer examinations, should be administered during the test period. Color-coding of the alternate forms will emphasize the difference.

  12. When bluebooks are used for examinations, faculty should collect the bluebooks from students and redistribute them before the examination begins.

  13. The question of whether or not students may have materials in their possession, e.g., books, notes, scrap paper, calculators, programmable portable computers, should be specified before the examination by the faculty member. Scrap papers should be turned in with the examination so that information related to the examination may not be taken from the classroom. Faculty members may wish to supply the scrap paper as a part of the examination packet.

  14. Design a pre-arranged seating plan or sign-in sheet by seat number, so that the location of each student may be determined.

  15. Students should be seated so that at least one seat exists between students during an examination, if possible.


Protecting oneself from being charged with academic dishonesty

  1. Familiarize yourself with the University's Code of Conduct, especially for information regarding academic dishonesty.

  2. Check each course syllabus for information regarding academic dishonesty. Faculty members may have additional information beyond the University's standards. If you cannot find a written section in the syllabus, ask the faculty member what his/her expectations are.

  3. Prepare yourself thoroughly for examinations and assignments.

  4. Take the initiative to prevent other students from copying your exam or assignments by shielding your work. In exams, if you feel someone is trying to copy from you, ask the proctor if you may move.

  5. Do not look around, particularly in the direction of other students' papers, during an exam since it may appear you are trying to copy from others.

  6. Do not make any marks on a graded exam if there is any chance you may submit it for a re-grade. Make notations on a separate paper.

  7. Do not share assignments you have finished to other students. Do not leave your finished assignments in a place where another student might be able to copy them.

  8. Do not share your current or former assignments, projects, papers, etc. with other students to use as guides for their work. Such a practice could lead to claims of collaboration if another student lifts part of all your work. Sometimes friendly assistance may escalate into claims of blatant dishonesty.

  9. If you are allowed to take materials into a testing site, make sure no notes or materials are exposed or accessible that could cause one to believe you are using unauthorized aids.

  10. Should there be any doubt, clarify with your instructor how much collaboration, if any, is permitted or expected when working on projects or assignments with other students.

  11. When working on a collaborative exercise, complete all written assignments individually unless the instructor specifically tells you otherwise.

  12. Acknowledge the contributions of other students on collaborative projects by citing their name(s) on all written work turned into the instructor.

  13. When completing take-home exams, do not collaborate with other persons unless approved by the instructor.

  14. Consult with the University Writing Center, talk with your professor, or use a recognized handbook for instruction on citing source materials.

  15. Protect your computer login identifications and passwords. Other students could use them to access your work and subsequently implicate you in a cheating case.

  16. Know that it is risky to electronically copy or transmit a computer program or file to other students. You could be implicated in a cheating incident if someone alters that program and submits it as their own work.

  17. Do not allow anyone to copy or use your computer diskette.

  18. Check with your instructor and get permission before turning in a paper or project you submitted in another course.

  19. Do not use previous papers, lab reports, or assignments used in a course with the intention of copying parts or all of the material.

  20. Keep rough drafts and copies of your work since other students may get access to your work and attempt to claim it as their own.

  21. Keep your student identification card in your possession or secured. Never loan your identification to anyone.

  22. Encourage honesty amoung other students.

  23. Refuse to assist students who cheat.


As faculty and students may already know, students can purchase, borrow, steal, and re-use various papers, essays, and other materials from the Internet. With today's technology and resources, faculty and staff are easily able to find information on the Internet and determine if assignments have been plagiarized. Therefore, students should never use documents off of the Internet without properly citing their sources.


Test your knowledge and understanding of academic dishonesty by answering the following questions. If you have questions about academic integrity please consult any of the campus resources listed on this page or the Office of Student Conduct.

Read each scenario below and the possible choices. Choose the most appropriate answer.

  1. You are given a take home exam and are given strict instructions not to use your notes and not to collaborate with anyone on the assignment. You are having difficulty figuring out the answer to a couple of problems. Your roommate is in the class as well, and you discuss the problems with him/her.

    1. Your behavior constitutes academic dishonesty but since it's so unlikely that you will get caught, your actions are no big deal.
    2. There is no problem with this scenario.
    3. You are guilty of cheating for collaborating with another person without authorization.
    4. The exam was extremely difficult, and you know that everyone worked on the test together so you feel that your actions are justified.

  2. You are working on an exam in class when the professor says the exam is finished. You continue to work on the exam.

    1. You are guilty of academic misconduct for continuing to work on an assignment after the allotted time has elapsed.
    2. You arrived to class 10 minutes late and plan to continue to work for an extra 10 minutes so that you have the same amount of time as everyone else. After all, this is only fair!
    3. The person next to you continued to work so you felt entitled to do the same! What is good for one should be good for all.
    4. This is not academic misconduct.

  3. You are working on a paper and the majority of the research you've done is from the Web. You find a paper that is very similar to the on you are working on. You decide to use one full page from the internet paper, word for word. The rest of your paper is original work.

    1. Technically this is plagiarism but since it is only one page, it is not that big of a deal. You should not be punished.
    2. This is not academic dishonesty.
    3. You are guilty of plagiarism.
    4. This would not have been a problem if you simply listed the source on the works cited page.

  4. You are preparing a lab report and are not coming up with what you know to be the correct answers. You continue to figure out your calculations hoping that you have just made a calculation mistake. After a few tries, you determine that the problem just isn't working out. You decide to fudge some of the numbers so that you get what you know to be the correct answer.

    1. You are not guilty of academic misconduct.
    2. You believe that if the professor realizes that you falsified the numbers to get the correct answer, he/she will understand that you at least tried and that is all that counts. You should not be punished.
    3. You are guilty of fabrication.
    4. This course has nothing to do with your future career goals so what is the sense of mastering the course!
1. C; 2. A; 3. C; 4. C


It is the student's responsibility to understand the expectations of faculty members. If you require assistance with a course, contact:


Plagiarism is the inclusion of someone else's words, ideas, images or data as one's own work. When a student submits work for credit that includes the words, ideas or data of others, the source of that information must be acknowledged through complete, accurate, and specific references and, if verbatim statements are included, through quotation marks as well. By placing his/her name on work submitted for credit, the student certifies the originality of all work not otherwise identified by appropriate acknowledgments. Plagiarism covers unpublished as well as published sources. Examples of plagiarism include but are not limited to:

  1. Quoting another person's actual words, complete sentences or paragraphs, or entire piece of written work without acknowledgment of the source.

  2. Using another person's ideas, opinions, or theory even if it is completely paraphrased in one's own words, without acknowledgment of the source.

  3. Borrowing facts, statistics or other illustrative materials that are not clearly common knowledge without acknowledgment of the source.

  4. Copying another student's essay test answers.

  5. Copying, or allowing another student to copy, a computer file that contains another student's assignment, and submitting it, in part or in its entirety, as one's own.

  6. Working together on an assignment, sharing the computer files and programs involved, and then submitting individual copies of the assignment as one's own individual work.
When in doubt about rules concerning plagiarism, students are urged to consult with individual faculty members, academic departments, or recognized handbooks in their field.

Fabrication is the use of invented information or the falsification of research or other findings. Fabrication includes but is not limited to:

  1. Citation of information not taken from the source indicated. This may include the incorrect documentation of secondary source materials.

  2. Listing sources in a bibliography that are not directly used in the academic exercise.

  3. Submission in a paper, thesis, lab report or other academic exercise of falsified, invented, or fictitious data or evidence, or deliberate and knowing concealment or distortion of the true nature, origin or function of such data or evidence.

  4. Submitting as your own any academic exercises (e.g., written work, printing, sculpture) prepared totally or in part by another.
Cheating is an act or an attempted act of deception by which a student seeks to misrepresent that he/she has mastered information on an academic exercise that he/she has not mastered. Cheating includes but is not limited to:
  1. Copying from another student's test paper.

  2. Allowing another student to copy from a test paper.

  3. Unauthorized use of course textbook or other material such as a notebook to complete a test or other assignment.

  4. Collaborating on a test, quiz or other project with any other person(s) without authorization.

  5. Using or possessing specifically prepared materials during a test, e.g., notes, formula lists, notes written on the student's clothing, that are not authorized.

  6. Using electronic instruments, such as cell phones, pagers, etc., to share information, when prohibited.

  7. Taking a test for someone else or permitting someone else to take a test for you.
Academic Misconduct
Academic misconduct is any other act that disrupts the educational process or provides a student with an academic advantage over another student. Academic misconduct includes but is not limited to:
  1. Stealing, buying or otherwise obtaining all or part of an unadministered test.

  2. Selling or giving away all or part of an unadministered test, including answers to an unadministered test.

  3. Bribing any other person to obtain an unadministered test, including answers to an unadministered test.

  4. Entering a building or office for the purpose of changing a grade in a grade book, on a test, or on other work for which a grade is given.

  5. Changing, altering or being an accessory to the changing and/or altering of a grade in a grade book, on a test, a "change of grade" form or other official academic records of the University which relate to grades.

  6. Entering a building or office for the purpose of obtaining an unadministered test.

  7. Continuing to work on an examination or project after the specified allotted time has elapsed.


Academic honesty and integrity lie at the heart of any educational enterprise. Students are expected to do their own work and neither to give nor to receive assistance during quizzes, examinations, or other class exercises.

Because faculty and students take academic honesty seriously, penalties for violations may be severe, depending upon the offense. Instructors will gladly explain procedures for taking tests, writing papers, and completing other course requirements so that students may understand fully their instructor's expectations.

  1. Review the evidence to ensure that there is sufficient evidence to warrant a charge of academic dishonesty. The staff of the Office of Student Conduct and the Assistant Provost for Graduate Studies are available to consult with faculty members on aspects of academic dishonesty.

  2. Faculty members may wish to directly confront the student with their suspicion. If the student is unable to satisfactorily explain the discrepancies, the faculty member should collect or acquire information regarding the violation and contact the Office of Student Conduct (for undergraduate students) or the Office of Graduate and Professional Education (for graduate students) to obtain instruction on how to proceed with bringing a charge of academic dishonesty. Contact should be made with these offices prior to selecting an option under the sanctions. The original copy of the assignment, test, or examination should be kept by the faculty member. A photocopy of the work must be made available for sharing with the charged student.

  3. If the alleged violation occurs before final grades for the semester have been submitted, the faculty member must assign the student an "I" grade to show incomplete work. This grade will remain until the alleged violation is adjudicated.


A range of possible sanctions exist for cases of academic dishonesty. In addition to an academic penalty (determined by the faculty member), disciplinary sanctions may also be applied.

It is important to understand that an Administrative Hearing Officer or Graduate Hearing Board cannot find a student responsible of academic dishonesty without a reasonable level of factual substantiation of the charge. The faculty member bringing the charge is responsible for demonstrating that a student was academically dishonest.

It is contrary to University policy for an instructor to assign a disciplinary grade such as an "F" or zero to an assignment, test, examination or other course work as a sanction for admitted or suspected academic dishonesty in lieu of formally charging the student with academic dishonesty under the University's Code of Conduct. Such an independent action violates the student's guaranteed legal right to due process and leaves the instructor vulnerable to a student grievance, an off-campus civil suit and possible disciplinary action by the University.

Similarly, students are prohibited from proposing and/or entering into an arrangement with an instructor to receive a grade of "F" or any reduced grade in a course or on an academic exercise in lieu of being charged with academic dishonesty under the Code of Conduct. Any student who commits, aids or attempts to commit any of the acts of misconduct listed in the Code of Conduct under Academic Honesty shall be subject to action under the Undergraduate or Graduate Student Judicial System.

Listed below are the options in which academic dishonesty charges can be filed. The actions listed within each option will not preclude additional sanctions. Students with past violations of the Academic Honesty Policy will be handled under Option C and in concert with other policies.

Option A
The faculty member may require the student to repeat any work affected by the academic violation. When the faculty member chooses to have the student repeat affected work, the faculty member may impose a grade penalty on that work. If the student chooses to request an Administrative Hearing, the academic penalties for a finding of "responsible" can be no more than those initially prescribed by the instructor.

Option B
The faculty member may issue the student a lower or failing grade on all or any portion of the work affected by the academic violation or a lower or failing grade in the course; or the faculty member may require that the student be withdrawn from the course. If the student chooses to request an Administrative Hearing, the academic penalties for a finding of "responsible" can be no more than those initially prescribed by the instructor.

Option C
The student will receive a failing grade in the class in which the offense occurred, and an "X" will be placed next to the "F" on the student’s University transcript, with an explanation on the transcript that the failure resulted from the student’s academic violation.

The student who wishes to remove the "X" from the transcript may complete a non-credit seminar at the University addressing the academic violation and the ethical and social ramifications of violations. A student who successfully completes this course may submit a request to the Office of Student Conduct or Office of Graduate and Professional Education to have the "X" removed from his or her transcript. All costs or fees associated with the seminar shall be paid by the student.


"It is every person's dream to be the best and to make their family proud, but to do [so] by the use of plagiarism, fabrication, cheating, or academic misconduct, [is to base one's career upon] a lie."

-Anonymous student, Academic Integrity Seminar, 2001

Students who are found responsible of an academic dishonesty violation are sanctioned to attend a nine-week, non-credit academic integrity seminar. Participants will learn about decision-making, integrity, ethics, morals, and character, social, and cognitive development. Participants will also reflect upon their own choices and actions related to their case of academic dishonesty. Upon successful completion of the seminar and payment of the administrative fees, and in the absence of any repetition of similar misconduct, students who received a sanction of an "X" notation on their transcript will have this notation removed and replaced with a grade of "F."

For further information about the seminar please contact the Office of Student Conduct at 831-2117.

"I had never cheated before, but I thought that since it was so simple to do and it did not take much of my effort, I would never get caught for the plagiarized paper. [The outcome of my case] is a hard thing to overcome because my sanction was not a small smack on the hand but rather a big slap in the face."

-Anonymous student, Academic Integrity Seminar, 2001

The contents of this page were adapted from "The Academic Honesty & Dishonesty" brochure produced by the Dean of Students Office, Louisiana State University, Baton Rough, Louisiana; the Kansas State University Undergraduate Honor Council; the University of Delaware Code of Conduct, Official Student Handbook.