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Academic Honesty

Honesty and fairness are considered fundamental values shared by students, staff and faculty at the University of Toronto.  The University's policies and procedures that deal with cases of cheating,  plagiarism (representing someone else's work as your own), and other forms of academic misconduct are designed to maintain a community where competition is fair.

The vast majority of students are honest and hard-working.  But sometimes even honest people make bad decisions and accidents sometimes happen.  Even if you think you know the rules, double-check.  The consequences of not knowing the rules can be severe, and include failed courses, suspension, and in very serious cases permanent expulsion.

It is important to understand Academic Integrity, including an outline of students' rights and responsibilities.


Top Ten Recommendations for Academic Integrity 

From the Office of Student Academic Integrity

  1. Read Margaret Proctor's "How Not to Plagiarize" documents.  Many students think they know how to cite and reference properly when in fact they are still making serious mistakes.  Your college writing centre can also be very helpful.
  2. Familiarize yourself with the Code of Behaviour on Academic Matters - it outlines all the rules students must follow while at U of T.  You are expected to know these rules and follow them.
  3. Any idea you borrow from another source must be acknowledged with a precise reference (footnote, endnote, etc) and listed in your bibliography.  If you borrow words or phrases, they must also be placed within quotation marks.  It is better to have too many references in your paper than too few.
  4. If you are working with other students on lab reports or computer science projects, do not exchange answers or write your reports together.  A computer analysis is frequently done on submissions to detect similarities between reports.
  5. Do not use Wikipedia!  It is notoriously unreliable and is unacceptable for university level research.  If you use the internet, make sure your sources are reliable and scholarly, and that you know how to reference these sources accurately.
  6. If you are considering handing in an assignment that is similar to one you have previously submitted, consult your instructor.  It is an offence to submit work for which credit has already been given, or is being sought.
  7. Make sure you do not take any electronic devices into tests or examinations, including cell phones and MP3 players.  They are considered "unauthorized aids" and their possession is an offence at U of T examinations and tests.
  8. It is an offence to provide another student with unauthorized assistance, and this can include providing other students with copies of your assignments.  Protect your integrity - do not share your work with other students.
  9. If you find yourself strapped for time you can ask for an extension, accept the late penalty, or simply not submit the assignment.  It is far better to accept a reduced mark than to commit an academic offence so that you can meet  deadline.
  10. If in doubt about anything, consult your instructor, teaching assistant, registrar, or college writing centre for advice.  U of T has many services to assist students with life at university.