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What is Academic Misconduct?

Academic misconduct at the University of Toronto is defined by the Code of Behaviour on Academic Matters. Generally, academic misconduct is any behaviour, intentional or otherwise, that gives a student unearned or unfair advantage in academic work over other students.

As a student, you alone are responsible for ensuring the integrity of your work and for understanding what constitutes an academic offence. Not knowing the University’s expectations is not an excuse. Educate yourself!

The Code divides academic offences into nine categories:

  1. Altering, forging or falsifying documents other than academic records (B.I.1.a)
  2. Possession or use of unauthorized aids (B.I.1.b)
  3. Impersonation (B.I.1.c)
  4. Plagiarism (B.I.1.d)
  5. Submission of work for which credit has previously been obtained (B.I.1.e)
  6. Submission of work containing purported statement(s) of fact or reference(s) to concocted sources (B.I.1.f)
  7. Altering, forging or falsifying an academic record (B.I.3.a)
  8. Any other misconduct to obtain academic credit or advantage (B.I.3.b)
  9. Assisting another student in committing an offence (B.II.1.a)

Each offence can involve different types of behaviour, including, but not limited to:

Behaviour Example(s)


(Altering or falsifying any documentation required by the University, including medical notes.)

  • Changing a date on an old medical note because you are too sick to get a new one. This is a form of fraud!
  • Altering a graded assignment and submitting it for re-grading.
  • Altering or falsifying an academic record/transcript from a different institution.

Possession of an unauthorized aid

(Having an unauthorized aid on you in any test or exam—even if you do not use it or it is turned off.)

  • Cell phone
  • Calculator that is not allowed by the exam
  • iPod
  • “Study” notes (unless allowed by the exam)
  • Dictionary (unless allowed by the exam)
  • Notes: you are allowed at exams to put these kinds of small items in a resealable bag on the floor under your desk if you then do not touch the items.

Unauthorized aid or assistance

  • Working too closely with another student on an individual assignment so that the end result is too similar.
  • Receiving any “editing” help that results in the work no longer being your own.
  • Using a past assignment as a template.
  • Copying someone else's answers on a test, exam, lab report or other assignment.


(Pretending to be someone else or using their credentials, or the reverse.)

  • Taking a test for your friend.
  • Asking a friend to take a test for you.
  • Using someone else’s iClicker.
  • Signing an attendance sheet for a friend who is not there.


(Presenting the work, ideas, or words of another as your own, even if by accident.)

  • Using an idea without including a reference to the source.
  • Copying material without enclosing it within quotation marks.
  • Copying material with a few words changed, or used in different order without acknowledgement. This is not paraphrasing (learn how to properly paraphrase).
  • Submitting a purchased paper or an assignment written by someone else.
  • On a test/exam, reproducing material memorized from a source (e.g. book, website, lecture slides) without quotation marks and/or acknowledgement.

Unauthorized resubmission

(Submitting work you have submitted before without obtaining permission from your instructor.)

  • Reusing a paper you wrote for a course last year in a course you are taking this year.
  • Submitting the same paper for two courses.


(Including false or misleading references in your work or making up “facts”.)

  • Copying material from an online source like Wikipedia but citing a scholarly journal instead of your real source.
  • Inventing a reference because you forgot or lost track of the true source.
  • Using imaginary data rather than observed data in a lab report.

Falsifying an academic record

  • Altering a ROSI record or transcript in any way.
  • Omitting information from an academic record.

Assisting another student to commit an offence

  • Letting your friend see your completed assignment so that he/she can “compare answers” with yours.
  • Leaving your test paper visible so your friend can copy answers.
  • Posting the content of a test, examination, assignment, or lab report on a chat group, social networking site, or by any other means.

Other forms of cheating or misconduct

(Doing anything to gain unearned academic advantage.)

  • Smuggling in a pre-written answer booklet into a test/exam.
  • Continuing to work on an test/exam after being told to stop.
  • Lying about having submitted an essay electronically that never reaches your professor.
  • Misrepresenting the reasons for missing a test or examination, or for submitting work late.
  • Attempting to commit an offence.

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