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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 seven categories (broadly speaking):

  1. Forgery or falsification of documents
  2. Possession or use of unauthorized aids
  3. Impersonation
  4. Plagiarism
  5. Submission of work for which credit has previously been obtained
  6. Submission of work containing purported statement(s) of fact or reference(s) to concocted sources
  7. Assisting another student in committing an offence.

Behaviour that is considered an offence includes, but is not limited to:

Behaviour Example(s)


(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.
  • Submitting a purchased paper or an assignment written by someone else.

Unauthorized collaboration

(Working too closely with another student on an individual assignment so that the end result is too similar.)



(Including false or misleading references in your work.)

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

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.

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
  • Note: 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.


(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 your academic record/transcript.


(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.

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.
  • Trying something that would be an offence if carried out.

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.

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