A fundamental principle for any educational institution, academic integrity is highly valued and seriously regarded at The University of Texas at Austin. More specifically, you and other students are expected to maintain absolute integrity and a high standard of individual honor in scholastic work undertaken at the University. This is a very basic expectation that is further reinforced by the University's Honor Code. At a minimum, you should complete any assignments, exams, and other scholastic endeavors with the utmost honesty, which requires you to:
- acknowledge the contributions of other sources to your scholastic efforts;
- complete your assignments independently unless expressly authorized to seek or obtain assistance in preparing them;
- follow instructions for assignments and exams, and observe the standards of your academic discipline; and
- avoid engaging in any form of academic dishonesty on behalf of yourself or another student.
For the official policies on academic integrity and scholastic dishonesty, please refer to Chapter 11 of the Institutional Rules on Student Services and Activities.
Why Is Academic Integrity So Important?
One significant reason concerns the University's educational mission. Quite simply, educational objectives cannot be meaningfully fulfilled without strict adherence to the standard of academic integrity. Acts of academic dishonesty not only undermine the learning process and disadvantage students who earn credit honestly, but also subvert key responsibilities of the academic enterprise, such as the assessment and certification of students' scholastic progress and claimed educational achievements. Too costly to ignore, these and other consequences of academic dishonesty clearly underscore the importance of academic integrity.
Upholding this standard of conduct is also a minimal requirement for "a university of the first class," the honored distinction envisioned for our institution by the authors of the Texas Constitution of 1876. Many impressive accomplishments have earned that status over time and continue to do so, such as the University's distinguished efforts in developing and advancing knowledge. All participantsincluding studentsmust rigorously and consistently observe an exemplary standard of academic integrity in their contributions to this complex, interdependent process that cannot function effectively in the absence of honesty.
So, as vital members of the University community, you and other students share a vested interest in striving to achieve and maintain a prevailing norm of academic integrity on this campus.
What is Academic Dishonesty?
In promoting a high standard of academic integrity, the University broadly defines academic dishonesty—basically, all conduct that violates this standard, including any act designed to give an unfair or undeserved academic advantage, such as:
- Unauthorized Collaboration / Collusion
- Falsifying Academic Records
- Misrepresenting Facts (e.g., providing false information to postpone an exam, obtain an extended deadline for an assignment, or even gain an unearned financial benefit)
- Multiple submissions (e.g., submitting essentially the same written assignment for two courses without authorization to do so)
- Any other acts (or attempted acts) that violate the basic standard of academic integrity
Several types of Academic dishonesty—unauthorized collaboration, plagiarism, and multiple submissions—are discussed in more detail on this Web site to correct common misperceptions about these particular offenses and suggest ways to avoid committing them.
For the University's official definition of academic dishonesty, see Section 11-402, Institutional Rules on Student Services and Activities.
Consequences of Academic Dishonesty Can Be Severe!
You may see or hear of other students engaging in some form of academic dishonesty. If so, do not assume that this misconduct is tolerated. Such violations are, in fact, regarded very seriously, often resulting in severe consequences.
Grade-related penalties are routinely assessed ("F" in the course is not uncommon), but students can also be suspended or even permanently expelled from the University for scholastic dishonesty.
Other potential consequences can be particularly far-reaching, such as the creation of a disciplinary record that may very well impact future opportunities.
Furthermore, incidents of scholastic dishonesty diminish the overall value of scholastic achievements on this campus and reflect poorly on the University.
When grades on assignments and exams reflect dishonest efforts rather than legitimate accomplishments, the academic progress of those students cannot be measured accurately and, in turn, any degrees awarded to them cannot reliably or fully attest to their actual scholastic achievements. The potential consequences of fraudulent credentials raise additional concerns for individuals and communities beyond campus who rely on institutions of higher learning to certify students' academic achievements, and expect to benefit from the claimed knowledge and skills of their graduates.
The value of a University of Texas degree is also inherently connected to the prestige of this institution and its academic units—colleges and schools, departments and individual degree programs. So the accrued costs of any damage to their earned reputations can adversely affect you and other students who someday will compete for jobs and/or admission into graduate programs or professional schools.
Altogether, these and other concerns reinforce and assure the University's serious interest in confronting academic dishonesty and holding students accountable for any such violations.
Avoiding Academic Dishonesty
This section provides additional information to assist you in avoiding scholastic dishonesty—general tips as well as basic guidelines concerning paraphrasing, notetaking and proofreading, borrowing material from electronic documents, and acknowledging and citing sources.