Members of the Harvard College community commit themselves to producing academic work of integrity – that is, work that adheres to the scholarly and intellectual standards of accurate attribution of sources, appropriate collection and use of data, and transparent acknowledgement of the contribution of others to our ideas, discoveries, interpretations, and conclusions. Cheating on exams or problem sets, plagiarizing or misrepresenting the ideas or language of someone else as one’s own, falsifying data, or any other instance of academic dishonesty violates the standards of our community, as well as the standards of the wider world of learning and affairs.
Students will be asked to affirm their awareness of the Honor Code and adherence to the standards of academic integrity at various points during the academic semester. The goal of this affirmation is to reinforce the centrality of scholarly integrity to students’ membership in our academic community, as well as to remind students that they have already agreed to adhere to these standards.
The Affirmation will take several forms, depending on the student’s status and particular assignments.
In the summer prior to arriving on campus first-year students will be asked to respond briefly to a prompt about how they will uphold the values of the Honor Code. Students will be able to access their statements throughout their time at Harvard and will have the opportunity to update and revise them periodically.
During the bi-annual electronic check-in registration process, all students will be asked to read the Honor Code and to sign their name indicating their awareness of the Code and adherence to the standards of academic integrity.
At seated final exams, all students will be asked to read and sign the following statement included on the exam attendance slip or printed on the exam itself: “I attest to the honesty of my academic work and affirm that it conforms to the standards of the Harvard College Honor Code.”
On all culminating assignments including final projects, take-home exams, and in-class finals, as well as on senior theses, students will be asked to include a statement of affirmation of the Honor Code at the time of submission. The following text is recommended: “I attest to the honesty of my academic work and affirm that it conforms to the standards of the Harvard College Honor Code.”
The College recognizes that the open exchange of ideas plays a vital role in the academic endeavor, as often it is only through discussion with others that one is fully able to process information or to crystallize an elusive concept. Therefore, students generally are encouraged to engage in conversations with their teachers and classmates about their courses, their research, and even their assignments. These kinds of discussions and debates in some ways represent the essence of life in an academic community. And yet, it is important for all scholars to acknowledge clearly when they have relied upon or incorporated the work of others. To ensure the proper use of sources while at the same time recognizing and preserving the importance of the academic dialogue, the Faculty of Arts and Sciences adopted the following policy:
It is expected that all homework assignments, projects, lab reports, papers, theses, and examinations and any other work submitted for academic credit will be the student’s own. Students should always take great care to distinguish their own ideas and knowledge from information derived from sources. The term “sources” includes not only primary and secondary material published in print or online, but also information and opinions gained directly from other people. Quotations must be placed properly within quotation marks and must be cited fully. In addition, all paraphrased material must be acknowledged completely. Whenever ideas or facts are derived from a student’s reading and research or from a student’s own writings, the sources must be indicated (see also Submission of the Same Work to More Than One Course below.)
Students must also comply with the policy on collaboration established for each course, as set forth in the course syllabus or on the course website. Policies vary among the many fields and disciplines in the College, and may even vary for particular assignments within a course. Unless otherwise stated on the syllabus or website, when collaboration is permitted within a course students must acknowledge any collaboration and its extent in all submitted work; however, students need not acknowledge discussion with others of general approaches to the assignment or assistance with proofreading. If the syllabus or website does not include a policy on collaboration, students may assume that collaboration in the completion of assignments is permitted. Collaboration in the completion of examinations is always prohibited.
The responsibility for learning the proper forms of citation lies with the individual student. Students are expected to be familiar with the Harvard Guide to Using Sources. Students who are in any doubt about the preparation of academic work should consult their instructor and Resident Dean before the work is prepared or submitted.
Students who, for whatever reason, submit work either not their own or without clear attribution to its sources will be subject to disciplinary action, up to and including requirement to withdraw from the College. Students who have been found responsible for any violation of these standards will not be permitted to submit a course evaluation of the course in which the infraction occurred.
It is the expectation of every course that all work submitted for a course or for any other academic purpose will have been done solely for that course or for that purpose. If the same or similar work is to be submitted to any other course or used for any other academic purpose within the College, the prior written permission of the instructor must be obtained. If the same or similar work is to be submitted to more than one course or used for more than one academic purpose within the College during the same term, the prior written permission of all instructors involved must be obtained. A student who submits the same or similar work to more than one course or for more than one academic purpose within the College without such prior permission is subject to disciplinary action, up to and including requirement to withdraw from the College.
Students are urged to consult their Resident Dean or the instructors involved with questions concerning this important matter (see also Plagiarism and Collaboration above).
In keeping with the principle that all material submitted to a course should be the student’s own work, any undergraduate who makes use of the services of a commercial tutoring school or term paper company is liable to disciplinary action. Students who sell lecture or reading notes, papers, or translations, or who are employed by a tutoring school or term paper company, are similarly liable and may be subject to disciplinary action, up to and including requirement to withdraw from the College. If a student wishes to accept compensation for private tutoring in Harvard courses, prior written permission of the Dean of the College is required.
Students should understand that providing false or misleading information or signing any other person’s name or initials on a Plan of Study, change-of-course petition, registration form, or on any other official form or petition (hard copy or electronic) will make them subject to disciplinary action, up to and including requirement to withdraw.