Skip to main content

Academic Misconduct Defined

Academic Misconduct

Academic misconduct, the term used for when individuals do not act with integrity in an academic setting, is defined in the Student Code of Conduct and Discipline.

quotation iconAcademic misconduct is an act by a student, or by students working on a team project, which may result in a false evaluation of the student(s), or which represents an attempt to unfairly gain an academic advantage, where the student either knew or ought reasonably to have known that it was misconduct. Whether or not a student intended to commit academic misconduct is not relevant for a finding of academic misconduct. Hurried or careless submission of assignments does not excuse students from responsibility for verifying the academic integrity of their work before submitting it.

Academic misconduct includes (but is not limited to):

These pages provide helpful information and resources to help you understand what academic misconduct is and how you can avoid it.

Types of Academic Misconduct


This involves using the thoughts, ideas, or writings of another person and passing them off as your own (adapted from the Oxford English Dictionary definition). It can involve taking credit for ideas that were not your own or using the words of others without properly citing them.


The most common form of cheating is looking at someone else’s work during an exam or test, but it can also involve most of the other types of misconduct listed here.


Self-plagiarism is submitting the same piece of work for more than one course without the instructor’s permission. You are not allowed to receive course credit for the same work twice. This means that you can’t use an essay from a course you took last year in one of your current courses, even if the topic is the same.

Impersonating Another Person in a Test or Exam

This includes having another person show up to write a test or exam in your place (or being the person who writes the test in someone else’s place), but it also includes having someone else write an online test for you (or taking an online test for someone else).

Buying or Otherwise Obtaining Term Papers or Assignments

If you submit work that someone else wrote, whether you paid for it or not, it is academic misconduct.

Falsifying, Misrepresenting or Forging an Academic Record or Supporting Document

This includes the materials that you submitted to the university when you applied for your program. If you are found to have changed, omitted, or forged any of those documents, your offer of admission can be revoked (even if you have begun your program already). Forging doctor’s notes is also considered to be academic misconduct.

Unauthorized Collaboration

Sometimes your instructors will require you work with others in the class (e.g., a group project) and sometimes they will want you to work on your own (e.g., for a take-home exam). When you work with others (for example, on an assignment) when the instructor expects you to work on your own, it is considered to be unauthorized collaboration. Different instructors have different expectations and it’s your responsibility to find out if you are allowed to work with others or if you are expected to complete the work on your own.

Use of Unauthorized Aids During a Test or Exam

Unauthorized aids include anything that has not been cleared with your instructors as being allowed during the exam. You are allowed to have only the items that you will need to write the exam with you at your desk, and all your other belongings will need to be placed at the front of the room (including your phone and computer). If you are caught using any type of unauthorized aid (whether it’s a cheat sheet or a smart watch) it is considered cheating. Before writing your exams, you should be familiar with the university regulations for final exams.

Improper Access/Obstruction of Materials/Systems

Improper access and/or obstruction of materials and systems involves hiding or destroying materials available to all (e.g. library or course materials), overloading an online or digital system to prevent the completion of an assignment or test, stealing a term paper or test, or improperly obtaining and then selling/distributing a term paper or test.

Distribution of Faculty Intellectual Property

Distribution of faculty intellectual property, either independently or through a third party, without the consent of the instructor/author is considered academic misconduct.