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Academic Integrity at the University of Pennsylvania

A Guide for Students

This guide provides:

Please familiarize yourself with this material before you begin work in your classes at Penn. Use it as a resource when you have questions, during your time here and beyond.

This guide does not, however, address all issues related to integrity in your work, as some of these are field-specific. In general, your instructor, research supervisor and department are important sources of information regarding your area of study, and you should consult them at every opportunity.

You are a student at the University of Pennsylvania because of your demonstrated intellectual ability and because of your potential to make a significant contribution to your area of study. In your time at Penn, you will have many opportunities to conduct research and produce scholarship. You will also face many challenges, both in completing your own work and in honestly engaging with the work of others.

Penn aims to graduate students who can communicate their expertise. Many of your assignments will require writing or oral presentations.  Many others will require research in libraries and laboratories and accessing electronic resources.

Penn anticipates that you will pursue your studies with purpose and integrity. Honesty is what makes scholarship possible in any academic discipline. Penn’s expectations of all members of the community, faculty and students alike, are made clear in the Code of Academic Integrity.  This code prohibits acts of academic dishonesty that include cheating, plagiarism, fabrication, multiple submission, misrepresentation of academic records, facilitating academic dishonesty and gaining unfair advantage in an academic exercise.

Some of you may be coming from educational systems where rules of academic integrity were not clearly defined or enforced. Others may be studying in the United States for the first time. To ensure that all Penn students understand the high academic standards of the University, we publish this guide to guide you as you approach the research and writing tasks that your courses or your dissertation will demand of you.

Special Note for International Students

The International Student and Scholar Handbook also includes information on academic integrity:

Special note for Engineering Students

For ethical information particular to the School of Engineering and Applied Science, students should refer to the Student Code of Ethics in Penn Engineering Undergraduate and/or Graduate Student Handbook on line at:

Undergraduate Engineering:

Graduate Engineering:

Special note for Biomedical Graduate Students (BGS)

Please refer to the Biomedical Graduate School online publication "Ethical Conduct in Biomedical Research" at:

Special note for Nursing Students

For information specific to the School of Nursing, undergraduate and graduate students should refer to their respective handbooks on line at (the material is found on pages 58 – 60 in the BSN Handbook and on pages 28 – 31 in the MSN Student Handbook):
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This guide has been adapted from one produced at MIT entitled Academic Integrity at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology:  A Handbook for Students.  We are grateful for their permission to use and revise the work for students at the University of Pennsylvania.

Written by Patricia Brennecke, Lecturer in English Language Studies
Edited by Professor Margery Resnick, Chair of the Committee on Discipline, and Joanne Straggas, Office of the Dean for Undergraduate Education.  Prepared with the support of Professor Robert P. Redwine, Dean for Undergraduate Education at MIT.

Adapted in Fall 2006 for use by graduate students at the University of Pennsylvania and published as the Handbook for Students, Ethics and Original Research by Professor Barbara Fuchs, Romance Languages, Dr. James B. Lok, Professor of Pathobiology, School of Veterinary Medicine, Linda Meiberg, graduate student and Karen Lawrence, Assistant Director of Education.

This edition edited, amended and produced by:

The University Honor Council and the
Office of Student Conduct
University of Pennsylvania
Fall 2008