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Academic Integrity: A Guide for Students

Purdue University values intellectual integrity and the highest standards of academic conduct. To be prepared to meet societal needs as leaders and role models, students must be educated in an ethical learning environment that promotes a high standard of honor in scholastic work. Academic dishonesty undermines institutional integrity and threatens the academic fabric of Purdue University. Dishonesty is not an acceptable avenue to success. It diminishes the quality of a Purdue education, which is valued because of Purdue's high academic standards.

Fostering an appreciation for academic standards and values is a shared responsibility among students, faculty, and staff. The information in this brochure is directed to students to define academic dishonesty and how to avoid it.


Purdue prohibits "dishonesty in connection with any University activity. Cheating, plagiarism, or knowingly furnishing false information to the University are examples of dishonesty" (Section B.2.aCode of Student Conduct). Furthermore, the University Senate has stipulated that "the commitment of acts of cheating, lying, and deceit in any of their diverse forms (such as the use of substitutes for taking examinations, the use of illegal cribs, plagiarism, and copying during examinations) is dishonest and must not be tolerated. Moreover, knowingly to aid and abet, directly or indirectly, other parties in committing dishonest acts is in itself dishonest” (University Senate Document 72-18, December 15, 1972).

More specifically, the following are a few examples of academic dishonesty that have been discovered at Purdue University:

  • substituting on an exam for another student
  • substituting in a course for another student
  • paying someone else to write a paper and submitting it as one's own work
  • giving or receiving answers by use of signals, cell phones or any other method during an exam
  • copying with or without the other person's knowledge during an exam
  • doing class assignments for someone else
  • plagiarizing published material, class assignments or lab reports
  • turning in a paper that has been purchased from a commercial research firm or obtained from the Internet
  • padding items of a bibliography
  • obtaining an unauthorized copy of a test in advance of its scheduled administration
  • using unauthorized notes during an exam
  • collaborating with other students on assignments when it is not allowed
  • obtaining a test from the exam site, completing and submitting it later
  • altering answers on a scored test and submitting it for a regrade
  • accessing and altering grade records
  • stealing class assignments from other students and submitting them as one's own
  • fabricating data
  • destroying or stealing the work of other students
  • falsifying an attendance record

Plagiarism is a special kind of academic dishonesty in which one person steals another person's ideas or words and falsely presents them as the plagiarist's own product. This is most likely to occur in the following ways:

  • using the exact language of someone else without the use of quotation marks and without giving proper credit to the author
  • presenting the sequence of ideas or arranging the material of someone else even though such is expressed in one's own words, without giving appropriate acknowledgment
  • submitting a document written by someone else but representing it as one's own


Careful attention to your own academic duties is the best way to avoid allegations of academic dishonesty. If you are asked to do something that you feel is wrong or unethical, it probably is. Aiding someone in committing an academically dishonest act is just as serious as receiving the aid. Review course syllabi and make sure you understand your instructors' expectations and responses regarding academic dishonesty. The following tips may help you avoid problems:

  • Do not look around, particularly in the direction of other students' papers, during an exam since it may appear you are trying to copy from others.
  • When taking an exam, shield your answer sheet. If you feel someone is trying to copy from you, ask the proctor if you may move. This will alert the proctor to a potential problem and help remove suspicion from you as aiding the other student if a claim of cheating arises.
  • If you are allowed to take materials into a testing site, make sure no notes or materials are exposed or accessible that could cause one to believe you are using unauthorized aids (cribs).
  • Should there be any doubt, clarify with your instructor how much collaboration, if any, is permitted or expected when working on projects or assignments with other students.
  • Know that it is risky to electronically copy or transmit a computer program or file to other students. You could be implicated in a cheating incident if others alter that program and submit it as their own work.
  • Protect your computer login identifications and passwords. Other students could use them to access your work and subsequently implicate you in a cheating case.
  • Since it is impossible to write everything with complete originality, use quotation marks, footnotes, and parenthetical textual notes to acknowledge other people's words or ideas employed in your paper. Check with your instructor for proper techniques for citations and attribution if you have any doubts.
  • Do not include sources in a bibliography or reference list if you have not used the sources in the preparation of your paper. To list unused sources is called padding the bibliography.
  • Do not acquire previous papers, lab reports, or assignments used in a course with the intention of copying parts or all of the material. Consult with your instructor on how such materials may be used as general guides.
  • Keep rough drafts and copies of papers submitted in courses since other students may get access to your work and attempt to claim it as their own.
  • Do not leave copies of assignments in computer labs.
  • Do not share your current or former assignments, projects, papers, etc., with other students to use as guides for their work. Such a practice could lead to claims of collaboration if part or all of your work is lifted by another student. Sometimes friendly assistance may escalate into claims of blatant dishonesty.
  • Check with your instructor before turning in a paper or project you submitted in another course.
  • Do not give your homework papers, projects or other assignments to other students to submit for you. They may use parts of your work.
  • When completing take-home exams, do not collaborate with other persons unless approved by the instructor.
  • Keep your student identification card in your possession or secured. Never loan your identification to anyone.
  • Do not make any marks on a graded exam if there is any chance you may submit it for a regrade. Make all notations on a separate paper.


Students who cheat gain an unfair advantage over honest students. Although reporting suspected or observed cheating may seem difficult, failure to do so hurts you as well as Purdue. Observations or knowledge of academic dishonesty should be reported immediately to course instructors. Even if your observations are reported anonymously, such information may encourage instructors to do further investigation, detect patterns of cheating or impose effective preventive measures. If you are uncomfortable speaking directly with an instructor, you are urged to consult with staff in the Office of the Dean of Students who will advise and assist you in addressing the problem.


Before any formal action is taken against a student who is suspected of committing academic dishonesty, the instructor is encouraged to meet with the student to discuss the facts surrounding the suspicions. If the instructor concludes that the student is guilty, the matter may be resolved with the student through punitive grading. Examples of punitive grading are giving a lower or failing grade on the assignment, having the student repeat the assignment and perhaps some additional assignment, or assessing a lower or failing grade for the course. The grade appeals system offers recourse to a student whose grade has been reduced unfairly for alleged academic dishonesty.

Additionally, instructors are encouraged to refer cases to the Office of the Dean of Students for adjudication and/or appropriate record keeping. The Office of the Dean of Students will follow established procedures as provided in the Student Code of Conduct. If the student is found responsible, possible sanctions include a warning, probation, probated suspension, suspension or expulsion.

Feel free to print this page for yourself. For more information, contact the Office of Student Rights and Responsibilities at 765-494-1250 or

Written by: Stephen Akers, PhD, Executive Associate Dean of Students, 1995, Revised 1999, 2003, 2009, 2013

Purdue University, Office of the Dean of Students, Helen B. Schleman Hall (formerly the Recitation Building), 2nd Floor, 656 Oval Drive, West Lafayette, IN 47907-2086, Phone (765) 494-1747, Fax (765) 496-1550

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