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  School of Public Health 2018-2020 Academic Policies and Procedures Academic Dishonesty: Definitions, Offenses, and Sanctions  

Academic Dishonesty: Definitions, Offenses, and Sanctions

Academic dishonesty is a serious offense and is therefore subject to an appropriate disciplinary action. Violations will be reviewed by a hearing body in accordance with the procedure stated in the Rutgers Biomedical and Health Sciences Student Rights, Responsibilities, and Disciplinary Procedures policy. This body, known as the Student Affairs Committee, will assess the nature and severity of the violation(s) and then recommend appropriate action to the dean of the Rutgers School of Public Health.


Some ways in which academic honesty can be violated are discussed below. The comments and examples within each section provide explanations and illustrative material, but do not necessarily exhaust the scope of these violations.

1. Stealing: Stealing is defined here as taking something without right or permission, usually in a surreptitious way, e.g., to take another student's personal belongings, or to take equipment from a university building for personal use.
2. Fabrication: Fabrication is the falsification or invention of any information or citation in an academic exercise. Invented information may not be used in any laboratory experiment or other academic exercise without authorization from the instructor. It is improper, for example, to analyze one sample in an experiment and covertly invent data based on that single experiment for several more required analyses. The student must also acknowledge reliance upon the actual source from which cited information was obtained. A writer should not, for example, reproduce a quotation from a book review and indicate that the quotation was obtained from the book itself.
3. Plagiarism: Plagiarism is the representation of the works or ideas of another as one's own in any academic exercise. To avoid plagiarism, every direct quotation must be identified by quotation marks or by appropriate indentation and must be promptly cited in the text or in a footnote. Acknowledgement is required when material from another source stored in print, electronic, or other medium is paraphrased or summarized in whole or in part in one's own words. To acknowledge a paraphrase properly, one might state: "to paraphrase Plato's comment..." and conclude with a footnote identifying the exact reference. A footnote acknowledging only a direct quoted statement does not suffice to notify the reader of any preceding or succeeding paraphrased material. Information that is common knowledge, such as names of leaders of prominent nations, basic scientific laws, etc., need not be footnoted; however, all facts or information obtained in reading or research that are not common knowledge among students in the course must be acknowledged. In addition to materials specifically cited in the text, only materials that contribute to one's general understanding of the subject may be acknowledged in the bibliography. Plagiarism can, in some cases, be a subtle issue. Any questions about what constitutes plagiarism should be discussed with the faculty member.
4. Denying Others Access to Information or Material: It is a violation of academic integrity to deny others access to scholarly resources or to deliberately impede the progress of another student or scholar. Examples of offenses of this type include giving other students false or misleading information; making library material unavailable to others by stealing or defacing books or journals or by deliberately misplacing or destroying reserve materials; or altering computer files that belong to another.
5. Cheating: Cheating is the use of inappropriate and unacknowledged materials, information, or study aids in any academic exercise. The use of books, notes, calculators, and conversation with others is restricted or forbidden in certain academic exercises. Their use in these cases constitutes cheating. Similarly, students must not request others (including commercial term paper companies) to conduct research or prepare any work for them, nor may they submit identical work or portions thereof for credit or honors more than once without prior approval of the instructor.

Offenses and Sanctions

The violations and suggested disciplinary actions cited below are merely illustrations of situations and are not to be considered all-inclusive. The description of these violations and sanctions is by no means binding. The dean will always make the final decision on any violation, which may or may not adhere to the guidelines set forth below. In all cases brought before the hearing body, there is the possibility that the charge(s) will be dismissed and no further action will be taken. Since adherence to a code of conduct can be seen as a function of socialization into the group whose norms are reflected in such a code, culpability may be assessed differentially for those with more and less experience as members of the academic community; thus, violations of academic integrity by advanced graduate students will presumably be penalized more severely than violations by first semester students. Examples are cited below for each level of violation. These examples, too, are illustrations and are not to be considered all-inclusive.

A. Level One Violations

Level one violations may occur because of inexperience or lack of knowledge of principles of academic integrity on the part of persons committing the violation. These violations are likely to involve a small fraction of the total coursework, are not extensive, and/or occur on a minor assignment.


  • Working with another student on a laboratory or other homework assignment when such work is prohibited.
  • Failure to footnote or give proper acknowledgement in an extremely limited section of an assignment.

Recommended Sanctions: Sanctions for level one violations are listed below; one of these may be chosen in each case:

  • Required attendance in a noncredit workshop or seminar on ethics or related subjects.
  • An assigned paper or research project on a relevant topic.
  • A make-up assignment at a more difficult level than the original assignment.
  • A recommendation to the instructor that no credit be given for the original assignment.

Records: Records of students who commit level one offenses will be kept on file until graduation, at which point they will be removed.

B. Level Two Violations

Level two violations are characterized by dishonesty of a more serious character or which affects a more significant aspect or portion of the coursework.


  • Quoting directly or paraphrasing, to a moderate extent, without acknowledging the source.
  • Submitting the same work or major portions thereof to satisfy the requirements of more than one course without permission from the instructors.
  • Using data or interpretive material for a laboratory report without acknowledging the sources or the collaborators.

Recommended Sanctions: The recommended sanction for level two violations is academic dishonesty probation. In cases of academic dishonesty involving out-of-class assignments, the panel may recommend a failing grade for the assignment involved and the grade in the course will be determined in the normal manner. However, cheating on a take-home final examination would normally carry a recommended penalty that the faculty member fail the student in the course, as well as academic dishonesty probation. The student will remain on probation for the remainder of the semester in which the violation occurs; should the violation occur after the10th week of a semester, the sanction will be in force during the semester of enrollment before the awarding of the degree. The transcript will carry a notation of a disciplinary offense for a period not to exceed one semester. Notation of "academic dishonesty probation" will be placed on the student's transcript and will remain for the period in which the sanction is in force.

Records: Records of students who commit level two offenses will be kept on file until graduation or until a date specified in the sanction.

C. Level Three Violations

Level three violations are those that go beyond level one or two. Level three violations include dishonesty that affects a major or essential portion of work done to meet course requirements or that involves premeditation, or that is preceded by one or more violations at levels one and two.


  • Copying on hourlies or final examinations.
  • Plagiarizing major portions of a written assignment.
  • Acting to facilitate copying during an exam.
  • Using prohibited materials, e.g., books, notes, or calculators during an examination.
  • Conspiring before an exam to develop methods of exchanging information and implementation thereof.
  • Altering examinations for the purposes of regrading.
  • Acquiring or distributing an examination from unauthorized sources prior to the examination.
  • Presenting the work of another as one's own.
  • Using purchased term papers or other materials.
  • Removing posted or reserved material, or preventing other students from having access to it.
  • Fabricating data by inventing or deliberately altering material (this includes citing sources that are not, in fact, sources of borrowed material).
  • Using unethical or improper means of acquiring data.

Recommended Sanctions: The sanction typically to be sought for all level three violations or repeated violations of level one and two offenses is a minimum of a one semester suspension from the university.

Records: Notation of "academic disciplinary suspension" will be placed on a student's transcript and remain for the designated period.

D. Level Four Violations

Level four violations represent the most serious breaches of academic integrity.


  • All academic infractions committed after return from suspension for a previous honesty violation.
  • Infractions of academic honesty in ways similar to criminal activity (such as forging of a grade form, stealing an examination from a professor or from a university office or buying an examination, or falsifying a transcript to secure entry into the university or to change the record of work done at the university).
  • Having a substitute take an examination or taking an examination for someone else.
  • Fabrication of evidence, falsification of data, quoting directly or paraphrasing without acknowledging the source, and/or presenting the ideas of another as one's own in a senior thesis, within a master's thesis or doctoral dissertation, in scholarly articles submitted to referred journals, or in other work represented as one's own as a graduate student.
  • Sabotaging another student's work through actions designed to prevent the student from successfully completing an assignment.
  • Willful violation of a canon of the ethical code of the profession for which a graduate student is preparing shall be considered a "heinous act" under the University Student Disciplinary Hearing Procedure and shall be prosecuted accordingly.

Recommended Sanctions: The typical sanction for all level four violations and a repeat infraction at level three is permanent expulsion from the Rutgers School of Public Health.

Records: Notation of "academic disciplinary separation" will be placed on a student's transcript and remain permanently.

For additional information, contact RU-info at 732-932-info (4636) or
Comments and corrections to: Campus Information Services.

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