Fundamental to the academic work students do at MIT is an expectation that students will make choices that reflect integrity and responsible behavior. MIT anticipates that students will pursue their studies with purpose and integrity. The cornerstone of scholarship in all academic disciplines is honesty. MIT expects that students will work with honesty and integrity.
The aim of this policy is to make available information on prohibited academic misconduct. Further information about the below policy, including clarifying guidance on the policy and resources on acceptable academic conduct, can be found in MIT’s Academic Integrity Handbook.
Cheating, plagiarism, unauthorized collaboration, and other forms of academic dishonesty are considered serious offenses for which disciplinary penalties can be imposed. Academic dishonesty includes but is not limited to the following examples:
A. Cheating: Cheating involves taking unfair advantage when completing academic work. This can include, but is not limited to:
a. Copying other students’ work.
b. Using any material or aid not authorized by the person giving the test, project, or other assignments (e.g., websites, cell phone, calculator, notes, previous testing materials) that could provide an unfair academic advantage. This includes distributing unauthorized materials (e.g., giving access to test information to others, etc.).
c. Changing the answers on an exam for re-grade.
d. Misrepresenting a family or personal situation to get an extension.
e. Forging a faculty member’s signature for an academic form.
f. Falsifying data or claiming to have done research that one did not do.
g. Claiming the work of others as one’s own by deliberately not citing them.
h. Signing in for another student who is not in attendance, requesting this action of others, or signing into class and not attending the entire class period.
i. Assisting another student in doing any of the above.
For further information and resources on cheating, see MIT’s Academic Integrity Handbook, Section “Cheating.”
B. Plagiarism: Plagiarism is the appropriation of another person’s ideas, words, processes, results, assertions, data, or figures without giving appropriate credit or acknowledging that one has done so. This can include, but is not limited to:
a. Copying, partially or entirely, any material without acknowledgment of the source.
b. Partial or incomplete citation of work or ideas.
c. Acknowledging the source but failing to present the material in one’s own words or paraphrasing without acknowledging the source (improper paraphrasing).
d. Submitting the same or substantially the same academic work for multiple courses without instructor(s) permission (self-plagiarism).
For further information and resources on avoiding plagiarism, see MIT’s Academic Integrity Handbook, Section “Plagiarism.”
C. Unauthorized collaboration: Collaboration is a key component of a student’s MIT education. By working with other students on projects, labs, and papers, students carry on a long tradition of contributing to the knowledge that will shape the future of our world.
Students are responsible for understanding the accepted level of collaboration for each of their classes. The accepted level of collaboration and the specific requirements for documenting your collaborative efforts varies greatly from class to class, even within the same department. Instructors determine the collaboration policy for each class. If the policy is not clearly described in the online course materials or in a class handout, ask your instructor how much collaboration is permitted. Students should make sure they know where to draw the line between collaboration and what could be considered cheating.
For further information and resources on avoiding plagiarism, see MIT’s Academic Integrity Handbook, Section “Collaboration.”
D. Falsification of information or data: Misrepresenting or misleading others with respect to academic work or misrepresenting facts for academic advantage. This can include, but is not limited to:
a. Fabrication of documents submitted in connection with academic work.
b. Falsifying data or claiming to have done academic work that one did not do.
E. Research Misconduct: Research misconduct is fabrication, falsification, or plagiarism in research activities or deliberate interference. MIT’s policy can be found at MIT’s Policies & Procedures 10.1, Procedures for Dealing with Academic Misconduct in Research and Scholarship.
F. Other examples of academic misconduct:
a. Having someone complete work for you, including the use of commercial tutoring or paper-writing services, or doing the work for someone else.
b. Engaging in an act of bribery or coercion. Bribery refers to soliciting, receiving, or giving an item of value in exchange for academic work.
c. Taking, misplacing, or damaging property if the student knows or reasonably should know that an unfair academic advantage would be gained.
d. Destroying/altering the work of others or of resources to prevent other students from accessing them.
G. Facilitating or being complicit in academic dishonesty: Assisting another student in doing any of the above academic misconduct examples. This includes, but is not limited to:
a. Sharing academic work or previous course materials with another student without the permission of the instructor.
b. Communicating with an individual(s) during an examination without the instructor’s permission.
c. Completing another student’s academic work for them.
These concepts are explained more fully in the Academic Integrity Handbook, which is available online.
Early in the term, the instructor should communicate specific expectations regarding academic conduct and collaboration in the subject. See the information on Term Regulations. The Institute encourages faculty to take responses to academic dishonesty seriously, while also evaluating each case individually for the most appropriate response. In all cases, documenting the outcome with the Office of Student Conduct and Community Standards (OSCCS) ensures that records of student misconduct are maintained centrally at the Institute, preventing an individual student from committing several instances of academic dishonesty without accountability.
Several methods of response are available, all of which help uphold the integrity of the Institute and all students’ learning experiences. The OSCCS is responsible for facilitating these responses for faculty, as well as maintaining documentation within the Institute on the incident and response. Information for faculty regarding the options for handling academic integrity violations is available online from the OSCCS “Faculty Options for Responding to Academic Misconduct” and in MIT’s Policies & Procedures 10.2, Procedures for Dealing with Student Academic Dishonesty.