Academic Honesty

In coming to the University of Chicago, you have become a part of an academic community. You need to both understand and internalize the values and ethics of our community. The College captures this well, in its policy on Academic Integrity & Student Conduct:

All members of the University of Chicago belong to a tradition dedicated to the pursuit and cultivation of learning. A few simple principles – academic honesty, mutual respect and civility, personal responsibility – lie at the heart of our intellectual community. Each of us – students, faculty and staff – is pledged to live up to these standards and to support each others’ efforts in this regard. We take these values seriously...

The University's formal policy on Academic Honesty and Plagiarism can be found on page 31 of the Student Handbook:

It is contrary to justice, academic integrity, and to the spirit of intellectual inquiry to submit another’s statements or ideas of work as one's own. To do so is plagiarism or cheating, offenses punishable under the University's disciplinary system. Because these offenses undercut the distinctive moral and intellectual character of the University, we take them very seriously.

Proper acknowledgment of another's ideas, whether by direct quotation or paraphrase, is expected. In particular, if any written or electronic source is consulted and material is used from that source, directly or indirectly, the source should be identified by author, title, and page number, or by website and date accessed. Any doubts about what constitutes “use” should be addressed to the instructor.

We believe that student interactions are an important and useful means to mastery of the material. We recommend that you discuss the material in this class with other students, and that includes the homework assignments. So what is the boundary between acceptable collaboration and academic misconduct? First, while it is acceptable to discuss homework, it is not acceptable to turn in someone else's work as your own. When the time comes to write down your answer, you should write it down yourself, from your own memory. Moreover, you should cite any material discussions, or written sources, e.g.,

    {- I discussed the algorithm used in this exercise with Jim Smith. -}

But let us add a cautionary note. The University's policy says less than it should regarding the culpability of those who facilitate misconduct, or know of misconduct by others but do not report it. An all too common case has been where one student has decided to “help” another student by giving them a copy of their assignment, only to have that other student copy it (perhaps with minimal modifications) and turn it in. In such cases, we view both students as culpable, and pursue disciplinary sanctions against both.

For the student collaborations, it can be a slippery slope that leads from sanctioned collaboration to outright misconduct. But for all the slipperiness, there is a clear line: present only your ideas as yours, and attribute all others.

If you have any questions about what is or is not proper academic conduct, please ask us.


If you have a disability accommodation, please provide your instructor with a copy of your accommodation determination letter from the Student Disability Services as soon as possible.