Vanderbilt students strive to pursue intellectual knowledge with curiosity and humility. They engage in a partnership of learning and discovery, where the scholarly exploration of ideas is not only protected, but encouraged.
Accordingly, acts that inhibit learning or that violate the Honor Code and thereby break the trust of the academic community are prohibited. Violations of the Honor Code are cause for disciplinary actions imposed by the appropriate Honor Council.
Possible violations include but are not limited to the following:
- Giving and/or receiving unauthorized aid or attempting to give and/or receive unauthorized aid on an assignment, report, paper, exercise, problem, test or examination, presentation, film, or computer program submitted by a student to meet course requirements. Such aid includes, but is not limited to, the following:
- use or production of unauthorized aids, which may include cheat sheets, answer keys, or computer programs;
- use of texts, papers, computer programs, or other class work prepared by commercial or noncommercial agents and submitted as a student’s own work;
- copying from another student's work;
- unauthorized collaboration;
- unauthorized posting, sharing, taking, or distribution of past or present examinations or other course materials;
- unauthorized advance access to examinations or other assignments;
- compromising a testing environment or violating specified testing conditions;
- unauthorized use of books, notes, websites, phones, watches, calculators, or other outside materials or devices during an examination;
- soliciting, giving, and/or receiving unauthorized aid orally or in writing; or
- any other similar action that is contrary to the principles of academic honesty.
- Plagiarism on an assigned paper, theme, report, or other material submitted to meet course requirements. Plagiarism is defined as incorporating into one's own work the work or ideas of another without properly indicating that source. A full discussion of plagiarism and proper citation is provided in the section below.
- Any action designed to deceive a member of the faculty, a staff member, or a fellow student regarding principles contained in the Honor Code, such as securing an answer to a problem for one course from a faculty member in another course when such assistance has not been authorized or providing false information in order to receive an extension on an assignment or to excuse an absence.
- Any falsification of class records or other materials submitted to demonstrate compliance with course requirements or to obtain class credit, including falsifying records of class attendance, attendance at required events or events for which credit is given, or attendance or hours spent at internships or other work service.
- Submission of work prepared for another course without specific prior authorization of the instructors in both courses.
- Falsification of results of study and research.
- Altering a previously graded examination or test for a re-grade.
Note: Schools, departments, programs, and individual faculty members, speakers, and artists may have policies governing the creation, use, and/or distribution of recordings—video or audio—of lectures, virtual course sessions, speeches, performances, and other activities. Individuals must obtain authorization prior to recording such activities, and to abide by the various policies governing their being recorded, including, but not limited to, policies related to use and distribution of recordings. Failure to abide by recording policies may be an Honor Code violation or may result in corrective action through the University’s accountability process depending on the circumstances. In addition, examinations and the questions therein, as well as lectures, teaching notes, scholarly writings, course handouts, assignments, and other course materials are the property of the individual faculty member. Copying or distributing any such materials without the permission of the copyright owner may constitute an infringement violation, and may result in a referral to Student Accountability, Community Standards and Academic Integrity for corrective action.
Honor Code and Preparation of Papers
Papers are to express the original thoughts of the student. If a topic for a paper has been discussed fully among students prior to an assignment, then the students should consult the instructor about writing on that particular topic.
Failure to indicate any outside source of ideas, expressions, phrases, or sentences constitutes plagiarism.
A change in wording (or insufficient paraphrasing), the use of a catchy word or phrase, undocumented paraphrasing, or word for word copying may also constitute plagiarism. Examples of these common actions that reflect plagiarism are explored further on the Undergraduate Honor Council’s resource page.
A student may not submit papers substantially the same in content for credit in more than one course, without specific and prior permission of all instructors concerned.
Utilizing unauthorized assistance in the preparation or writing of a paper, such as having other people, technologies like artificial intelligence, or other commercial or noncommercial agents produce text, whether in part or in whole, may constitute a violation of giving or receiving unauthorized aid.
Students should understand that sources of common knowledge can be plagiarized. Generally, an idea is considered common knowledge if it is encountered at least five times in separate sources during one's research into a particular subject. (Reprints of one source do not constitute separate sources.) Copying or close paraphrasing of the wording or presentation of a source of common knowledge constitutes plagiarism. What constitutes common knowledge may also vary by discipline so students should consult their instructors to determine whether a citation is needed.
Regardless of intent or premeditation, plagiarism is a violation of the Honor Code. Students, therefore, must be conscious of their responsibilities as scholars under the Honor System, to learn to discern what is included in plagiarism as well as in other breaches of the Honor Code, and must know and practice the specifications for citations in scholarly work.
Any student who is uncertain about the application of the plagiarism and citation rules should consult the instructor. A student who plagiarizes out of ignorance is still guilty of an Honor Code violation.
Honor Code and Tests, Examinations, and Other Exercises
Students are on their honor not to ask for or give information pertaining to any portion of an examination before or after they have taken it, in such a way as to gain or give an advantage over other students. Additionally, students are required to comply with specified testing conditions or the outlined requirements related to the testing environment. Taking either of these actions constitutes giving or receiving unauthorized aid.
The written pledge (see also “Undergraduate Honor Code Pledge”) signifies that the work submitted is the student's own and that it has been completed in accordance with the requirements of the course as specified by the instructor.
Any student uncertain about the application of the pledge to a particular course requirement should always consult the instructor. The Undergraduate Honor Code Pledge, or an abbreviation thereof, should be included in all written work completed by the student and submitted for a grade. Any work handed in for credit, however, will be considered “pledged” unless otherwise stated by the instructor.
Honor Code and Group Work
- Students should be accountable for group work submitted in their names for the fulfillment of a course, program, or assignment and may be responsible for Honor Code violations within the work.
- Students should ask their instructors before collaborating on any assignment.
- Students should ask their instructors if a tutor or other individual may help you with any assignment.
The guidelines for appropriate collaboration and task division pertaining to group work vary among classes and instructors. It is therefore the student’s responsibility to obtain a clear understanding of appropriate collaboration from the instructor. Completion of work outside of approved parameters for collaboration constitutes giving or receiving unauthorized aid.