Academic Misconduct Policy

Academic misconduct or violation of engineering ethics is unacceptable in the practice of engineering. When you graduate and practice as an engineer, you will be subject to the Code of Ethics of Engineers. While preparing to be an engineer, you are subject to specific rules regarding academic misconduct.

What does academic misconduct encompass?

  • Cheating on examinations
  • Cheating on individual projects
  • Fraud
  • Theft or alteration of other people’s work on academic materials for the purpose of improving one’s own grades or acquiring academic credit

What can happen if I am found responsible for academic misconduct?

Students accused of academic misconduct will be referred for disciplinary action pursuant to the University of Washington Student Conduct Code. If found responsible, students are subject to sanctions which can include:

  • Disciplinary Warning
  • Probation
  • Suspension
  • Dismissal from the University

The College of Engineering (COE) expects all students to behave in a mature manner and to be responsible for their actions. The COE does not accept excuses for academic misconduct and will pursue all allegations of misconduct according to the procedures outlined in the CoE Academic Misconduct Process.

What is Cheating?

Most academic misconduct falls under the definition of plagiarism (see below), but sometimes we refer to misconduct as cheating.

Some examples of cheating include but are not limited to:

  • Allowing another to prepare an assignment for you or preparing an assignment for another.
  • Having another take an examination for you or taking an examination for another.
  • Obtaining information about an examination or assignment that is not authorized by the instructor.
  • Altering an answer to an examination after it has been turned in, whether it has been graded or not.
  • Looking at another's paper during an examination or allowing another to look at your paper.
  • Collaborating with another during an examination or on an assignment where the work is to be done independently.
  • Bringing materials or information to an examination that are not permitted by the instructor.

What is Plagiarism?

Plagiarism is taking someone else's work from any source, i.e., someone's ideas, writings, or inventions, and using it WITHOUT ACKNOWLEDGMENT. As long as you give credit to the originator of the material, you have not plagiarized. Merely enclosing statements or sentences in quotation marks is not sufficient; you must cite the source.

Examples of Plagiarism:

  • Copying phrases, sentences, sections, paragraphs, or graphics from a source and not giving credit by citing the source.
  • Turning in a paper from a previous class.
  • Having another person write an assignment (for pay or for free) and putting your name on it.
  • Modifying or paraphrasing another's ideas or writings and submitting them as your own without proper citation.
  • Having someone make substantial editorial changes to your paper and submitting the final version as your own.
  • Turning in someone else's solution to an exam or a question on an exam as your own.
  • Sharing computer code in assignments for individual students; use of someone else's computer code without acknowledgement; use of someone else's computer code when it is prohibited by the instructor.

Examples that are not Plagiarism:

  • Asking someone to read your assignment and suggest possible improvements, unless specifically forbidden by the instructor.
  • Getting together with other students to discuss an assignment, unless specifically forbidden by the instructor.
  • Asking your instructor for help with an assignment.
  • Quoting extensively from another's work but giving credit.

Why is it so important?

Copying (or plagiarizing) someone's work, without giving due recognition, is regarded as the equivalent of STEALING AND FRAUD, especially in the Western world (USA, Canada, and Europe). It is highly probable that it will be detected, so do not do it under any circumstances. It could ruin your career.

How can I avoid Plagiarism?

ALWAYS make very clear reference to the source of the material you use and put the material taken in "quotation marks."

DO NOT try to rewrite or change another person's work and pass it off as your own - this is very difficult to do and is easily detected.

When can I use other people's work?

You can always use published writings as long as you give a formal reference and acknowledgment of the source. If the information comes from a conversation with a professor or another student, give their name and recognition that it is their thought.

Again, NEVER take another person's writing or speech or message or Internet data and put it in your work without acknowledgment. It is important to always make sure in your career that everyone who makes a contribution gets credit, no matter how small their part has been!

If you have questions, please check with your instructor or TA.

What can happen if I commit Plagiarism?

At a MINIMUM the instructor will give you a very poor grade and will report the incident to the Associate Dean in the College of Engineering.

Questions about Cheating/Plagiarism

If you have any questions about the above process, please check with your instructor, TA, or departmental advising center.