Collaboration Policies

Molecular and Cellular Biology 60. Molecular Biology and Cellular Medicine (Fall, 2016)

For MCB 60, course heads Dominic Mao, Martin Samuels, and Alexander Schier created a table to clarify the different kinds of collaboration that are permitted (or not) on different kinds of assignments.

Computer Science 181. Machine Learning (Spring, 2015)

Computer Science 181.  Machine Learning (Spring 2015) 
Ryan P. Adams
Assistant Professor of Computer Science

Collaboration Policy Statement: We want you to be able to discuss the class material with each other, but we want the homework you submit to be your own work and your practicals to be only your group's work. More specifically:

For the homeworks, you may never:

  • Share code.
  • Share writeups.

For the practicals, outside your group you may never:

  • Share code.
  • Share writeups.

You may always:

  • Discuss the related concepts and the high-level approach.
  • Discuss the results of your experiments at a high level, e.g., "We got 90% test accuracy."

You should be wary of discussing details of proofs, your code, or results at an implementation level, rather than at the "big idea" level. On the mini-quizzes, answers are revealed to you on submission so that you can receive immediate feedback on your understanding. You are forbidden from providing these answers to other students who have not yet completed the mini-quiz.

(adapted from text created by David Parkes, George F. Colony Professor of Computer Science)

Economics 1010b. Macroeconomic Theory (Spring, 2015)

Economics 1010b.  Macroeconomic Theory (Spring, 2015)
Christopher L. Foote
Professor of the Practice of Economics

Statement on Collaboration: There are no opportunities to collaborate on graded work in this class. The Aplia Problem Sets are designed to be done on your own, by computer. The in-class midterms and the final exam are obviously intended to be completely your own work as well. The Section Problem Sets, which are discussed in weekly sections, are not handed in or graded, so feel free to work on them in groups if you would like. However, it is probably better if you try to do the Section Problem Sets yourself before the weekly sections. You will have a chance to talk about the answers to these problem sets when the weekly section occurs. You are also free to form study groups before midterms and the final, and use the old exams (and answers) that are posted on the course website to study for tests.

English 199a. The Rules of the Game: The History of Literary Theory (Fall, 2014)

English 199a. The Rules of the Game: The History of Literary Theory (Fall, 2014)
Louis Menand
Anne T. and Robert M. Bass Professor of English and Harvard College Professor

Collaboration policy: All papers and exams must be the student’s own work. What this means is that students are permitted, and expected, to discuss their ideas with the instructors and other students and to request and accept advice from them. But if a piece of information or an idea comes from someone else, students should do the same thing that they would do when it comes from a book, an article, or online: cite the source. All academic work is collaborative in the sense that it builds on what others have written. Using such material is not plagiarism as long as it is appropriately cited. When using the same words as the source, put them inside quotation marks. If you are uncertain in a particular case, ask, don’t guess.

Expository Writing 20.140. The Experience of Class (Spring, 2014)

Expository Writing 20.140.  The Experience of Class (Spring, 2014)
James Herron
Preceptor in Expository Writing and Director of the Harvard Writing Project

Collaboration Among Students: The following kinds of collaboration are permitted in this course:  developing or refining ideas in conversation with other students, and through peer review of written work (including feedback from Writing Center tutors). If you would like to acknowledge the impact someone had on your essay, it is customary to do this in a footnote at the beginning of the paper. As stated in the Student Handbook, “You do not need to acknowledge discussion with others of general approaches to the assignment or assistance with proofreading.” However, all work submitted for this course must be your own: in other words, writing response papers, drafts, or revisions with other students is expressly forbidden.
(adapted from text created by the Harvard Writing Program)

History 1433. American Populisms: Thomas Jefferson to the Tea Party (Spring, 2015)

History 1433.  American Populisms: Thomas Jefferson to the Tea Party (Spring, 2015)
Brett Flehinger
Lecturer on History and Associate Dean for Academic Integrity and Student Conduct

Collaboration: Please note that the collaboration policy in this course is divided into two areas - papers and exams.
You are encouraged to study with your classmates and discuss (orally) potential test questions and the sources you would use to answer them. The learning that takes place in studying is something that can well be done socially. Please note, however, that group study guides and shared study documents are not allowed, and you should not exchange outlines or large scale notes. There is a pedagogical purpose to this limitation. Written study guides tend to promote memorization of factual material, rather than the interpretive skills the course aims to teach you. Once you enter the exam, no information can be shared.

For the research paper you are encouraged to consult with your classmates on the choice of paper topics and to discuss sources with each other. If you are working on the same topic or a very similar topic to a classmate, please see your t.f. and instructor right away. You should ensure that any written work you submit for evaluation is the result of  your own research and writing and that it reflects your own approach to the topic. You must also use Chicago Manual of Style footnotes and properly cite any books, articles, websites, lectures, etc. that have helped you with your work. If you receive any help with your writing (feedback on drafts, etc.), you must also acknowledge this assistance.

Any questions, please ask the course staff. We will be happy to clear up any ambiguities.

Math 122. Algebra I: Theory of Groups and Vector Spaces (Fall, 2014)

Math 122.  Algebra I:  Theory of Groups and Vector Spaces (Fall, 2014)
Hiro Tanaka
Benjamin Pierce Fellow, Department of Mathematics

Collaboration and Plagiarism Policy: I strongly encourage all of you to collaborate. Please do so. If you do, you must indicate clearly on every assignment that you have collaborated, and indicate with whom. However, write solutions on your own. It is fine to think through problems and find solutions with each other, but when it comes to the act of writing it all up, you must do so without assistance from another. This is because the act of solving something and writing a mathematical proof are two different skills, and I want you to also hone the latter. As an extreme anti-example, copying and pasting solutions/proofs will not be tolerated. To reiterate, you may not write solutions together.

Finally, note that asking for a solution on Stackexchange, Quora, or Yahoo Answers is not considered collaboration for this class. I strongly discourage you from handing in any solution obtained by searching through, or asking on, a website like the ones listed above.

Mathematics 23a. Linear Algebra and Real Analysis 1 (Fall, 2014)

Mathematics 23a.  Linear Algebra and Real Analysis 1 (Fall, 2014)
Paul Bamberg
Senior Lecturer on Mathematics

Collaboration policy:

  • You are encouraged to discuss the course with other students and with the course staff, but you must always write your homework solutions out yourself in your own words. You must write the names of those you’ve collaborated with at the top of your assignment. If you collaborate with classmates to solve problems that call for R scripts, create your own file after your study group has figured out how to do it.
  • Proofs that you submit to the course Web site must be done without consulting files that other students have posted!
  • If you have the opportunity to see a complete solution to an assigned problem, please refrain from doing so. If you cannot resist the temptation, you must cite the source, even if all that you do is check that your own answer is correct.
  • You are forbidden to upload solutions to homework problems, whether your own or ones that are posted on the course Web site, to any publicly available location on the Internet.
  • Anything that you learn from lecture, from the textbook, or from working homework problems can be regarded as “general knowledge” for purposes of this course, and the source need not be cited. Anything learned in prerequisite courses falls into the same category. Do not assume that other courses use some an ex-pansive definition of “general knowledge”!


Physics 15a. Introductory Mechanics and Relativity (Spring, 2015)

Physics 15a.  Introductory Mechanics and Relativity (Spring, 2015)
David Morin
Lecturer on Physics and Associate Director of Undergraduate Studies

Study Groups and Collaboration: You are encouraged to work together on problem sets, but the work that you hand in must be your own. Be careful not to rely too much on your classmates, because you will need to fully understand the problems for the exams. In my opinion, the best balance between working alone and working with other people is to (1) work on the problem sets alone until 2 you get stuck on things, then (2) work with other students or get hints in office hours, and then (3) finish things up alone where you can collect your thoughts in the peace and quiet of your own brain. If you skimp on the first and third of these, it will definitely show up on the exams.

Note: When working in study groups, please remember to be courteous to the other members. It’s great if you get excited about things and shout “Eureka!” every now and then (we encourage this!), but be careful not to dominate the discussion. Remember to regularly take a step back and make sure that everyone else has the opportunity to give his/her input.

Religion 57. Faith and Authenticity: Religion, Existentialism and the Human Condition (Spring, 2015)

Religion 57.  Faith and Authenticity:  Religion, Existentialism and the Human Condition (Spring, 2015)
Courtney Bickel Lamberth
Lecturer on the Study of Religion and Director of Undergraduate Studies

Collaboration: Discussion and the exchange of ideas are essential to academic work. For assignments in this course, you are encouraged to consult with your classmates on the choice of paper topics and to share sources. You may find it useful to discuss your chosen topic with your peers, particularly if you are working on the same topic as a classmate. However, you should ensure that any written work you submit for evaluation is the result of your own research and writing and that it reflects your own approach to the topic. You must also adhere to standard citation practices in this discipline and properly cite any books, articles, websites, lectures, etc. that have helped you with your work. If you received any help with your writing (feedback on drafts, etc.), you must also acknowledge this assistance. We will dedicate class time throughout the term to discussing these policies in detail, and to answering any questions that you may have.

Science of Living Systems 20. Psychological Science (Spring, 2015)

Steven Pinker
Johnstone Family Professor of Psychology

Collaboration: You are permitted (indeed, encouraged) to discuss the content of your assignment with other students, and to make suggestions about sources. You are also permitted to show a draft of your work to other students for general feedback about coherence and style (e.g., “This claim doesn’t seem to follow logically from that one,” or “This paragraph is clumsy and hard to understand.”) You are not permitted to have someone else (including a fellow student, friend, parent, boyfriend or girlfriend, teaching assistant, tutor, or counselor) work on your draft to edit or improve its content or prose, such as by adding, deleting, or rewriting sentences, or fixing errors in spelling, punctuation, or grammar. You are not permitted to share or divide up the work of finding, reading, and summarizing sources. And you are not permitted to collaborate on the planning, researching, or writing of papers with similar content.

Engineering Sciences 181. Engineering Thermodynamics (Fall, 2014)

Michael J. Aziz
Gene and Tracy Sykes Professor of Materials and Energy Technologies

 Collaborating on problem sets:

  1. Collaboration in planning and thinking through solutions to homework problems is encouraged, but no collaboration is allowed in writing up solutions. You are allowed to work with other students currently taking ES 181 in discussing, brainstorming, and walking through solutions to homework problems. But when you are through interacting, you must write up your solutions independently and may not check them against each other or against notes taken during the collaboration. When you are stuck or finished, you may check your answer verbally with a collaborator but there may be no showing of homework papers between collaborators. 
  2. We expect and encourage you to collaborate with other students in the course in the planning and design of solutions to homework problems. At the top of your homework assignment state with pride the names of the students with whom you collaborated in this manner. The absence of collaborators will give us cause to worry.
  3. Before consulting others (students, TFs, instructors) make sure you have made a genuine effort to solve the problems by yourself: this is really important so you can see where your personal roadblocks are and focus on them. Problem sets are probably the single most important part of learning thermo!
  4. Some of the homework problems that we assign will be taken from textbooks or other published sources or other courses or previous offerings of this course. It is not acceptable to simply find preexisting solutions to these problems and treat them as "collaborators".  
  5. Violation of these rules may be grounds for serious disciplinary action via the Administrative Board.


Spanish 30. Advanced Spanish Language I: Four Countries and their Cultures

Johanna Damgaard Liander 
Senior Preceptor in Romance Languages and Literatures

Academic Integrity and Collaborative Work in Spanish 30:
It is expected that you will complete all assignments on your own, unless specifically instructed to work with others. This policy means that it is unacceptable to ask native speakers or more advanced students to proofread/correct your written work before you submit it. College rules about academic honesty, including plagiarism, will be strictly enforced. For citation reference see: Harvard Guide to Using Sources