FAQs

Why did the College decide to adopt an Honor Code?

The goal of our Honor Code is to strengthen the dedication to academic integrity in the College. The creation of an honor code has been several years in the making, and largely student-led. Together with Harvard faculty and staff, our students have come together to ask searching questions about our values as an academic community and to reflect on how those values could be better affirmed. In the Spring of 2014, the FAS Faculty and Undergraduate Council voted to implement an Honor Code for Harvard College. 

  Read more about Why did the College decide to adopt an Honor Code?

Is this just for freshmen? How are upperclassmen learning about the new Honor Code and policies?

All students at Harvard College will be asked to affirm their acceptance of and adherence to the Honor Code. Freshmen will be asked to write a brief statement about the Honor Code and its role in the Harvard Community, and all students will be asked to affirm their adherence to the Honor Code at registration, and upon the completion of significant assignments and final exams. In addition to extensive Read more about Is this just for freshmen? How are upperclassmen learning about the new Honor Code and policies?

What kind of assignments should have an affirmation?

Students who are sitting scheduled final exams will sign an affirmation as part of the attendance process.  Faculty should also include an affirmation on any in-class or take-home final exam, or final project. You can find sample affirmation text here. But faculty are also encouraged to include an affirmation on any significant assignment in their class (midterm exam, research papers, presentations), or at occasional intervals such as on problem sets or lab reports, in order to reinforce the scholarly standards of your Read more about What kind of assignments should have an affirmation?

What if a student objects to signing the affirmation at registration or on a final exam or project?

Students who would like to discuss the uses and purpose of the affirmation are encouraged to be in touch with the Honor Council through the Office of Academic Integrity and Student Conduct (OAISC). Students are required to sign the affirmation to register for classes, but may wish to discuss the affirmation before signing. 

Students who choose not to sign the affirmation on final exams or culminating projects will still complete the exam or assignment. However, the course staff will notify the Honor Council at (617) 384- Read more about What if a student objects to signing the affirmation at registration or on a final exam or project?

Is there sample language for a statement about academic integrity for syllabi?

While faculty may have different ways of stating their goals, every course syllabus should include a strong statement about the academic integrity standards for that field, a clear collaboration policy, and information on how you plan to handle extension requests and late submissions. The Honor Code offers some straightforward language; you may find additional suggestions here. The clearer your expectations, the less likely you will be to see possible violations as a result of confusion.  

How does the Honor Council work?

The Honor Council will hear all possible violations of the Honor Code and academic integrity policies, including suspected plagiarism, inappropriate collaboration, and improper use of sources. Teams of the Honor Council will review cases that are brought to their attention by faculty. SAIFs will act as peer supporters for individual students meeting with the Honor Council to address a potential academic integrity violation. Specific information on the Read more about How does the Honor Council work?