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The Columbia University Undergraduate Guide to Academic Integrity

Academic integrity is the cornerstone of our intellectual community. All scholarship – teaching, research, and student learning – is the product of intellectual exchange. Whether this exchange takes place in books and journal articles, in laboratories, in the design of experiments and the analysis of data, in the classroom, or in students’ written work, it is these joint undertakings that create Columbia’s intellectual community.

The value of our collective inquiry relies upon trust and honesty – for our individual discoveries are dependent upon the discoveries of our peers and predecessors, here at Columbia and elsewhere. And all intellectual work must be evaluated – the work of students is evaluated by faculty; the work of faculty is evaluated through peer-review. We must, therefore, be able to trust that others are honest in their work and others must be able to trust that we are honest in ours.

Academic writing can be very challenging, for it requires us to create original work from our synthesis of the work done by others. In these pages you will learn strategies for developing original work, ways to ensure that your work is trustworthy, the consequences for submitting work that is dishonest, and the resources available to assist you in achieving your best work.

Columbia College Honor Code

The Columbia College Student Council, on behalf of the whole student body, has resolved that maintaining academic integrity is the preserve of all members of our intellectual community – including and especially students.

As a consequence, all Columbia College students make the following pledge:

We, the undergraduate students of Columbia University, hereby pledge to value the integrity of our ideas and the ideas of others by honestly presenting our work, respecting authorship, and striving not simply for answers but for understanding in the pursuit of our common scholastic goals. In this way, we seek to build an academic community governed by our collective efforts, diligence, and Code of Honor.

In addition, all Columbia College students are committed to the following honor code:

I affirm that I will not plagiarize, use unauthorized materials, or give or receive illegitimate help on assignments, papers, or examinations. I will also uphold equity and honesty in the evaluation of my work and the work of others. I do so to sustain a community built around this Code of Honor.

For more information, contact:

Nathan Rosin, CC'18 and President, CCSC Executive Board

Nicole Allicock, CC'18 and Vice President for Policy, CCSC Executive Board

Dafne Murillo, CC'19 and CCSC Academic Affairs Representative

Faculty Statement on Academic Integrity

The intellectual venture in which we are all engaged requires of faculty and students alike the highest level of personal and academic integrity. As members of an academic community, each one of us bears the responsibility to participate in scholarly discourse and research in a manner characterized by intellectual honesty and scholarly integrity.

Scholarship, by its very nature, is an iterative process, with ideas and insights building one upon the other. Collaborative scholarship requires the study of other scholars' work, the free discussion of such work, and the explicit acknowledgement of those ideas in any work that inform our own. This exchange of ideas relies upon a mutual trust that sources, opinions, facts, and insights will be properly noted and carefully credited.

In practical terms, this means that, as students, you must be responsible for the full citations of others' ideas in all of your research papers and projects; you must be scrupulously honest when taking your examinations; you must always submit your own work and not that of another student, scholar, or internet agent.

Any breach of this intellectual responsibility is a breach of faith with the rest of our academic community. It undermines our shared intellectual culture, and it cannot be tolerated. Students failing to meet these responsibilities should anticipate being asked to leave Columbia.

For more information on academic integrity at Columbia, students may refer to the Columbia University Undergraduate Guide to Academic Integrity

The Disciplinary Process

If an instructor believes you to have acted dishonestly, you will be referred to the formal process of Dean's Discipline. Overseen by Student Conduct and Community Standards, the Dean’s Discipline process is an educational one that determines your responsibility using the principle of "preponderance of evidence." If found responsible, and depending on the nature of the dishonesty and whether or not you have a disciplinary record, you could face one of several sanctions.

Parents and guardians may be informed, faculty committees awarding honors will be notified, and the case may remain on your permanent record meaning that employers and graduate schools may also be informed. These sanctions are in addition to whatever determination the instructor makes on how your final grade in the class will be affected.