Academic Integrity


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This section details GSAS’s academic standards and the expectations surrounding coursework, examinations, and research.

Written Work, Sources, and Citations

All work submitted for credit is expected to be the student’s own work. In the preparation of all papers and other written work, students should distinguish their own ideas and knowledge from information derived from other sources. The term “sources” includes not only published primary and secondary material but also information and opinions gained directly from other people. Computer programs written as part of one’s academic work should be regarded as literary creations and subject to the same standards of misrepresentation as copied work.

The responsibility for learning the proper forms of citation lies with the individual student. Quotations must be properly placed within quotation marks and must be fully cited. In addition, all paraphrased material must be completely acknowledged. Whenever ideas or facts are derived from a student’s research, sources must be indicated.

Students who are in any doubt about the preparation of academic work should consult the Harvard Guide to Using Sources, with their instructor, or the GSAS Fellowships & Writing Center before submitting it. Please note: Students are responsible for submitting coursework on time in the manner required by the instructor and for confirming receipt of the assignment.

Submission of the Same Work to More Than One Course

Instructors expect that assignments are written especially for that course. Students who would like to submit the same or similar work to more than one course must receive written permission from all instructors involved in advance of the assignment due date. If the assignment was completed for a non-Harvard course, the student must consult with their current instructor. A student who fails to receive written permission may be required to withdraw from the class.

The instructor should send a formal communication to Patrick O’Brien, GSAS assistant dean of student affairs, giving permission for the student to submit the material to meet course requirements in more than one class. All instructors involved must sign the request, which will be included in the student’s academic record.


Collaboration with others when completing assignments varies depending on the policy set by the course head. Students must assume that collaboration is prohibited unless explicitly permitted by the instructor and, if allowed, students must acknowledge the extent of any collaboration in all submitted work.

Violation of Examination Rules

Students may not communicate during an examination and no student is permitted to keep books or papers during an examination except with the express permission of the instructor or proctor. Eating and drinking are not permitted in any exam room. Additionally:

  • Students who violate the examination rules or who behave dishonesty during an examination may be required to withdraw from GSAS.
  • Students who fail to obey instructions given by an examination proctor are liable for disciplinary action.

Exclusion from a Course

A student who neglects any course may, after a written warning by the instructor, be excluded from the course and receive a failing grade. A notation of EXLD (excluded) on the transcript indicates that the student was not permitted to continue in the course and received no credit. Students may not withdraw from a course that they have been excluded from. Students excluded from a course are denied the right to further course evaluation, including final and make-up examinations.

Research Results

Students are expected to record honestly and accurately the results of all their research. Falsification of research results includes misrepresentations, distortions, or serious omissions in data or reports on research and is considered a serious violation of academic honesty. Plagiarism or falsification of research results will ordinarily result in the requirement to withdraw from GSAS.

The University is deeply concerned with the integrity of science by students and faculty and with sound and safe research practices. Student and faculty researchers are, individually and collectively, expected to safeguard and maintain the University’s policies and practices with respect to scientific misconduct. Where required and appropriate, the University must inform sponsoring agencies of serious transgressions of their policies and of any investigations related to sponsored research; sponsors may take action independent of the University.