Academic Integrity

Academic integrity at Northwestern is based on a respect for individual achievement that lies at the heart of academic culture. Every faculty member and student belongs to a community of scholars in which academic integrity is a fundamental commitment.

Students enrolled at Northwestern are expected to adhere to the University’s standards of academic integrity. Questions about the acceptability of specific behavior should be addressed to the appropriate faculty member or school dean. The following is a non-exhaustive list of types of behavior that violate the standards of academic integrity:

  • Cheating: using unauthorized notes, study aids, or online sources and tools on an examination; altering a graded work after it has been returned, then submitting the work for regrad­ing; allowing another person to do one’s work and sub­mitting that work under one’s own name; submitting identical or similar papers for credit in more than one course or repurposing the same work for multiple assignments in a class without prior permission from the course instructors
  • Plagiarism: submitting material that, in part or whole, verbatim or paraphrased, is not entirely one’s own work without attributing those same portions to their correct source according to the expectations of the particular discipline (material discussing the use and acknowledgment of sources is available in the Office of the Provost)
  • Fabrication: falsifying or inventing any information, data, or citation; presenting data that were not gathered in accordance with standard guidelines defining the approp­riate methods for collecting or generating data and failing to include an accurate account of the method by which the data were gathered or collected
  • Obtaining an unfair advantage: stealing, reproducing, circulating, or otherwise gaining access to examination materials prior to the time authorized by the instructor; stealing, destroying, defacing, or concealing library materials with the purpose of depriving others of their use; unauthorized collaborating on an academic assignment; retaining, possessing, using, or circulating previously given examination materials, where those materials clearly indicate that they are to be returned to the instructor at the conclusion of the examination; intentionally obstructing or interfering with another student’s academic work; otherwise undertaking activity with the purpose of creating or obtaining an unfair academic advantage over other students’ academic work; use of prohibited online tools, repositories of examination materials, or online examination assistance services
  • Aiding and abetting dishonestyproviding material, infor­ma­tion, or other assistance to another person with knowledge that such aid could be used in any of the violations stated above; providing false information in connection with any inquiry regarding academic integrity; providing or selling class materials to websites that sell such materials to students, including notes, PowerPoint slides, outlines, and graded assignments.
  • Falsification of records and official documents: altering documents affecting academic records; forging signatures of authorization or falsifying information on an official academic document, grade report, letter of permission, petition, ID card, or any other official University document
  • Unauthorized access to computerized academic or administrative records or systemsviewing or altering computer records; modifying computer programs or systems; releasing or dispensing information gained via unauthorized access; interfering with the use or availability of computer systems or information

It is the responsibility of every member of the academic community to be familiar with the specific policies of his or her school. A student who violates these policies may be subject to sanctions, including but not limited to one or more of the following: a letter of reprimand; a period of suspension with or without the attachment of conditions; reduced or failing grade in a course; notation on the official record; expulsion from the University, with notation on the transcript; or revocation of an awarded degree. A student may not change his or her registration in a course in which a violation of academic integrity has been alleged, regardless of whether the allegation has been referred to the designated school official. Nor may a student receive a University degree while a finding is pending or while a suspension has been imposed pursuant to a finding. Information on procedures that will be followed in cases of alleged violations of academic integrity may be obtained from the dean’s office of each school. This will include information regarding how decisions may be appealed to the appropriate University officials, up to and including the University provost. A complete statement of the University’s principles regarding academic integrity may be obtained from the Office of the Provost at