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The Code of Academic Integrity

June 15, 1998, University Senate Resolution #9798-7-1, Approved April 17, 1998, Revised January 15, 2000, Academic Policy Committee. Reformatted January 14, 2002. VPAA revision January 11, 2005. Revision: February 15, 2018; Revision November 23, 2021

Statement of Purpose

Academic integrity lies at the heart of the values expressed in the University’s Mission Statement and inspired by the spirit of Saint Augustine.  When students come to Villanova, they join an academic community founded on the search for knowledge in an atmosphere of cooperation and trust. The intellectual health of the community depends on this trust and draws nourishment from the integrity and mutual respect of each of its members.

Institutional experience suggests that maintaining academic honesty can most easily be achieved by planning ahead and keeping lines of communication open. By consulting with their instructors, students can resolve any questions they have before submitting their work.

The development of knowledge relies upon the synthesis and analysis of existing sources and the work of scholars across nations, cultures, and time periods. Proper citation and attribution are fundamental elements of advanced learning; they acknowledge the intellectual work upon which new scholarship builds and they serve as guideposts for future projects.

                                                       Code of Academic Integrity

The following are some rules and examples regarding academic dishonesty.  Since academic dishonesty takes place whenever anyone undermines the academic integrity of the institution or attempts to gain an unfair advantage over others, this list is not and cannot be exhaustive.  Academic integrity is not simply a matter of conforming to certain rules; it must be understood in terms of the broader academic purposes of a Villanova education.

A.  Cheating:

While the university encourages and lauds collaborative learning (i.e. sharing notes and resources, forming study groups), when completing an individual class assessment (i.e. assignment, quiz, lab report, exam, etc.) students shall rely on their own mastery of the subject and not attempt to receive help in any way not explicitly approved by the instructor; for example, students should not rely on others’ work (code, programming, spreadsheets, etc.) or use outside sources unless the assignment specifically allows it.

Please consult with your faculty member if you are uncertain whether outside sources/support are allowed.

Such cheating includes trying to give or obtain information about a test when the instructor states that it is to be confidential. It also includes trying to take someone else's exam or trying to have someone else take one's own exam.

B.  Fabrication:

Students shall not falsify, invent, or use in a deliberately misleading way any information, data, or citations in any assignment.

This includes making up or changing data or results, or relying on someone else's results, in an experiment or lab assignment.  It also includes citing sources that one has not actually used or consulted.

C.  Assisting in or contributing to academic dishonesty:

Students shall not help or attempt to help others to commit an act of academic dishonesty.

This includes situations in which one student copies from or uses another student's work; in such situations, both students are likely to be penalized equally severely. If the assisting student is not enrolled in the particular course, the student's Dean will formulate a suitable and equivalent penalty. Students are responsible for ensuring that their work is not used improperly by others. This does not include team projects where students are told by their instructor to work together or when the student whose work is used by another did not know their work was being used.

D.  Plagiarism:

Plagiarism is defined as the appropriation of another's work and the unacknowledged submission or incorporation of that work as one's own offered for credit. Plagiarism takes place whether it is accidental or intentional. The most common way to acknowledge reliance on another’s work or indebtedness is to use footnotes or other documentation. Faculty members will introduce students to the tools used in their disciplines, providing guidance on how to show clearly when and where they are relying on others -- and students are expected to apply these tools in their writing.

Unacknowledged appropriation involves either using another’s work without any reference or acknowledgement.

Examples of unacknowledged appropriation include not referencing quoted text, paraphrasing another’s ideas without referencing the source(s), and acquiring a pre-written paper.  Unacknowledged appropriation also includes borrowing sentences, phrases, and paragraphs from outside sources, and can also occur when students follow the expression of another’s ideas or structure of another’s argument too closely. When engaged in knowledge creation and academic research, students must be careful to provide proper attribution and develop their own original language, ideas and arguments in all assignments.

Another’s work includes someone else’s published statements, ideas, data, or illustrations.

Sources of this work include written text (in any format including Powerpoint slides), podcasts, or video lectures.

The following are examples (not exhaustive) of sources that require citation or acknowledgement: blog posts or any commentary found on social media platforms, online articles found on journal sites or websites, comments by a lecturer in an online video lecture, information from another person’s Power Point slide(s) or other presentation modality, hardcopy texts, any authored source whether it has multiple authors or is institutionally authored or is listed as anonymous. If a student is uncertain about whether their submission violates academic integrity, whether by failing to adequately acknowledge sources or by adhering too closely to another’s argument, it is recommended they contact the faculty member to discuss prior to submission.

Ideas that occur to the student in conversation with roommates, other students, etc., should be considered the natural result of collaborative learning and do not require specific citation. At the same time, per academic standards, students may wish to acknowledge indebtedness to conversations with roommates, parents, friends, professors, and others in a footnote at the end of the writing assignment.

E.  Multiple submissions of work:

Students shall not submit the same academic work, or substantially the same work, for more than one class course without prior approval of both faculty members. Faculty create assignments in order to foster a certain kind of learning in a course. Handing in work done for a previous course may preclude this learning. 

F.      Unsanctioned collaboration:

When doing out-of-class projects, homework, or assignments, students must follow their faculty member’s instructions regarding any collaboration with other students to complete the work.  When a faculty member requires students to complete the work individually, then students may not collaborate to complete the work.  

Many Villanova courses involve team projects and out of class collaboration, but in other situations, out of class collaboration is forbidden. While study groups are permitted and even encouraged, students must follow the faculty member’s instructions regarding any collaboration. 

G. Other forms of dishonesty:

Acting honestly in an academic setting includes more than just being honest in one's academic assignments; students are expected to be honest in all dealings with the University.  Certain kinds of dishonesty, though often associated with academic work, are of a different category than those listed above.  These kinds of dishonesty include (but are not limited to) the following:

  • Misrepresenting oneself or one's circumstances to an instructor (for example, in requesting a makeup exam or a special due date for an assignment, or in explaining an absence).
  • Forging parts of, or signatures on, official documents (including both university documents, such as drop‑add slips or excused absence slips, and relevant outside documents, such as doctors' notes).
  • Taking credit for work in a team-project even when the student has made little or no contribution to the work of the team.
  • Stealing or damaging library books.
  • Unlawfully copying computer software.

These serious offenses will be handled by the University's disciplinary procedures.

Appeal of Allegation

Students who receive an academic integrity violation may, if they believe that they have not committed an academic integrity violation, take their case to the Board of Academic Integrity.


Individual Course Penalty.  The academic penalty will be determined by the student’s instructor. The instructor may impose a grade penalty up to and including failure in the course.  In the School of Business, all faculty members assign a grade of zero to any work in violation of the Code.  Students who feel that the penalty is too harsh may appeal their grade through the normal University procedure for resolving grade disputes.

If the penalty for the violation is an F for the course, the student will not be permitted to withdraw from the course.  If, after the penalty grade has been taken into account, the student is still passing the course, the student may withdraw from the course prior to the final deadline for withdrawing from a course.

University Penalty.  Students who violate the code of Academic Integrity are also referred to their Dean for a University penalty.   Two kinds of penalty are available – Class I and Class II.  A full academic integrity violation is a Class I violation and Class II violations are usually appropriate for less serious cases, or in cases where there are mitigating circumstances.   Typically, a student with two Class I violations will be dismissed from the university.  In some cases, the Dean (or designee) may choose to treat a violation of the Academic Integrity Code as a Class II violation. Typically, a student may receive only one Class II violation during his or her four-year career as an undergraduate.  All subsequent violations are treated as Class I violations.

Students who have committed an academic integrity violation will be expected to complete an educational program, supervised by the student’s college Dean (or designee), to help the student come to a fuller understanding of academic integrity.  Students who fail to complete the educational program to the satisfaction of the Dean (or designee), and within the timelines specified by the Dean (or designee), will have a hold placed on their transcript until the program has been completed.


Revisions Recommended by Academic Policy Committee: October 20, 2021

Recommended by Council of Deans: November 17, 2021

Approved by Provost: November 17, 2021

Approved by President: November 23, 2021

Office of the Provost

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Phone: 610.519.4520
Fax: 610.519.6200

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