Academic Integrity

Academic integrity means assuming responsibility for your intellectual work and respecting the rights of others to be credited for their intellectual work. It is a privilege to have the opportunity to pursue an education at a prestigious institution such as Michigan State.  You owe it to yourself, your colleagues, and your alma mater to maintain a level of intellectual integrity expected of an MSU graduate.

What Constitutes an Academically Dishonest Act?

Academically dishonest acts include, but are not limited to:
– using unauthorized materials during exams or quizzes (e.g., smartphones, notes, laptops, etc.) to retrieve information or communicate with others,
– copying course-related notes or information onto clothing, body parts, or personal belongings for use during exams or quizzes,
– copying and pasting text from papers, websites, or products of others’ efforts without attributing credit,
– copying peers’ work on any assignment,
– completing assignments or using a peer’s iClicker to submit answers to questions on their behalf,
– using or adapting original ideas or intellectual products of others without attributing credit.

Students engaged in these or other academically dishonest behaviors will be subject to all penalties that apply, including a “no credit” score for the assignment, exam, or course, and other university sanctions as appropriate.

Don’t Confuse Collaboration with Cheating!

This class encourages collaboration as a way to learn and improve your understanding of material.  You will be encouraged to work with your team and your classmates both in and out of class on a variety of tasks and to study together by quizzing each other over course materials, practicing your explanations with team members, and asking for clarification of concepts. However, collaboration does not mean copying a peer’s responses to a homework problem or any other course assessment – this will always be regarded as cheating.

Note that asking a team member, “What did you put for #4?” is quite different from asking, “Could you explain what you think is meant by density-dependent population growth? I’m not sure I really understand how it’s different from density-independent growth.”

For more information and the University Ombudsman’s perspective on collaboration at MSU, see

What are the Consequences of an Academically Dishonest Act?

Michigan State University has an all university policy regarding Integrity and Scholarship of Grades. As a student of MSU, it is your responsibility to become familiar with, understand, and abide by General Student Regulations which protect both you and the university if an infraction has occurred. Ignorance of these regulations is not a defense in cases of infringement. Students who commit plagiarism or other academically dishonest acts will be subject to the following actions:

1. Receive a 0.0 on the assignment, regardless of the assignment type – this is non-negotiable.

2. Have an Academic Dishonesty Report added to their student record. Receiving a 0.0 on an assignment for academic dishonesty is equivalent to issuing a “penalty grade”.  When an instructor issues a penalty grade, he/she is required to submit an Academic Dishonesty Report online. This report will be added to the student’s record by their academic Dean where it will remain, unless the student successfully grieves the allegation. See – item #3.

3. First offenders will, at a minimum, be required to attend an educational program on academic integrity and misconduct that is offered by the Associate Provost for Undergraduate Studies.

4. Depending on the specific circumstances, additional penalties may also apply, including issuance of a failing grade for the course and/or dismissal from the university.

Not sure if an act counts as academically dishonest?  Ask!  It’s so much easier to ask than risk your academic future – IT IS NOT WORTH IT!