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Natural Sciences Department Policy on Academic Honesty

Honesty and a reputation for honesty are very important in science. A scientist who is not trusted will find it difficult to get a job, to get grants, and to publish their research, in short, to do science. As a science student you should practice strict academic honesty and avoid even the appearance of dishonesty.


The consequence of an incident of academic dishonesty, such as plagiarism, cheating, or data fudging, will be a "0" for the assignment. A second incident will result in a "0" for the assignment and an "F" for the course. If this occurs before the deadline for withdrawal, the student will be allowed to withdraw from the class.

A student who commits an act of academic dishonesty in more than one class in the Biology major or minor will not be allowed to graduate with a Biology major or minor.

All incidents of academic dishonesty will be reported to the Student Conduct Code officer of the University. See University Policy #1020 Student Conduct Code, for more information.


Here are some definitions to help prevent misunderstanding. If you have any questions, please ask your instructor or advisor.

Plagiarism is using another person's words or ideas and presenting them as your own without acknowledging the original source. This is a very serious offence and in many schools is grounds for expulsion." (Metropolitan State University Student Handbook)

Make sure that you properly acknowledge sources, including references for lab reports and classmates in group projects. The Writing Center can be very helpful on this subject.

Cheating is the use of any un-allowed source of information on a quiz, exam or other test. In this course, all tests are "closed book". In other words, you may use only the information and ideas that you find inside your own mind during the course of the test. You are not allowed to consult written notes, ask another person, look at another person?s test etc. Even "glancing" at another person's paper during a test for inspiration, or coming to a test with notes written on your hands, creates the impression that you are cheating, and will be treated as sufficient proof of cheating. Remember, it is important to avoid even the appearance of dishonesty.

Data fudging is the deliberate misrepresentation of data by adding, deleting, changing, or inaccurately describing results. The solution is simple: use all your data and present them clearly. If you feel that there is a valid reason for changing the data, (and there may be one), present a second analysis with the modified data set, along with a clear statement of how you changed the data and why.

Please see University Policy #1020 Student Conduct Code, for more information.

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