In simple terms, plagiarism is using another person's words or ideas and presenting them as your own, without acknowledging the original source. This is a serious academic offense. Academic sanctions can include receiving a failing grade for an assignment or an entire course.

It is important to understand plagiarism may take many forms. Copying information from one source and presenting it in a paper or report without the use of footnotes or direct mention of the source in the body of the paper is one common form of plagiarism. Using another author's ideas without proper acknowledgement may also be considered plagiarism. It is also unacceptable to submit another person's paper or examination as your own.

You should be aware that the university subscribes to plagiarism detection software, and that your papers may be selected for plagiarism checking. In instances of plagiarism or other forms of academic dishonesty, instructors may impose academic sanctions. Allegations of plagiarism or other forms of academic dishonesty are also subject to investigation and additional conduct sanctions under the Student Conduct Code Policy #1020(.pdf) and Procedure #112(.pdf).

If you have questions about the use of footnotes or other notations, talk to your instructor, consult the Library and Information Services website, or seek assistance in the proper way of writing a paper by contacting the Writing Center.

Students who believe that they have been falsely accused of plagiarism should contact the Ombudsperson for assistance.

Preventing Plagiarism

Take these steps to be proactive about preventing plagiarism:

  • READ your syllabus and UNDERSTAND your assignments to make yourself aware of the course requirements and expectations regarding written work and source attribution.
  • CRTICALLY ENGAGE in your research sources and written work.
  • UTILIZE resources available to you and know when to ASK FOR HELP from:

Reference & Research Assistance Desk: 651-793-1614
Foundational writing and research course options, e.g.:
INFS 115: Informal Access (2 credit course)
Writing 101: Introduction to College Writing (3 credit course)