Academic Integrity for Students

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Educational Resources about Academic Integrity

Thank you for your desire to learn more about academic integrity in your Penn State career! Academic integrity is the pursuit of scholarly activity in an open, honest, and responsible manner. This ideal is the basic guiding principle for all academic activity at The Pennsylvania State University, and it is integral to our Penn State Values. Use the following tips to avoid potential academic integrity violations. Remember, integrity is not just what you do, it’s who you are.

Academic integrity is responsibility

It’s your responsibility to know what is expected of you.

  • Start a conversation with your instructor to find out what forms of collaboration and what resources are appropriate.
  • Need help in your classes? Check out the Behrend Learning Resource Center.
  • Do you know the academic, professional, and ethical standards for your major and future career? Learning about these in advance can be invaluable.
  • Using the Internet for Classwork (video)

Academic integrity is excellence

Avoid these common forms of academic integrity violations:

  • Cheating and copying on examinations
  • Inappropriate or unauthorized collaboration on assignments
  • Plagiarism
  • Tampering with another person’s work

Enhance your knowledge of violation scenarios:

Academic integrity is respect

Penn State expects you to respect the work of others through:

Academic integrity is community

A commitment to academic integrity is important because it protects our community.

  • Your actions impact not only your own success, but the success of other Penn Staters.
  • Academic integrity includes a shared commitment not to engage in or tolerate acts of falsification, misrepresentation, or deception. Your commitment protects the reputation of a Penn State degree. Penn State has rescinded bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral degrees because of academic integrity violations.
  • Why is Academic Integrity Important at Penn State? (video)

Discover the consequences of an academic integrity violation

At Penn State, the consequences of an academic integrity violation can range from a failed assignment to removal from your degree program. 

Find out more about what can happen:

If You Receive a Violation Notice

Try not to take it personally. Penn State policies encourage all educators to report suspicions of academic misconduct. Remain calm and do not panic.

Talk with your instructor. Ask about the evidence that led the faculty member to believe that you violated instructions or policies. If you have a reasonable explanation for the evidence, share that explanation with the faculty member.

Remain in the course. Once you are notified of allegations of academic misconduct, you may not drop the course until those allegations are dismissed. If you do, the Registrar will return you to the course and you could be responsible for the consequences of missed work/assessments.

Decide what to do. If you accept the allegation and the sanction, your case will be ended – unless you have prior violations on file. (If you do, your entire case file will be reviewed by the Behrend Academic Integrity Committee, which may add or change sanctions or refer you to the Office of Student Accountability and Conflict Response. Most students do not have multiple violations). If you contest the allegation or the sanction (or both), you will submit a statement telling your side of the story, along with any relevant supporting documents. Your instructor will respond, and you will have the opportunity to review as well. If there is no resolution, your case file will be given to Behrend’s Academic Integrity Committee for a review and decision. In rare circumstances, a live hearing may be held.

Complete and return your form. Once you are logged into the system, you will receive notifications of your rights as a student – be sure to read everything. If you do NOT return your form within the specified timeframe, you signal that you do not contest the allegations.

Here is what the automated form looks like when you receive it:

Please read this entire message.
Our office received an academic integrity claim from INSTRUCTOR alleging that you participated in academic misconduct in COURSE NAME COURSE # during SEMESTER. If you have not had the opportunity to discuss the allegations and evidence of misconduct with your instructor, you should do so immediately. You can also find information about this situation on the website mentioned below.
You have 7 days to respond. To respond, please go to and provide the required information. Although you may save your work and return to the website to complete your submission, you must complete your submission by the deadline. If you fail to respond by the deadline, you will indicate to us that you do not want to contest either the allegation (s) of misconduct or the sanction(s) proposed by your instructor.
You may not drop or withdraw from this course until you are absolved of responsibility for the alleged academic misconduct. With the permission of both the College and the Office of Student Accountability and Conflict Response, this policy may be reconsidered for exceptional reasons (e.g., medical reasons). Students who lose access to course content by initiating a course drop or withdrawal forfeit opportunities to complete missed course work or earn course credit for that work.
If you have any questions about this process, or have a legitimate reason to request an extension on the deadline, please contact Dr. Sarah E. Whitney, Assistant Director of Academic Administration, immediately ([email protected]).
Thank you.

More Resources

You can read Penn State’s administrative policy about academic integrity, which includes recommended sanctions and categories of misconduct.