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Academic Misconduct

Academic misconduct or violation of Engineering Ethics is unacceptable in the practice of engineering. As a practicing engineer, you will be subject to the Engineering Society's Canon of Ethics (a copy of this is included as Appendix I). While preparing to be an engineer, you are subject to the College of Engineering rules regarding Academic Misconduct.

Academic misconduct includes plagiarism, cheating on examinations or on individual project assignments, fraud, and theft or alteration of other people's work on academic materials to improve your own grades or acquire academic credit. If you are accused of academic misconduct you will be referred for disciplinary action according to the Student Conduct Code of the Washington Administrative Code. If you are found guilty, you are subject to sanctions that range from disciplinary warning to immediate dismissal from the College of Engineering and from the University of Washington. Dismissal can be and has been applied to first offenses.

The College expects you to behave in a mature manner and to be responsible for your own actions. The College does not accept excuses for misconduct; it will prosecute all allegations of misconduct according to the procedures outlined in the College of Engineering Disciplinary Procedure. The College of Engineering Academic Misconduct Policy, including the Code of Ethics of Engineers, can be found here. (Academic Misconduct Agreement Form)


Most academic misconduct falls under the definition of plagiarism: taking the ideas, writings, or inventions of someone else and representing them as your own. As long as you give credit to the originator of the material you are not guilty of plagiarism. However, merely enclosing statements or sentences in quotation marks is not sufficient; you must identify the source.

Examples of plagiarism:

  1. Turning in a paper from a previous class.
  2. Having another person write an assignment (for pay or for free) and putting your name on it.
  3. Modifying or paraphrasing someone else's ideas or writings and submitting them as your own.
  4. Having someone rewrite substantial portions of your paper and submitting the final version as your own.
  5. Copying phrases, sentences, sections, paragraphs, or graphics from another and not giving credit by citing the source.
  6. Turning in someone else's solution to an exam or a question on an exam as your own.

Examples that are not plagiarism:

  1. Asking someone to read your assignment and suggest possible improvements.
  2. Getting together with other students to discuss an assignment.
  3. Asking your instructor for help with an assignment.
  4. Quoting extensively from someone else's works but giving them credit.
  5. Not citing sources for information that is considered common knowledge or that is readily available in dictionaries or your course textbook. For example, you need not cite your textbook as the source of the equations that you use in an assignment.


Another form of misconduct is cheating. The following list gives examples of cheating that have resulted in probation or dismissal.

  1. Allowing someone else to prepare an assignment for you or preparing an assignment for someone else.
  2. Having someone else take an examination for you or taking an examination for someone else.
  3. Obtaining information about an examination or assignment that is not authorized by the instructor.
  4. Changing an answer to an examination after it has been turned in, whether it has been graded or not.
  5. Looking at someone else's paper during an examination or allowing someone else to look at your paper.
  6. Working with someone else during an examination or on an assignment where the work is to be done independently.
  7. Bringing materials or information not permitted by the instructor into an examination.

The majority of this material is taken from the 2 March 1992 memo from Dean A.F. Emery to Engineering Departments and Programs.


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