Intellectual Honesty

Examples of Academic Offences

There are many possible forms of academic dishonesty. Since it is not possible to list all instances of academic dishonesty, the following list of examples should be considered only as a guide. The omission of a dishonest action from this list does not prevent the University from prosecuting an alleged instance of that action.

A. Plagiarism

Members of academic communities are privileged to share in knowledge generated through the efforts of many. In return, each member of the community has the responsibility to acknowledge the source of the information used and to contribute knowledge that can in turn, be trusted and used by others. Consequently, the University attaches great importance to the contribution of original thought to learning and scholarship. It attaches equal importance to the appropriate acknowledgment of sources from which facts and opinions have been obtained.

Dalhousie University defines plagiarism as the submission or presentation of the work of another as if it were one's own.

Plagiarism is considered a serious academic offence that may lead to the assignment of a failing grade, suspension or expulsion from the University. If a penalty results in a student no longer meeting the requirements of a degree that has been awarded, the University may rescind that degree.

Some examples of plagiarism are:

  • failure to attribute authorship when using a broad spectrum of sources such as written or oral work, computer codes/programs, artistic or architectural works, scientific projects, performances, web page designs, graphical representations, diagrams, videos, and images;
  • downloading all or part of the work of another from the Internet and submitting as one's own; and
  • the use of a paper prepared by any person other than the individual claiming to be the author.

The proper use of footnotes and other methods of acknowledgment vary from one field of study to another. Failure to cite sources as required in the particular field of study in the preparation of essays, term papers and dissertations or theses may, in some cases, be considered to be plagiarism.

Students who are in any doubt about how to acknowledge sources should discuss the matter in advance with the faculty members for whom they are preparing assignments. In many academic departments, written statements on matters of this kind are made available as a matter of routine or can be obtained on request. Students may also take advantage of resources available through the Writing Centre at writingcentre.dal.ca or the Dalhousie Libraries at www.library.dal.ca/services/infolit.

B. Irregularities in the Presentation of Data from Experiments, Field Studies, etc.

Academic research is based on the presentation of accurate information and data that are obtained honestly. The trustworthiness of our findings is essential to building knowledge in and across fields of study. Therefore, the falsification of data in reports, theses, dissertations and other presentations is a serious academic offence, equivalent in degree to plagiarism, for which the penalties may include the assignment of a failing grade, suspension or expulsion from the University or the withdrawal of a degree previously awarded.

C. Other Irregularities

Dalhousie University strives to provide equal opportunities for learners to demonstrate and to be recognized for their abilities. Any behaviour intended to gain unearned advantage over another person violates this principle. A member of the University who attempts, or who assists any other person in an attempt, to fulfill, by irregular procedures, any requirements for a course, commits an academic offence and is subject to a penalty.

In the absence of specific approval from the instructor of a course, all students should assume that every assignment is to be completed independently, without any form of collaboration.

Students should take reasonable precautions to prevent other students from having access, without permission, to their tests, assignments, essays or term papers.

The following are some examples of irregular procedures. The list should be used only as a guide since it is not possible to cover all situations that may be considered by the Senate Discipline Committee to be irregular.

  • writing an examination or test for someone else;
  • attempting to obtain or accepting assistance from any other person during an examination or test;
  • during the time one is writing an examination or test, having material that is not specifically approved by the instructor;
  • without authorization, obtaining a copy of an examination or test, topic for an essay or paper, or other work;
  • without authorization from the faculty member in charge of that course, submitting any work for academic credit when one is not the sole author or creator;
  • without authorization submitting any work that has been previously accepted for academic credit in any other course in any degree, diploma or certificate program, or has been completed as part of employment within the University, for example, as research activity. A repeated course is considered to be a separate course.

D. Aiding in the Commission of an Academic Offence

No student may encourage or aid another student in the commission of an academic offence, for example,

  • by lending another student an assignment knowing that he or she may copy it for submission;
  • by allowing another student to copy answers during an examination.

E. Misrepresentation

Any person who provides false or misleading information during an investigation of a suspected academic offence is guilty of an offence.


A university should be a model of intellectual honesty. As such Dalhousie University shares in the academic values of honesty, trust, respect, fairness and responsibility (Centre for Academic Integrity, 1999 - of which Dalhousie University is a member). Failure to meet the University's standards with respect to these values can result in an academic offence. The length of time a student has attended university, the presence of a dishonest intent and other circumstances may all be relevant to the seriousness with which the matter is viewed.

Violations of intellectual honesty are offensive to the entire academic community, not just to the individual faculty member and students in whose course an offence occurs.

Instructors are responsible for setting examinations and assignments as part of the learning process and for evaluating those examinations and assignments, including ensuring that any rules stated for the procedures used in an examination or assignment are followed. Any violation of such stated rules that could result in a student gaining an unfair or unearned advantage may be considered to be an academic offence.