Academic Integrity

Harvard Extension School expects students to understand and maintain high standards of academic integrity. Breaches of academic integrity are subject to review by the Administrative Board and may be grounds for disciplinary action, up to and including requirement to withdraw from the Extension School and suspension of registration privileges. The following are examples.


Plagiarism is the theft of someone else’s ideas and work. It is the incorporation of facts, ideas, or specific language that are not common knowledge, are taken from another source, and are not properly cited.

Whether a student copies verbatim or simply rephrases the ideas of another without properly acknowledging the source, the theft is the same. A computer program written as part of the student’s academic work is, like a paper, expected to be the student’s original work and subject to the same standards of representation. In the preparation of work submitted to meet course, program, or school requirements, whether a draft or a final version of a paper, project, take-home exam, computer program, placement exam, application essay, oral presentation, or other work, students must take great care to distinguish their own ideas and language from information derived from sources. Sources include published and unpublished primary and secondary materials, the Internet, and information and opinions of other people.

Extension School students are responsible for following the standards of proper citation to avoid plagiarism. A useful resource is The Harvard Guide to Using Sources prepared by the Harvard College Writing Program and the Extension School’s tips to avoid plagiarism.

Inappropriate Collaboration and Other Assistance

Collaboration on assignments is prohibited unless explicitly permitted by the instructor. When collaboration is permitted, students must acknowledge all collaboration and its extent in all submitted work. Collaboration includes the use of professional or expert editing or writing services, as well as statistical, coding, or other outside assistance. Because it is assumed that work submitted in a course is the student’s own unless otherwise permitted, students should be very clear about how they are working with others and what types of assistance, if any, they are receiving. In cases where assistance is approved, the student is expected to specify, upon submission of the assignment, the type and extent of assistance that was received and from whom. The goal of this oversight is to preserve the status of the work as the student’s own intellectual product. Students should remember that the Writing Center is available to assist them with assessing and editing their own work.


Students may not copy other students’ work, computer programs or parts of programs, or exams. To avoid any suggestions of improper behavior during an exam, students should not communicate with other students during the exam. Neither should they refer to any books, papers, or use electronic devices during the exam without the permission of the instructor or proctor. All electronic devices must be turned off during an exam.

Duplicate Assignments

Students are expected to submit work that is done solely for each course in which they enroll. Prior written permission of all instructors is required if students wish to submit the same or similar work in more than one course.

Students who repeat a course must have the instructor's approval to reuse or resubmit work that they previously submitted for the same course.

Research, Fabrication, and Falsification

Students are expected to be honest and accurate in all work submitted, whether it involves scientific research or writing articles in journalism courses, or any other course. Fabrication is the intentional act of making up data, results, or quotes, and includes falsely citing sources or citing sources never utilized.  Falsification is the manipulation of research including the distortion or omission of important data or results. Like plagiarism, fabrication and falsification are serious violations of academic integrity that are subject to review by the Administrative Board for disciplinary action.  

The University deeply values the integrity of science with sound and safe research practices by students and faculty. Individually and collectively, student and faculty researchers are expected to safeguard and maintain the University’s policies and practices with respect to scientific misconduct. All researchers are reminded that sponsoring agencies also have such concerns, and that the University must inform the sponsors of any serious transgressions of their policies, as well as of any investigations related to sponsored research. Sponsors may take action independent of the University.  

Computer and Network Use

Information stored on a computer system or sent electronically over a network is the private property of the individual who created it. Examination, collection, or dissemination of that information without authorization from the owner is a violation of the owner’s right to control his or her property. Computers and networks provide mechanisms for protecting private information; attempts to circumvent these mechanisms to gain unauthorized access to private information are treated as violations of privacy.

Students are eligible for Harvard computer accounts primarily for educational use. Students who are provided access to University computer facilities and to the campus-wide communication network assume responsibility for their appropriate use. Accounts are considered to have tangible value. Attempts to circumvent the accounting system, to use the accounts of others without authorization, or to use accounts for anything other than their intended purposes are all forms of attempted theft. Students should not disclose account passwords or otherwise make the account available to others. Use of Harvard’s computers and networks for commercial purposes without authorization is prohibited.

Students should not interfere with the functioning of a computer, or disrupt or distract others using a computer. Use of an e-mail system to send fraudulent, annoying, or obscene messages is prohibited. Similarly, messages must not misrepresent the identity of the sender, be sent as chain letters, or broadcast indiscriminately to large numbers of people.

It is the student’s responsibility to learn the rules and responsibilities for appropriate use of computers and networks. These rules and responsibilities may be viewed online on the Harvard University Information Technology website.

Certain computer misconduct is prohibited under Massachusetts law and is, therefore, subject to criminal penalties. Such misconduct includes knowingly gaining unauthorized access to a computer system or database, falsely obtaining electronic services or data without payment of required charges, and destroying electronically processed, stored, or in-transit data.

Library Use

Registered Extension School students have access to the University’s electronic resources. In addition, degree and diploma candidates with Harvard ID cards have access to Harvard libraries. To preserve the collections and to ensure ongoing access to them, library users are expected to respect the rules and regulations for use of library materials and property and to assist in the protection of library materials. Every library user has a responsibility to safeguard the integrity of library resources; respect the restrictions on access to and the use of those resources; report the theft, destruction, or misuse of library resources by others; respect the rights of others to the quiet use of the library; and respect the authority of the librarians and staff.

The following is prohibited: the use of licensed materials for commercial purposes, including the sale of licensed materials; printing or downloading significant portions of licensed online resources; permitting anyone other than authorized users to use the licensed materials; modifying or creating derivative work of the licensed materials without permission of the licensor; removing, obscuring, or modifying any copyright or other notices included in the licensed materials; unauthorized removal of materials or property from the library; destruction, defacement, or abuse of library materials or property; and use of library privileges for reasons other than academic pursuits. Users are individually responsible for compliance with these terms.

Students, staff, faculty members, researchers, visitors, and other users who fail to comply with library rules and regulations are subject to revocation of library privileges, disciplinary action, and legal prosecution. All library users are subject to the fines and penalties of the University, as well as the laws of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts governing crimes against property.