Academic Integrity

Why It's Important

MIT expects all students to demonstrate intellectual honesty, curiosity, and individual engagement with assignments, projects, exams, research, and other academic pursuits.  To do so is to have academic integrity.  Any form plagiarism, cheating, or any acts that demonstrate academic dishonesty is considered a serious violation of our expectations of each other as members of an academic community.  Academic misconduct reduces how much you learn, infringes on the overall quality of others' experience, and runs counter to the ethical decision making taught at MIT.

Outreach and Prevention

When feelings of being overwhelmed and pressure arise due to coursework and the temptation to establish short cuts is being comtemplated, don't risk the violations of academic integrity that may jeopardize your academic career. Try seeking our resources that are available to asist and manage your academic endeavors. Talk to your professor, visit Student Support Serivces, and check out the main resources available in our related links.

Academic Integrity Policy

The Mind & Hand Book, the Academic Integrity Handbook, and MIT Policy 10 all describe MIT’s policies related to academic integrity.  If you have any questions about these policies, you are encouraged to contact the Office of Student Citizenship for an individual case consultation.  We are also available to present to academic departments, classes, student organizations, and other groups on issues related to academic integrity.

Faculty Options for Responding to Academic Misconduct

Information in this section focuses on how faculty can respond to instances of academic dishonesty. We also encourage you to check out our

which contains ideas on how to prevent academic dishonesty and additional information on how to respond.  If you are trying to respond to personal misconduct, please review the information for complainants
The Institute encourages faculty to take responses to academic dishonesty seriously, while also evaluating each case individually for the most appropriate response.  In all cases, documenting the outcome with the Office of Student Citizenship ensures that records of student misconduct are maintained centrally at the Institute, preventing an individual student from committing several instances of academic dishonesty without accountability.  For more information on the Institute’s academic integrity policies, please consult the Handbook for Academic Integrity and Institute Policy 10.2: Procedures for Dealing with Student Academic Dishonesty.
Several degrees of response are available, all of which help uphold the integrity of the Institute and all students’ learning experiences.  The Office of Student Citizenship seeks to facilitate these responses for faculty, as well as being available to maintain documentation within our office on the incident and response.
Below is a brief outline of some typical responses to academic dishonesty.  If you have questions about these, please don’t hesitate to contact the Office of Student Citizenship.

1. Academic action within the subject or project

  • Most commonly, faculty members determine an academic consequence that is appropriate.  Examples include redoing the assignment for a reduced grade, failing the project or assignment, a failing grade in the course, and termination of participation in the research project.  More serious violations should result in more serious consequences.  Faculty members are encouraged to consult their Department Chair and the Office of Student Citizenship for information on precedent.
  • When a faculty member chooses this, s/he should also submit documentation to the Office of Student Citizenship in the form of an letter to file or a formal complaint.  Those options are outlined below.  Submitting documentation to the Office of Student Citizenship helps ensure that the student does not receive multiple academic action responses for repeated violations without being held responsible for a pattern of behavior across subjects.


2. Letter to file

  • Letters to file can be done in conjunction with academic actions within the subject or project. 
  • Letters to file are generally maintained as internal records only.  If a student has subsequent alleged violations, informal letters to file would be reviewed as part of the determination about how the new case would be resolved.
  • Faculty members are encouraged to use (word doc) for letters to file.  Submission of supporting documentation is also encouraged.


3. Committee on Discipline (COD) complaint

  • A COD complaint can be submitted in conjunction with academic action within the course or action regarding student participation in research.
  • A COD complaint will be reviewed by the COD Chair and considered for a hearing.  Cases resulting in a hearing are subject to a full range of sanctioning outcomes, including warning, letter to file, probation, suspension, expulsion, and educational sanctions.
  • Information and forms for filing a COD complaint can be found on our website.