Statement on Plagiarism

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Harvard University Extension School Policy on Student Responsibilities

Attendance and participation

Harvard Extension School expects students to be active and engaged participants. Students registered in a course for undergraduate or graduate credit must attend all classes or participate online as a distance student, take all exams, and complete all coursework on time. Students registered in Institute for English Language courses are expected to attend all classes and complete all coursework.

Students who are registered for a course and miss the first 1 or 2 meetings risk losing their place in the course. The Extension School reserves the right to prohibit or cancel late registration by students who do not attend first class meetings.

Students are prohibited from using recording devices of any kind in their courses without the instructor's explicit approval.

Submission of written work

Students are responsible for ensuring that required written work is submitted and received on time. It is their responsibility to submit work according to instructors’ requirements and obtain proof that the submission has been delivered successfully. This includes work that is submitted in person or by postal mail, e-mail, or an electronic dropbox.

Late work may be submitted only with instructor approval and according to instructor policies. Registering late does not warrant an exception to this policy.

Exclusion from a course

A student who is consistently not prepared for class, fails to attend class or participate online, and whose gross neglect of work is disruptive to the progress of instruction may, after written warning by the instructor, be excluded from the course. If it is before the withdrawal deadline the student may voluntarily withdraw from the course for a WN grade as an alternative to exclusion, but may no longer attend or participate. A student who is excluded from a course is prohibited from continuing with it in any way, including attending classes, participating online, taking exams, and submitting work. The student is assigned the permanent notation EXD (excluded from course), which is equivalent to a failing grade and earns no credit for the course. A student who is excluded from a course is not eligible for a tuition refund for that course.

Academic integrity

Harvard Extension School expects students to understand and maintain high standards of academic integrity. Breaches of academic integrity include the following 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.

Inappropriate collaboration

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.


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 1 course.

Scientific research

Students are expected to record honestly and accurately the results of their research. Falsification of research results includes misrepresentations, distortions, or serious omissions in data or reports on research, and it is considered a serious violation of academic honesty. Plagiarism or falsification of research results will ordinarily result in the student’s withdrawal from the Extension School.

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 for appropriate use of computers and networks. Policies are published in Computer Rules and Responsibilities, available in Science Center B-13, 53 Church Street, and on the FAS-IT 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 University photo IDs 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.


Students are expected to conduct themselves responsibly, honestly, and with due consideration for others while on Harvard University property, as well as in all of their interactions and communications with members of the Harvard community. The Administrative Board for University Extension reviews the actions of students charged with harassment; fraud; infringing on the rights of others; violating the rules and regulations of any University department; behaving inappropriately toward University faculty, staff, or fellow students; the unauthorized use of University facilities or equipment, including computer resources; the alteration or falsification of University records; the unauthorized recording, sale, or purchase of lectures or other instructional materials; destroying or defacing University property; misrepresenting themselves or their University affiliation; or disturbing orderly academic functions and processes. The unlawful possession, use, or distribution of drugs and alcohol by any student is prohibited. Students who are found to have violated these rules are subject to disciplinary action, including possible withdrawal from a course or program, or suspension from the Extension School.

Administrative withdrawal

A student may be administratively withdrawn from the Extension School in the following circumstances:

  • The student has been arrested on allegations of serious criminal behavior, or has been formally charged by law enforcement authorities with such behavior
  • In the School’s judgment, the student’s prior conduct indicates that his or her continued presence would pose a significant risk to the safety of the Harvard community or a serious disruption to the educational environment of the Harvard community
  • The student has not provided medical documentation as proof of required inoculations
  • The student’s behavior or threatening state is determined to be the result of a medical condition, or the student refuses to cooperate or is noncompliant with the efforts deemed necessary by the University Health Services to evaluate the student’s behavior or threatening state

Before administratively withdrawing a student, the dean of students ordinarily will consult with the Administrative Board and other officers of the University. The student will be informed of the decision in writing, and may request reconsideration by the dean of the Extension School, or by the Administrative Board. A student who is administratively withdrawn will be assigned an interim or permanent grade of WA (administrative withdrawal). Administrative withdrawal is not a disciplinary action; however, an incident that gives rise to administrative withdrawal may subsequently result in disciplinary action. Any student who has been administratively withdrawn must remain away from Harvard if so instructed by the Extension School.

Sexual harassment

Sexual harassment is discriminatory and unlawful. Federal and state laws define sexual harassment as unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature when such conduct has the purpose or effect of unreasonably interfering with an individual’s work or school environment. Harvard Extension School does not tolerate any form of sexual harassment. Students, instructors, or staff who engage in sexual harassment face discipline.

Students with complaints are encouraged to call Robert Neugeboren, dean of students, (617) 495-1765, or Brenda Mahoney, associate registrar, (617) 495-0977. Complaints can be handled either formally or informally. It is unlawful and a violation of Extension School policy to retaliate against anyone for filing a complaint of harassment or for cooperating in the investigation of such a complaint. Copies of the Extension School’s sexual harassment policy, which describes how student complaints can be filed and how cases are investigated, are available at 51 Brattle Street.

Dean of Students Office

The Dean of Students Office serves the Extension School community as a resource for information and guidance in the areas of student life, school policies and procedures, and academic and nonacademic student conduct. See Student and Alumni Affairs Office for more information.

Admission to a program

Harvard Extension School expects that a student’s application to degree and diploma programs be accurate and complete. Honesty in all forms, including self-representation, is considered a fundamental requirement for degree candidacy. Occasionally candidates for admission have made inaccurate statements or submitted false materials in connection with their applications (e.g., not listing a prior college, misrepresenting their native language, or plagiarizing essays).

In most cases these misrepresentations are discovered during the admission process, and the application is rejected with notification to the Administrative Board, which may take disciplinary action, including permanent suspension from Harvard Extension School. If misrepresentations are discovered after a candidate is admitted or a degree or diploma has been awarded, dismissal or revocation of the degree or diploma will ordinarily result.