Academic Misconduct Descriptions

Misconduct in research or scholarship includes fabrication, falsification, or plagiarism in proposing, performing, reviewing, or reporting research. It does not include honest error or honest differences in interpretations or judgments of data.

Texas A&M University students are responsible for authenticating all work submitted to an instructor. If asked, students must be able to produce proof that the item submitted is indeed the work of that student. Students must keep appropriate records at all times. The inability to authenticate one’s work, should the instructor request it, is sufficient grounds to initiate an academic dishonesty case.

Academic dishonesty includes the commission of any of the following acts. This listing is not, however, exclusive of any other acts that may reasonably be called academic dishonesty. Clarification is provided for each definition by listing some prohibited behaviors.

1. Cheating:

Intentionally using or attempting to use unauthorized materials, information, notes, study aids or other devices or materials in any academic exercise.


  • During an examination, looking at another student's examination or using external aids (for example, books, notes, calculators, conversation with others, or electronic devices) unless specifically allowed in advance by the instructor.
  • Having others conduct research or prepare work without advance authorization from the instructor.
  • Acquiring answers for any assigned work or examination from any unauthorized source. This includes, but is not limited to, using the services of commercial term paper companies, purchasing answer sets to homework from tutoring companies, and obtaining information from students who have previously taken the examination.
  • Collaborating with other students in the completion of assigned work, unless specifically authorized by the instructor teaching the course. It is safe to assume that all assignments are to be completed individually unless the instructor indicates otherwise; however, students who are unsure should seek clarification from their instructors.
  • Other similar acts.

2. Fabrication:

Making up data or results, and recording or reporting them; submitting fabricated documents.


  • The intentional invention and unauthorized alteration of any information or citation in any academic exercise.
  • Using "invented" information in any laboratory experiment, report of results or academic exercise. It would be improper, for example, to analyze one sample in an experiment and then "invent" data based on that single experiment for several more required analyses.
  • Failing to acknowledge the actual source from which cited information was obtained. For example, a student shall not take a quotation from a book review and then indicate that the quotation was obtained from the book itself.
  • Changing information on tests, quizzes, examinations, reports, or any other material that has been graded and resubmitting it as original for the purpose of improving the grade on that material.
  • Providing a fabricated document to any University employee in order to obtain an excused absence or to satisfy a course requirement.
  • Other similar acts.

3. Falsification:

Manipulating research materials, equipment, or processes, or changing or omitting data or results such that the research is not accurately represented in the research record.


  • Changing the measurements in an experiment in a laboratory exercise so as to obtain results more closely conforming to theoretically expected values.
  • Other similar acts.

4. Multiple Submission:

Submitting substantial portions of the same work (including oral reports) for credit more than once without authorization from the instructor of the class for which the student submits the work.


  • Submitting the same work for credit in more than one course without the instructor’s permission.
  • Making revisions in a paper or report (including oral presentations) that has been submitted in one class and submitting it for credit in another class without the instructor’s permission.
  • Representing group work done in one class as one’s own work for the purpose of using it in another class.
  • Other similar acts.

5. Plagiarism:

The appropriation of another person's ideas, processes, results, or words without giving appropriate credit.


  • Intentionally, knowingly, or carelessly presenting the work of another as one’s own (i.e., without crediting the author or creator).
  • Failing to credit sources used in a work product in an attempt to pass off the work as one’s own.
  • Attempting to receive credit for work performed by another, including papers obtained in whole or in part from individuals or other sources. Students are permitted to use the services of a tutor (paid or unpaid), a professional editor, or the University Writing Center to assist them in completing assigned work, unless such assistance is explicitly prohibited by the instructor. If such services are used by the student, the resulting product must be the original work of the student. Purchasing research reports, essays, lab reports, practice sets, or answers to assignments from any person or business is strictly prohibited. Sale of such materials is a violation of both these rules and State law.
  • Failing to cite the World Wide Web, databases and other electronic resources if they are utilized in any way as resource material in an academic exercise.
  • Other similar acts.

General information pertaining to plagiarism:

  • Style Guides:
    Instructors are responsible for identifying any specific style/format requirement for the course. Examples include, but are not limited to, American Psychological Association (APA) style and Modern Languages Association (MLA) style.
  • Direct Quotation:
    Every direct quotation must be identified by quotation marks or appropriate indentation and must be properly acknowledged in the text by citation or in a footnote or endnote.
  • Paraphrase:
    Prompt acknowledgment is required when material from another source is paraphrased or summarized, in whole or in part, in one's own words. To acknowledge a paraphrase properly, one might state: "To paraphrase Locke's comment..." and then conclude with a footnote or endnote identifying the exact reference.
  • Borrowed facts:
    Information gained in reading or research, which is not common knowledge, must be acknowledged.
  • Common knowledge:
    Common knowledge includes generally known facts such as the names of leaders of prominent nations, basic scientific laws, etc., basic historical information (e.g., George Washington was the first President of the United States.) Common knowledge does not require citation.
  • Works consulted:
    Materials which add only to a general understanding of a subject may be acknowledged in the bibliography, and need not be footnoted or end-noted. Writers should be certain that they have not used specific information from a general source in preparing their work unless it has been appropriately cited. Writers should not include books, papers, or any other type of source in a bibliography, “works cited” list, or a “works consulted” list unless those materials were actually used in the research. The practice of citing unused works is sometimes referred to as “padding.”
  • Footnotes, endnotes, and in-text citations:
    One footnote, endnote, or in-text citation is usually enough to acknowledge indebtedness when a number of connected sentences are drawn from one source. When direct quotations are used, however, quotation marks must be inserted and acknowledgment made. Similarly, when a passage is paraphrased, acknowledgment is required.
  • Graphics, design products, and visual aids:
    All graphics, design products, and visual aids from another creator used in academic assignments must reference the source of the material.
  • Other similar acts.

6. Complicity:

Intentionally or knowingly helping, or attempting to help, another to commit an act of academic dishonesty.


  • Knowingly allowing another to copy from one's paper during an examination or test.
  • Distributing test questions or substantive information about the test without the instructor’s permission.
  • Collaborating on academic work knowing that the collaboration will not be reported.
  • Taking an examination or test for another student.
  • Signing another's name on an academic exercise or attendance sheet.
  • Conspiring or agreeing with one or more persons to commit, or to attempt to commit, any act of scholastic dishonesty.
  • Other similar acts.

7. Abuse and Misuse of Access and Unauthorized Access:

Students may not abuse or misuse computer access or gain unauthorized access to information in any academic exercise. See Student Rule 22:

8. Violation of Departmental or College Rules:

Students may not violate any announced departmental or college rule relating to academic matters.

9. University Rules on Research:

Students involved in conducting research and/or scholarly activities at Texas A&M University must also adhere to standards set forth in University Rule 15.99.03.M1 - Responsible Conduct in Research and Scholarship. 
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