A student is in good standing if the student is making normal progress toward a degree and has a satisfactory record in scholarship and conduct. Scholastic regulations for undergraduates pertaining to choice of studies, completion of course requirements, and academic standing are published online in the Undergraduate Announcement (https://ua.princeton.edu), and graduate students regulations also are online.
Jurisdiction over violations of academic rules and regulations rests with two distinct committees at Princeton. All in-class undergraduate written examinations and tests are conducted under the honor system. All violations of the honor system are the concern of the Undergraduate Honor Committee. Violations of rules and regulations pertaining to all other academic work, including essays, term papers, laboratory reports, and take-home examinations fall under the jurisdiction of the Faculty-Student Committee on Discipline. Should there be any uncertainty regarding which body is responsible for the adjudication of a particular case, clarification should be requested from the Office of the Dean of Undergraduate Students or the chair of the Honor Committee.
At the end of an essay, laboratory report, or any other requirement, undergraduates must write the following sentence and sign their name: “This paper represents my own work in accordance with University regulations.”
Students may not engage in the publication, sale, or distribution—online or by any other means—of syllabi, assignments, examinations, abstracts, or notes or transcriptions of the lectures and other course-related materials or required reading in any course of instruction in the University.
This regulation is not intended to preclude situations in which students may act as assistants to instructors who are themselves preparing lectures or other course-related materials, either for informal distribution (without sale) to members of a particular course or department, or for formal publication and sale by a publisher.
An undergraduate is subject to disciplinary action if that student makes use of any paid or unpaid tutor, tutoring service or facility other than that regularly authorized by the Office of the Dean of the College. Also, no undergraduate may accept compensation for tutoring in Princeton courses except as authorized by the Office of the Dean of the College. Graduate students should consult the Office of the Dean of the Graduate School.
The use of solutions to specific questions or problems on any websites or online services (regardless of whether they require a paid subscription) when completing any work submitted to fulfill an academic requirement (such as homework assignments, problem sets, quizzes, tests, or examinations of any kind) is prohibited. Any student violating this provision is subject to disciplinary action.
The academic departments of the University have varying requirements for the acknowledgment of sources, but certain fundamental principles apply to all levels of work. In order to prevent any misunderstanding, students are expected to study and comply with the following basic requirements. If you have any questions about when and how to cite your sources, ask the course instructor. An important general rule is this: if you are unsure whether or not to acknowledge a source, always err on the side of caution and completeness by citing rather than not citing.
Any quotations, however small, must be placed in quotation marks or clearly indented beyond the regular margin. Any quotation must be accompanied (either within the text or in a footnote) by a precise indication of the source—identifying the author, title, place and date of publication (where relevant), and page numbers. Any sentence or phrase which is not the original work of the student must be acknowledged.
Any material which is paraphrased or summarized must also be specifically acknowledged in a footnote or in the text. A thorough rewording or rearrangement of an author’s text does not relieve one of this responsibility. Occasionally, students maintain that they have read a source long before they wrote their papers and have unwittingly duplicated some of its phrases or ideas. This is not a valid excuse. The student is responsible for taking adequate notes so that debts of phrasing may be acknowledged where they are due.
Ideas and Facts
Any ideas or facts which are borrowed should be specifically acknowledged in a footnote or in the text, even if the idea or fact has been further elaborated by the student. Some ideas, facts, formulas, and other kinds of information which are widely known and considered to be in the “public domain” of common knowledge do not always require citation. The criteria for common knowledge vary among disciplines; students in doubt should consult a member of the faculty.
Occasionally, a student in preparing an essay has consulted an essay or body of notes on a similar subject by another student. If the student has done so, the student must state that fact and indicate clearly the nature and extent of their indebtedness to the other source. The name and class of the author of an essay or notes which are consulted should be given, and the student should be prepared to show the work consulted to the instructor, if requested to do so.
Footnotes and Bibliography
All the sources that have been consulted in the preparation of an essay or report should be listed in a bibliography, unless specific guidelines (from the academic department or instructor) request that only works cited be so included. However, the mere listing of a source in a bibliography shall not be considered a “proper acknowledgment” for specific use of that source within the essay or report; a footnote or endnote must also appear after the information or quotation from that source. Neither shall the use of a footnote at the end of a sentence or paragraph in which only minor word changes have been made from the original source be considered “proper acknowledgment.” The extent of indebtedness to the author must be made clear.
Nonprint and Electronic Sources
The requirement to acknowledge sources is not limited to printed material such as books or journal articles. You may need to acknowledge information that you’ve found in graphical form, sources that are works of visual or musical art, handwritten notes from a lecture or a laboratory, or even personal conversations. You should find out the disciplinary protocols for citing such nonprint sources by consulting a citation style manual, such as the MLA Handbookor The Chicago Manual of Style.
Electronic information through the internet, email, e-media, and e-publication has had a significant impact on the way we conduct research. An electronic source is any source that exists primarily in electronic form and is accessed primarily through electronic means. Websites, electronic periodicals, electronic books, emails and social media postings, and even streaming audio are all forms of electronic sources. Information and quotations from any electronic sources must be properly acknowledged. The protocols for citing electronic sources are well-established and you should consult a citation style manual for particular examples. At a minimum, cite the name and author of the electronic source, publisher information, the DOI (director object identifier) or the URL if the DOI is not available, and the date you accessed the material.
Laboratory Work, Problem Sets, Computer Programs, and Homework
The organization of laboratory and computational courses varies throughout the University. In many courses, students work in pairs or in larger groups. In those cases where individual reports are submitted based on work involving collaboration, proper acknowledgment of the extent of the collaboration must appear in the report. In those cases where there are two or more signatories to a submitted report, each student’s signature is taken to mean that the student has contributed fairly to the work involved and understands and endorses the content of the report. If for any reason, a set of observations or calculations has been invalidated or left incomplete, permission must be granted by the instructor to obtain the data from other sources and those sources must be specifically acknowledged in the report. Make sure you understand the rules of collaboration in any course by asking the instructor.
Under certain conditions, the student may be permitted to rewrite an earlier work or to satisfy two academic requirements by producing a single piece of work more extensive than that which would satisfy either requirement on its own. In such cases however, the student must secure in writing, prior permission of each instructor. In cases where a previously submitted work, or a portion of it, is submitted in its original or revised form to another instructor, the student must also submit the original work with the revised version. If a single extended work has been written for more than one course, that fact must be clearly indicated at the beginning of the essay.
Students required to submit written notes for oral reports must clearly acknowledge any work that is not original, in accordance with the requirements stated above.
Standard Forms of Reference
For standard forms of quotations, footnotes, and bibliographies, the student may consult one of the following: The MLA Handbook for Writers of Research Papers (Modern Language Association of America, 4th edition, 1995); A Manual for Writers of Term Papers, Theses, and Dissertations (Kate L. Turabian, John Grossman, and Alice Bennett, 6th revised edition, l996); or a style sheet provided by a department of the University.
2.4.7 Definitions of Academic Violations under the Jurisdiction of the Faculty-Student Committee on Discipline and the Subcommittee on Student Life and Discipline of the Faculty Committee on the Graduate School
With regard to essays, laboratory reports, take-home examinations, or any other work submitted to fulfill an official academic requirement (including work submitted in draft form for an instructor’s review, where the instructor would reasonably assume adequate citations and/or true data), the following are considered academic infractions:
Unauthorized Multiple Submission
The failure to obtain prior written permission of the relevant instructors to submit any work that has been submitted in identical or similar form in fulfillment of any other academic requirement at any institution.
The attribution to, or citation of, a source from which the material in question was not, in fact, obtained.
The submission of data or information that has been deliberately altered or contrived by the student or with the student’s knowledge.
Gaining or Attempting to Gain an Unfair Advantage
The gaining or attempting to gain unauthorized advantage over fellow students in any work in fulfillment of an academic requirement. This may include but is not limited to a failure to follow the instructor’s policies or instructions for an assignment or exam in such a way that provides an advantage to the student or the misrepresentation—explicit or implicit—of information regarding the preparation, presentation, or submission of work in fulfillment of an academic requirement, where such misrepresentation is made to an instructor in an attempt to gain an unfair advantage, including the submission for re-grading of any academic work under the jurisdiction of the Faculty-Student Committee on Discipline.
Violation of Examination Procedures
During the course of an examination, the failure to follow examination procedures as set forth by the faculty member(s) who oversee that examination. (For in-class examination violations by undergraduate students, see section 2.3 of the Undergraduate Honor System.) Graduate students see also section 2.6.7 (“research integrity”).
Aiding Plagiarism or Any Other Academic Violation
Any aid knowingly given to another in committing any of the infractions described above, or aid given contrary to instructions provided by the course instructor, will also be considered a violation.
Violations of these regulations are under the jurisdiction of the Faculty-Student Committee on Discipline or the Office of the Dean of the Graduate School.
The only adequate defense for a student accused of an academic violation is that the work in question does not, in fact, constitute a violation.
Neither the defense that the student was ignorant of the regulations concerning academic violations nor the defense that the student was under pressure at the time the violation was committed is considered an adequate defense or a mitigating factor.
Students who require assistance fulfilling their academic obligations are expected to seek such assistance on a prospective basis. Students with disabilities should inquire about available academic accommodations at the Office of Disability Services. All students are encouraged to avail themselves of the resources at the McGraw Center for Teaching and Learning, the Writing Center, and the residential colleges. When students come under time pressure, they are encouraged to discuss the possibility of an extension with their instructors and/or residential college dean or director of studies. A known disability for which the student did not seek accommodations prospectively will not be considered an adequate defense against an academic integrity charge or a mitigating factor.
Seriousness of the Offense
Academic infractions are always considered a serious matter, but will be considered especially serious if:
1. The student has submitted a paper prepared by another person or agency.
2. The student has a record of a previous finding of responsibility for another serious violation.
3. The infraction includes the theft of another student’s work—even if the paper or assignment is returned after use, or consulted without being removed from the other student’s room or from a public or private room or from an electronic online location such as a website where work has been placed.
In determining the seriousness of the offense, the Faculty-Student Committee on Discipline will consider whether the student ought reasonably to have understood that the actions were in violation of University regulations. If the committee concludes that this threshold has been met, the penalty will normally be suspension or suspension with conditions from the University. Egregious academic integrity violations on the senior thesis may be grounds for expulsion. Students who have previously been suspended for an academic integrity violation should expect to be expelled for a second such violation where the committee concludes that the student ought reasonably to have understood that their actions were a violation. While the failure to fulfill the general requirements for acknowledgment of sources in academic work may not be determined to reach this level of seriousness, any such failure will be considered an academic infraction and will normally result in a disciplinary penalty.
For further discussion of undergraduate academic violations, please consult the chapter on the honor system in this booklet.
The following examples provide a range of plagiarism from verbatim copying to thorough paraphrasing. The examples and comments offer clear guidance about how a source may be used and when a source must be cited.
From: Alvin Kernan, The Playwright as Magician. New Haven: Yale University Press, 1979, pp.102–103.
From time to time this submerged or latent theater in Hamlet becomes almost overt. It is close to the surface in Hamlet’s pretense of madness, the “antic disposition” he puts on to protect himself and prevent his antagonists from plucking out the heart of his mystery. It is even closer to the surface when Hamlet enters his mother’s room and holds up, side by side, the pictures of the two kings, Old Hamlet and Claudius, and proceeds to describe for her the true nature of the choice she has made, presenting truth by means of a show. Similarly, when he leaps into the open grave at Ophelia’s funeral, ranting in high heroic terms, he is acting out for Laertes, and perhaps for himself as well, the folly of excessive, melodramatic expressions of grief.
1. Example of Verbatim Plagiarism, or Unacknowledged Direct Quotation (lifted passages are bold):
Almost all of Shakespeare’s Hamlet can be understood as a play about acting and the theatre. For example, there is Hamlet’s pretense of madness, the “antic disposition” that he puts on to protect himself and prevent his antagonists from plucking out the heart of his mystery. When Hamlet enters his mother›s room, he holds up, side by side, the pictures of the two kings, Old Hamlet and Claudius, and proceeds to describe for her the true nature of the choice she has made, presenting truth by means of a show. Similarly, when he leaps into the open grave at Ophelia›s funeral, ranting in high heroic terms, he is acting out for Laertes, and perhaps for himself as well, the folly of excessive, melodramatic expressions of grief.
Comment: Aside from an opening sentence loosely adapted from the original and reworded more simply, this entire passage is taken almost word-for-word from the source. The few small alterations of the source do not relieve the writer of the responsibility to attribute these words to their original author. A passage from a source may be worth quoting at length if it makes a point precisely or elegantly. In such cases, copy the passage exactly, place it in quotation marks, and cite the author.
2. Example of Lifting Selected Passages and Phrases Without Proper Acknowledgement (lifted passages are bold):
Almost all of Shakespeare’s Hamlet can be understood as a play about acting and the theatre. For example, in Act 1, Hamlet adopts a pretense of madness that he uses to protect himself and prevent his antagonists from discovering his mission to revenge his father›s murder. He also presents truth by means of a show when he compares the portraits of Gertrude›s two husbands in order to describe for her the true nature of the choice she has made. And when he leaps in Ophelia’s open grave ranting in high heroic terms, Hamlet is acting out the folly of excessive, melodramatic expressions of grief.
Comment: This passage, in content and structure, is taken wholesale from the source. Although the writer has rewritten much of the paragraph, and fewer phrases are lifted verbatim from the source, this is a clear example of plagiarism. Inserting even short phrases from the source into a new sentence still requires placing quotations around the borrowed words and citing the author. If even one phrase is good enough to borrow, it must be properly set off by quotation marks. In the case above, if the writer had rewritten the entire paragraph and only used Alvin Kernan’s phrase “high heroic terms” without properly quoting and acknowledging its source, the writer would have plagiarized.
3. Example of Paraphrasing the Text While Maintaining the Basic Paragraph and Sentence Structure:
Almost all of Shakespeare’s Hamlet can be understood as a play about acting and the theatre. For example, in Act 1, Hamlet pretends to be insane in order to make sure his enemies do not discover his mission to revenge his father’s murder. The theme is even more obvious when Hamlet compares the pictures of his mother’s two husbands to show her what a bad choice she has made, using their images to reveal the truth. Also, when he jumps into Ophelia’s grave, hurling his challenge to Laertes, Hamlet demonstrates the foolishness of exaggerated expressions of emotion.
Comment: Almost nothing of Alvin Kernan’s original language remains in this rewritten paragraph. However the key idea, the choice and order of the examples, and even the basic structure of the original sentences are all taken from the source. Although it would no longer be necessary to use quotation marks, it would absolutely be necessary to place a citation at the end of this paragraph to acknowledge that the content is not original. Better still would be to acknowledge the author in the text by adding a second sentence such as—“Alvin Kernan provides several examples from the play where these themes become more obvious”—and then citing the source at the end of the paragraph. In the case where the writer did not try to paraphrase the source’s sentences quite so closely, but borrowed the main idea and examples from Kernan’s book, an acknowledgment would still be necessary.
In many courses—particularly, but not exclusively, in the sciences or engineering—instructors may permit or even encourage students to collaborate on problem sets, programming assignments, laboratory reports, or other academic projects. The standard for permissible collaboration varies from course to course, even within a particular department. Some instructors permit pairs or groups to turn in a single piece of work on behalf of all students in that group; other instructors allow students to discuss assignments but require them to write up their own unique answers; still others prohibit any collaboration at all.
It is the student’s responsibility to understand where the line is between permissible collaboration and independent work. To avoid confusion and possible violations of academic regulations, students must be clear about exactly what may be done collaboratively, and what must be done independently. If the expectations and rules are unstated or unclear, the student must ask the instructor for clarification. If a deadline is imminent and the course policy is unclear, the student must err on the side of working independently.
Regardless, collaborating with another student without indicating the extent of collaboration is considered plagiarism. Even in courses where collaboration is permitted, the ideas, words, or other intellectual contribution of students with whom one is collaborating are considered an “outside source” which must be clearly acknowledged.