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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 Sources include published and unpublished primary and secondary materials, the Internet, and information and opinions of other people.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 Using Sources Efficiently and Responsibly.

In cases of suspected plagiarism, student papers may be submitted to a private contracted service that reviews content for originality. Results from this review may be used to inform the Extension School in its inquiry. The service retains all papers that are submitted to this service, as they become part of their database of materials used in future searches. However, no personal identifying information is submitted to or retained by the service.

Writing Code.  While it may be common practice in non-academic settings to adapt code examples found online or in texts, this is not the case in academia. In particular, you should never copy code produced as coursework by other students, whether in the current term or a previous term; nor may you provide work for other students to use. Copying code from another student or any other source is a form of academic dishonesty, as is deriving a program substantially from the work of another. 

Writing code is similar to academic writing in that when you use or adapt code developed by someone else as part of your assigned coursework, you must cite your source. Paraphrasing without proper citation is just as dishonest with programming as it is with prose. A program can be considered plagiarized even though no single line is identical to any line of the source. 

AI Technologies.

New machine learning and AI technologies, like ChatGPT, are emerging that might be tempting to use for writing and other assignments. We want to therefore remind all students that our academic integrity policy prohibits students from representing work as their own that they did not write, code, or create.  Accordingly, submission of computer-generated text without attribution is not allowed.

Given the wide range of learning goals in courses at the Extension School, individual instructors may create course-specific policies that differ from and supersede these guidelines. This may include forbidding any use of generative AI, even if only to improve the readability or language of your submission. If an instructor does allow the use of generative AI to complete a specific assignment, you are still expected to properly acknowledge its use in the text. Any outside assistance, including the use of professional tutors or writing services or the use of AI technologies such as ChatGPT, must be acknowledged upon submission of assignments. If you have any doubt about whether a specific use of generative AI is permitted for an assignment or course, you are responsible for discussing it with your instructor prior to using it.

Turnitin.  In select courses in the 2023-2024 academic year, Harvard Extension School is piloting the use of Turnitin, a text-matching software platform that assists with plagiarism detection. The use of Turnitin is at the discretion of the instructor. If Turnitin software is in use, there will be a notation on the course syllabus. Turnitin integrates with Canvas and does not require students to take any additional steps to submit course assignments.

Turnitin compares the text of submitted work to the existing source material in its database, which consists of content collected from the Internet, selected journals, and previous student submissions. The software generates an “originality report” that identifies the extent of matched text by highlighting similar content and assigning an overall match percentage.

Turnitin does not interpret originality reports, and indeed matched text identified by Turnitin may include various “innocent” matches, such as entries in a bibliography. Accordingly, Turnitin’s reports will be reviewed by faculty to determine whether the findings from reports indicate academic integrity concerns. The Office of Student Policy and Governance will work with both instructors and students to ensure fair and judicious treatment of potential academic integrity infractions.

You retain any intellectual property rights you may have in your work. Use of the software is subject to Turnitin’s Privacy Policy and Usage Policy, which provide further details on the ways in which Turnitin manages the data you provide.

You can remove your work from the Turnitin database upon course completion. We hope that you will choose to keep your work within the database to protect your work from future attempts to plagiarize it. To remove documents from the Turnitin repository, you may make a request in writing to with your name, the class, and the assignment. Document removal is done within a reasonable time after the course is completed.

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 and are eligible to obtain a class participant library card for access to Harvard Libraries. Degree candidates and premedical program participants with Harvard student ID cards also 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.