Academic Integrity

What is Academic Integrity?

Academic integrity is the system of values that shape institutional policies on cheating and plagiarism. These values are also reflected in the way the university community sets and maintains academic standards and upholds expectations of honesty and rigour in research and publishing.

The International Center for Academic Integrity defines academic integrity as a commitment, even in the face of adversity, to six fundamental values: honestly, trust, fairness, respect, responsibility, and courage. From these values flow principles of behaviour that enable academic communities to translate ideas into action.

Our expectation of students:

In the Faculty of Engineering, we encourage students to create a culture of integrity, trust, fairness and honesty, befitting the Professional degree you are pursuing. As such, we hold expectations of our students. One of these expectations is that they will honestly engage in the learning process. Teaching is often understood as a dialogue or conversation between teachers and their students, with learning as the result. If a student is falsifying one side of the conversation, no real dialogue is going on. Do not allow others to diminish the value of your effort and achievements. We are all responsible for maintaining a culture of academic integrity, report any cases of academic dishonesty you may observe. 

Policies & Consequences:

Western has a policy on scholastic offences. The policy includes definitions and examples of academic integrity violations. It details the process followed when there are allegations of violations of academic integrity and describes possible penalties. This policy applies in all academic environments, including face-to-face and online learning.

Students may also refer to the Scholastic Discipline process chart for the process followed when allegations of violations of academic integrity are made.

A student found to be guilty of a scholastic offence may be subject to the imposition of one or more penalties. Examples of which are listed below.  


a) Reprimand.
b) Requirement that the student repeat and resubmit the assignment.
c) A failing grade in the assignment.
d) A failing grade in the course in which the offence was committed.
e) Prohibition of further registration in a course or courses in the department or Faculty in which the offence occurred.
f) Failure of the year (applies in certain professional programs).
g) Suspension from the University for up to, but not more than, three academic years or for a portion of one academic year including the academic session in which the student is currently registered.
h) Expulsion from the University

What is a departure from academic integrity?

Departure from Academic Integrity Common Examples
Plagarism - Copying and pasting from a printed source, the internet, or another source without proper acknowledgement
- Copying from another student on assignments, exam answers, lab reports, journal articles, or computer code
- Misrepresenting co-authored or group work as individually done
- Using large sections of paraphrased materials or direct quotations without appropriate acknowledgement
- Submitting the same piece of work in more than one course without the permission of the instructor(s) [self-plagarism]
Use of Unauthorized Materials - Possessing or using unauthorized study materials or aids during a test – this extends to all smart wearable technology
- Copying from another’s test paper
- Unauthorized removal of materials from the library, or deliberate concealment of library materials
Facilitation - Making information available to another student – this includes uploading exams, tests, quizzes to CHEGG or other content sharing platforms
- Knowingly allowing one’s essay, assignment, lab or test to be copied by someone else
- Buying or selling of term papers, assignments, testing materials
Forgery - Submitting counterfeit documents or statements
- Creating a transcript or other official document
Falsification - Altering transcripts, medical documentation, or other official documents related to student records
- Impersonating someone else during an examination, test or lab
- Submitting a take home exam written in whole, or in part, by someone else
- Fabricating or falsifying laboratory or research data


  • Read the policy – become familiar with Western University’s Scholastic Discipline Policy. Not knowing the policy will not prevent you from facing disciplinary action
  • Know when to work alone – make sure you know the difference when it is ok to work in groups and when you ought to work alone. Collaborating on a test, quiz, assignment or writing code could get you into trouble if you are expected to be working alone
  • Start Fresh – using work from an old class or assignment is almost always against the rules. Start fresh on each new project unless you have been advised otherwise by your instructor
  • Cite your sources – keep excellent records of your information sources and learn to cite them accurately. Accidental plagiarism is still plagiarism. For help, please visit  Western Libraries for citation support:



Ombudspersons Office

If you are accused of a scholastic offence, be sure to check out the Ombuds guide Cheating, Plagiarism and Other Scholastic Offences.

This guide explains possible sanctions, how to appeal, and whether or not appealing is the best course of action.

The Office of the Ombudsperson also produces an online brochure covering what you need to know about Cheating, Plagiarism and Unauthorized Collaboration.

Western Libraries

OWL Academic Integrity Module

This tutorial is designed to help students understand the meaning of academic integrity and develop the skills necessary to avoiding academic offences. We suggest it be used in combination with discipline-specific academic integrity learning opportunities.

Students who successfully complete this tutorial will earn a certificate.

The tutorial covers the following topics: 1.) University policy on scholastic offences as outlined in the Academic Handbook 2.) Positive strategies students can use to improve their academic efforts 3.) Case studies on recognizing plagiarism and acknowledging sources 4.) Overview of student support services on campus (e.g., Western Libraries, Student Development Centre, Academic Counselling Offices, The Office of the Ombudsperson) 5.) A self-test allowing students to gauge how well they understand academic integrity.

Students must log on to OWL and join the Academic Integrity site in order to access the tutorial (OWL > Membership > Joinable Sites > Academic Integrity Tutorial > Join).

Faculty are invited to direct students to complete the 90-minute tutorial in OWL: The tutorial is designed to increase students' understanding of the key principles of academic integrity and provide strategies to help students avoid academic offences in common scenarios. We suggest it be used in combination with discipline-specific academic integrity learning opportunities. Students who successfully complete this tutorial will earn a certificate.

Instructors, to include the Academic Integrity Tutorial in your course, share this link to the Academic Integrity Tutorial OWL site with your students.