Academic Integrity and Support

Academic Integrity

As a member of the UC Berkeley community, I act with honesty, integrity, and respect for others.
UC Berkeley Honor Code

Academic integrity is the idea that you should fully and accurately represent what portion of your academic work is your own intellectual endeavor and what portion relies on the intellectual endeavors of others

As a student, you are expected both to study the work of those who have come before you and to contribute new ideas to your field of study. These new ideas might be in the form of criticism or support of established thought, or they might be creative new approaches to a problem in your field. Regardless, your ideas most certainly rely on an understanding of that body of work that has come before your own. You must always present your own ideas in the context of those previous ones.

You must acknowledge the work of others that informs your own research and discoveries. This is called citation.  Each field of study has its own citation methods. Professors, GSIs and course syllabi can guide you in this. The UC Berkeley Library also has excellent citation information.

Failure to properly acknowledge the intellectual and creative work of others in one’s own work is called plagiarism. Plagiarism is a serious academic offense. Consequences for plagiarism range from earning a 0 on an assignment or in a course to being suspended or expelled from the university. For international students, some of these consequences also negatively affect immigration status.

Examples of Plagiarism

  • Copying computer code from a website and turning it in as your own original work in a Computer Science course. 
  • Writing an essay in a Psychology course without giving credit to those whose intellectual work you studied in order to write your own paper. 
  • Lifting a passage of text from a source and placing it (either word-for-word or in paraphrase form) into one’s own paper without acknowledgement of that original source. 
  • Finding and using answers to a problem set online and turning it in as your own work.

Further Examples of Academic Dishonesty

  • Falsifying research results so that they appear to prove a particular hypothesis. 
  • Copying a friend’s homework in an Economics course and turning it in to get credit for the assignment. 
  • Finding and using answers to a problem set online and turning it in as your own work. 
  • Turning in work you completed previously as if it were new work.  
  • Allowing your friend to copy your homework as his or her own. 
  • Referring to the textbook or notebook during an exam where this is not authorized. 
  • Working with a friend on a homework assignment that should have been done individually. 
If I have seen further, it is by standing on the shoulders of giants.
Sir Isaac Newton

Avoiding Academic Dishonesty

  • Check your syllabus. Oftentimes, professors clearly state what sort of collaboration is acceptable and what sort is not.
  • Speak with your professors or GSIs if you are unsure about the rules for their class or a particular assignment.
  • Do a mental check. Before submitting an assignment, ask yourself if there is anything about your work process that you wouldn’t want to admit to your professor. If there is, strongly consider making changes to avoid academic dishonesty.

Further Resources

Academic Advising

At UC Berkeley you will find plenty of advisers to to guide you in making academic decisions. Advisers can help you learn about a field of study, enroll in classes, keep track of your academic progress, and create plans for success if your grades slip. 

Each college and department at the university selects its own team of advisers and determines their roles with students. This means that academic advisers go by several different titles:  

  • College Adviser
  • Department Adviser
  • Major Adviser
  • Faculty Adviser
  • Peer Adviser
It's not important that you know what each of these advisers does. Rather, it's important that you know what the advisers at your college or school do and how you can reach them. Below are links to the advising pages of each college at the University.

Academic Advisers vs. International Student Advisers

Academic Advisers…

know the details of your academic plan and your major requirements. They can help you with all academic issues. Academic advisers are located in your college or department. 

International Advisers…

know the details of your F-1 or J-1 student visa and advise on all immigration issues and the rights and responsibilities of your visa. International advisers are located in Berkeley International Office (BIO).

Many academic choices you make affect your immigration status, so you’ll often need to see a BIO adviser after you see an academic adviser. 

An international student adviser works with a student at Berkeley International Office

An international student adviser works with a student at Berkeley International Office. Photo by Elena Zhukova.

Academic Support

You were invited to study at UC Berkeley because you are intelligent and capable of succeeding here.  That said, from time to time, even excellent students struggle in their classes.  This is a natural, if frustrating, part of the learning process.  The Unviersity provides several services to support students in these matters:  

  • The Student Learning Center (SLC) offers programs and tutoring in high-need areas such as economics, social sciences, mathematics and writing. 
  • The Berkeley Writing Program helps writers of all skill-levels improve their work.  
  • The Berkeley Disabled Students' Program supports students with long and short-term physical or mental disabilities. 
  • If you live in a residential hall, look in common areas for study spaces, computer resources, technical support, tutoring and peer advising.  

Library Resources

  • If you have any questions, you can simply walk into a library and ask a librarian for assistance.  However, you may want extended help researching a particularly complex topic.  In this case, you can schedule a research meeting with a librarian.  
  • Use Oskicat to search for any item in the collection.  
  • No single institution can hold all the information in the world, so many, includng UC Berkeley, purchase access to other collections of information.  This information is organized and retrievable through library databases.
  • The library offers comprehensive guides to citing sources properly. 
Student studying in Moffitt Library

Student studying in Moffitt Library. Photo by Elena Zhukova.

Doe Library with flowers in the foreground

Doe Library with flowers in the foreground. Photo by Keegan Houser.