Student Engagement

Honor Code Student FAQ

1. Does the University of South Carolina have an academic integrity policy?

You can read the full policies of the Honor Code here

2. Why does the University of South Carolina have an academic integrity policy?

The University of South Carolina is an institution dedicated to learning and to the ideals set forth in the Carolinian Creed. As a community of scholars, we affirm the principle that students must be evaluated on their academic merits; the work that students present for evaluation must therefore be their own. Integrity, honesty, and fairness are the foundation of the educational process. Academic dishonesty violates these principles, and demeans not only the student committing the act of dishonesty, but the entire University community.

3. What is considered a violation of the Honor Code?

All forms of academic dishonesty are prohibited. These include cheating, plagiarism, lying in academic matters, fraud, bribery, unauthorized access to tests and examinations.

4. What do I do if I think a student has violated the University’s Honor Code?

You should begin by gathering as much evidence as you can and consulting with any designated officials in your department (e.g., department chair, undergraduate director, graduate director.) You should then contact the Office of Academic Integrity to report the alleged violation of the Honor Code. We also strongly encourage you to meet with the student to discuss the allegation. This is an opportunity for you to have an educational discussion with the student and may assist you in determining any academic penalty.

5. How long does the process take?

The length of the process varies. If the student admits the violation, the process may take three to four weeks. Over 90% of the University’s Honor Code cases are resolved in this way. If the student does not admit the violation and a hearing is convened, the process may take several weeks longer. If this occurs, the Office of Academic Integrity will represent the University and the faculty member becomes a witness.

6. What if my student who reported the alleged violation wishes to remain anonymous?

That may be possible, if that report leads to additional evidence. However, you should not make any promises to maintain anonymity.

7. May I simply fail the student without going through the Honor Code process?

No. Simply assigning a failing grade or imposing a grade penalty for a suspected violation without initiating the disciplinary process may leave you in an untenable position. If you believe a violation has occurred, the student should have the opportunity to address the charge and avail him or herself of the due process afforded by the University’s Honor Code. You must report the suspected violation to the Office of Academic Integrity. Also, it is important to report suspected violations to discourage serial violations. The University must maintain accurate records of violations so that appropriate sanctions can be applied for subsequent offenses.

8. What are the possible sanctions for a violation of the University of South Carolina Honor Code?

Penalties range from a warning (first offense only) to suspension for a definite period of time (not less than one semester) to permanent expulsion. Combinations of penalties are possible. Additional educational sanctions are also given to help the student learn from this offense and prevent future behavior.

The above are disciplinary penalties. The professor of the course may exact a grade penalty of his or her choosing, including assigning an F grade for the course or assignment.

9. What role do I play in determining the sanction for a violation in my class?

Based on your understanding of the student and the case, you may recommend a non-academic sanction. As the course instructor, you may exact a grade penalty of your choosing. The final authority for the evaluation of the academic work rests with you.

10. Will a student who attends the Academic Integrity Workshop receive academic course credit?


11. What do I need to cover in my initial meeting with a student about an alleged violation of the Honor Code?

Please refer to the Discussing Violations with Students section for more information.

12. What about group projects or assignments/papers with more than one author?

If someone in a group commits academic misconduct, the entire group could be held responsible for it as well. It is important to clearly document who contributes what parts of the joint project and to know what group members are doing and how they are getting the material they provide. If you suspect that an Honor Code violation has occurred in a group project, please report all students in the group. This will ensure equal treatment for all involved.

13. What can I do to promote academic integrity at the University of South Carolina? 

There are a number of things that you can do to promote academic integrity.

  • Be familiar with the University’s Honor Code.
  • Include the University’s Honor Code and the Carolinian Creed in your written syllabus.
  • Articulate potential consequences for violations.
  • Set expectations for academic integrity in all aspects of the course, including guidelines for group work.
  • Model integrity in your academic behavior, e.g., citing sources in lectures, talking with your students about intellectual honesty and its importance to you as a scholar and teacher.
  • Remind students of your expectations when making assignments, and be clear about which resources are permitted.
  • Pay particular attention to the benefits and dangers of Internet sources. Teach students to determine the legitimacy and credibility of Internet materials.
  • Re-examine your teaching methods to reduce opportunities for plagiarism by assigning writing projects that require students to submit successive drafts and avoiding the use of generic paper topics.
  • Change tests and examinations from semester to semester.
  • Proctor tests and examinations, and devise a system to ensure that students write in clean blue books.
  • Keep student papers, projects, and data secure.
  • Be sure to discuss appropriate documentation techniques for your discipline. Be familiar with resources to which you can refer students, e.g., the Writing Center.
  • Act on suspected violations of the University’s Honor Code.

14. Where can I find more information?

You can obtain more information about the University's Honor Code by reading the text of the policy at

You can also consult your dean's office and the Office of Academic Integrity at

Office of Academic Integrity
James F. Byrnes Building 
901 Sumter Street, Suite 201
Columbia, SC 29208
(803) 777-4333 - Phone
(803) 777-1393 - Fax

The measure of a man's real character is what he would do if he knew he never would be found out. - Thomas Babington Macaulay