Student Engagement

Honor Code Student FAQ

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

Yes, the University of South Carolina has an academic integrity policy. It’s called the Honor Code, and it prohibits cheating, plagiarizing, and all other forms of academic dishonesty. The Honor Code details the procedures the University uses to resolve academic dishonesty cases. 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. 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 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.
  • Model integrity in your own academic behavior.
  • Report incidents of suspected violations to your professor or academic dean.
  • Request that your professors include information on academic integrity on course syllabi.
  • Ask your professors to discuss in class their expectations regarding research and group projects.
  • Apply to serve as a student member of Carolina Judicial Council.
  • Discourage others from committing academic dishonesty by keeping your papers, examinations, and projects secure.

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

All forms of academic dishonesty are prohibited. This includes cheating, plagiarism, lying with regards to academic matters, fraud, bribery, unauthorized access to tests and examinations. If you are ever unsure whether an action would be considered dishonest, consult your professor ahead of time.

5. Am I required to report incidents of academic dishonesty committed by other students?

Students are not obligated to report incidents of academic dishonesty committed by others, but are strongly encouraged to do so.

6. If the University doesn’t require that I report another student that I have observed violating the Honor Code, why should I?

In a community such as the University of South Carolina, all members---faculty, students, and staff---have a stake in the institution’s ethical climate. Reporting a suspected violation of the Honor Code serves to support and promote the University community’s values of integrity, honesty, and fairness. Reporting a violation also protects honest student like you who work hard to earn their degrees and prevents dishonest students from getting the same degree – without earning it. Also, the process resulting from a report of suspected academic dishonesty may help that student understand and change his or her behavior for the better.

7. Can I report an incident of academic dishonesty anonymously?

It is difficult to remain anonymous in an Honor Code case. You may request anonymity from the professor, but this cannot be guaranteed. Anonymity may be possible in the early stages of an investigation, but is not possible in all stages of the case if the accused student denies the charge and requests a hearing. In that case, your testimony may be necessary to prove the allegation. However, this should not deter you from telling your professor about the alleged violation as your report may lead to additional evidence that in a hearing would preclude your testimony. Since the circumstances of individual cases differ, you should discuss your concerns candidly with the professor who will advise you about the chances of remaining anonymous in a specific case. You can also contact the Office of Academic Integrity for guidance and advice.

8. I’ve been accused of an Honor Code violation. What happens next?

Your professor will send a report to the Office of Academic Integrity. The Office of Academic Integrity will send you a letter to meet to begin an investigation.

  • If you confirm that you have violated the University’s Honor Code, there are two possible outcomes:
    1. You accept responsibility for the violation and the recommended sanction.
    2. You accept responsibility for the violation but do not accept the recommended sanction. In this instance, a College Committee hearing is convened to determine the sanction.
  • If you deny that you have violated the University’s Honor Code, a College Committee hearing is convened to determine whether you are in violation; if you are found to be in violation, the committee also determines the sanctions you face.

9. What are the possible sanctions for a violation of the University of South Carolina’s 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.

10. Will I receive academic course credit for taking the Academic Integrity Workshop?


11. Where can I find more information?

You can obtain more information about the University's Honor Code by reading the test of the policy at You can also consult your dean's office and the Office of Academic Integrity.

Office of Academic Integrity
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