Frequently Asked Questions

Does...count as cheating?

Does working with others count as cheating?

Not always, but it depends. Generally speaking, you're expected to complete all of your academic work independently unless you're told otherwise by your instructor. So if you work with others on a class assignment that was intended by the instructor to be an individual assessment, the instructor may consider this an integrity violation. Always check with the instructor if you aren't sure, and acknowledge the people who helped you on an assignment.

Does copying words or ideas, or paraphrasing from the Web count as cheating?

Copying or using someone else's ideas or words without attribution is always cheating, even if you've paraphrased. If you use the Internet or any source in completing a class assignment, you must cite that source within the document and at the end in your bibliography or references. You should engage in this practice even if the instructor doesn't grade for proper citation – get in the habit! For help with citation, go to the UC Libraries’ Tutorial.

Does using old exams to study or prepare count as cheating?

You cannot use old exams in preparing for or taking a test if it was not explicitly authorized by your instructor. If you come across some old exams for your particular course, ask your instructor if you can use them to study.

Does copying a sentence or two count as plagiarism?

If you use any other person’s phrasing or actual sentences, regardless of the extent or length, cite your source. This is true for using other people’s ideas too. If you’re not sure, talk to your instructor, TA or writing program coordinator.

Does it count as cheating if my instructor didn't tell my I couldn't do something?

UCSD instructors won't verbalize every unauthorized behavior. As a Triton, you're expected to know some of the basics of excelling with integrity. For example:

  • Cite your sources.
  • Complete in-class tests and take-home tests independently.
  • Complete your own homework assignments.

What if I...? What are the consequences?

If I got caught cheating, IS MY LIFE OVER?

Your life is not over. We understand that you may not have previously experienced "failure" but great things can come from such experiences. And, we know that students with integrity violations go on to graduate and professional schools, as well as employment. We'll help you leverage this experience as a catalyst for growing as an ethical professional and citizen. 

Read more about the Academic Process here: After Cheating is Reported.

What if I didn't mean/intend to cheat?

Intent doesn't matter; what matters are your actions. If your actions violated academic integrity standards, then you are responsible whether you "meant to" or not or whether you are "a good person" or not. In fact, we assume 95% of the students reported for cheating are good people who have made a bad decision under stress, pressure or while tired. 

If your actions violated academic integrity standards, then accept responsibility and prepare to learn and grow from the experience. Denying your responsibility and fighting the allegation (i.e., by going to the AI Review Board) just because you're scared can only make things worse.

However, if your actions did NOT violate academic integrity standards, then of course you should exercise your right to contest the allegation.

What if I did not know I was cheating?

Ignorance is no excuse for integrity violations. When you came to UCSD, you received quite a bit of education on academic integrity including at orientation and through at least one online tutorial. Even without these educational opportunities extended to you, you are expected to understand the standards and expectations of you as a UCSD student. In other words, it is your responsibility to discover these norms and rules and then follow them.

If I cheat, what happens to my grade in the course?

According to the UCSD Policy on Integrity of Scholarship, a course instructor has full discretion over the grade in the class and how you will be academically sanctioned for academic misconduct. The academic sanction can range from a failing grade on the assignment, quiz, or exam in question, to a failing grade in the class. That grade will remain on your transcript and calculated into your GPA, even if you retake the class.

What happens to my GPA if I choose to retake a class that I’ve gotten a lowered grade as a sanction for academic misconduct?

Any grade received as a result of an integrity violation stays calculated in your GPA, even if you retake the class.

What happens if I alter a graded examination and re-submit it for a regrade?

The standard sanction for altering a graded examination and submitting it for a regrade is a 1-year suspension.

If I cheat, is it possible for me to get suspended or dismissed from UCSD?

Yes, students have been suspended or dismissed. About 20% of students reported for cheating are suspended or dismissed from UCSD. You can find out more about the sanctions for integrity violations here.

If I’m suspended from or dismissed, is it just from UCSD or from the University of California?

If you are suspended, you are suspended only from the San Diego campus. So, this means that while you are suspended, you could take courses at another UC, another university, or from a community college. If you decide to enroll somewhere else while suspended from UCSD, DO check with your academic advisors beforehand to ensure that you take the appropriate courses for your major or degree.

If you are dismissed, you are dismissed from the University of California system.

Can I appeal my suspension or dismissal?

Yes you can if it is within 5 business days of you receiving the sanction notification. If it is within that timeframe, go to this page to submit your appeal. If you are beyond that timeframe, you can email aio@ucsd.edu to ask for an extension.

NOTE: If you appeal a Suspension or Dismissal sanction, you should continue to attend your classes while the appeal is in process. That way, if your appeal is granted and the suspension or dismissal is removed, you will not be behind in your classes. If your appeal is not granted and you are suspended or dismissed for the quarter in which you are enrolled, you will be retroatively withdrawn and your money refunded. 

What happens if I’ve been reported for a second policy violation?

It depends on your first violation. If you were suspended for your first violation, it is likely that you'll be dismissed from UCSD (see sanctioning guidelines). If you were not suspended for your first violation, it is likely that you'll be suspended for 1-3 quarters for your second violation (even if the second violation is minor).

What happens if I’ve been disciplined for academic misconduct, and I want to apply for graduate, law, or medical school?

This depends on the school and their application. Many professional and graduate students ask for your "disciplinary history". If they ask, obviously we recommend that you be truthful. You can use the opportunity to explain how you have learned and grown as a result of the integrity violation. 

If I cheat, do other people find out?

Generally, no one outside of the University will find out. BUT, here are some important things for you to understand:

  • You’ll have a disciplinary record with your college (if you’re an undergraduate) or with the Graduate Division (if you’re a graduate student) for 7 years from the quarter of the incident. This record is internal, but it can still be checked by any law schools, medical schools, some federal government employers if you apply for admission or employment.
  • There will be a mark on your academic record that you can see online (i.e., an A1, A2, A3, or A4 next to the grade received in the class). However, this record is known as your "unofficial academic record" and will not be seen by external parties unless you print it out and give it to them. So, don't do that! If you have to submit your academic record or transcript to another party, order an "official transcript" which will not show these markings.
  • There will be a mark on your official transcript if you are suspended or dismissed from UCSD for an academic integrity violation. It will say something like "suspended (or dismissed) for academic dishonesty." The notation will be there forever if you are dismissed, but only for the duration of the suspension if you are suspended.

Help! The absence of a grade is impacting my financial aid!

Students have a blank instead of a grade while the academic integrity process is going on. This CAN impact your ability to get financial aid if the blank means that you've achieved fewer credits than required. No worries. You can submit an appeal for a one quarter probationary period by using this form. By the end of that probationary period, your case should be resolved and your grade inputted. If you have any other questions about this, do talk to the Financial Aid Office.