Academic Misconduct

This may involve questions of academic integrity which include honesty, trust, fairness, respect, and responsibility.

Some examples of academic misconduct include, plagiarism, cheating, copying homework, and stealing an exam or course materials. The University of Wisconsin-Madison takes academic misconduct allegations very seriously.

The student's role

As a UW-Madison student, it is your responsibility to be informed about what constitutes academic misconduct, how to avoid it and what happens if you decide to engage in it. Academic misconduct is established by the State of Wisconsin for all UW System schools as detailed in UWS Chapter 14.

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Examples of academic misconduct

  • Claiming credit for the work or efforts of another without authorization or citation.
  • Copying another student’s homework.
  • Turning in work of another person and not giving them credit.
  • Having a friend answer your clicker questions when you are absent.
  • Using translation software when prohibited or limited by the instructor.
  • Stealing an exam, or course materials.
  • Uses unauthorized materials or fabricated data in any academic exercise, such as using notes for a closed-book online exam.
  • Copying from another student during an exam.
  • Working on an assignment with others when you are supposed to do so independently.
  • Forges or falsifies academic documents or records (having a friend sign you in for attendance when you’re absent).
  • Intentionally impedes or damages the academic work of others (tampering with another student’s experiment).
  • Engaging in conduct aimed at making false representation of a student’s academic performance (altering test answers and submitting the test for regrading).

Assisting other students in any of these acts.

The academic misconduct process

If academic misconduct is suspect, this represents an overview of the steps involved in the process, including links to specifics about each step.

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1. Misconduct is suspected, a meeting follows

Instructor suspects student of academic misconduct and requests a meeting with student.

Things to consider first

2. The instructor meets with the student

Instructor meets with student to review allegation. The accused student is given an opportunity to respond to allegation.

Preparing, and having a meeting

3. A determination of misconduct is made

The instructor will need to make a decision on whether misconduct occurs. The instructor will also decide the consequences, known as sanctions.

Things to consider when deciding

4. The student is next contacted by the instructor via email

The student is emailed a summary that outlines what misconduct is suspected, the instructor’s decision if the student was responsible or not-responsible, and why. If the student is found responsible, the sanctions should be included. .

Emailing the student your findings

5. Submit a report to the Office of Student Conduct and Community Standards

This step includes reporting who was involved, what happened, the instructor’s decision, the violation and any sanctions/penalties that have already occurred to Student Conduct and Community Standards. The letter to the student, and any documentation collected should be included in the report.

Submitting a report

6. A formal hearing

If requested, the accused student has ten days to request a formal hearing with a hearing panel or examiner to potentially challenge the misconduct.

If the hearing is not requested, sanctions are imposed.

7. A decision is made from the hearing

The hearing body decides the case based on the information provided during the hearing. Both the instructor and accused student are informed of the decision.

8. Sanctions and appeals

If a sanction results from the instructor or the hearing body, the sanctions are applied. There is also an option to appeal the decision.



Reporting academic misconduct


The process to report academic misconduct may involve some or all of the following steps:

  • Talking to the accused student
  • Documenting the suspected activity
  • Deciding what sanctions should be involved
  • Filing a misconduct report

Report academic misconduct

Students who suspect cheating

If you suspect a classmate is cheating or committing another type of academic dishonesty, notify your instructor, professor, or teaching assistant. It is the job of the instructor (not the student) to determine if misconduct occurred. All you need to do is report what you heard or saw.

Talking about suspected misconduct is difficult, especially if it involves someone you know. Your academic advisor can be a great resource to help you if you need to talk to someone about your situation. The Office of Student Assistance and Support also has staff available.

Why academic integrity matters

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Academic Integrity is critical to the mission of the University of Wisconsin-Madison, a research institution with high academic standards and rigor. All members of the University community play a role in fostering an environment in which student learning is achieved in a fair, just, and honest way.

Faculty and instructional staff set the tone in their classrooms by communicating clear expectations to their students and educating them on the consequences of engaging in academic misconduct while referring to campus resources.

Students are expected to uphold the core values of academic integrity which include honesty, trust, fairness, respect, and responsibility. These core values, combined with finding one’s purpose and passion and applying them in and out of classroom learning, produce students who become extraordinary citizens. This unique path of opportunities, created by each student, is commonly known as the Wisconsin Experience and impacts our campus community and beyond in significant and positive ways.

The value of a University of Wisconsin-Madison degree depends on the commitment of our academic community to promote high levels of personal honesty and respect for the intellectual property of others.

Academic Misconduct Interview

Listen to Lynn Prost (Assistant Dean for Graduate Student Academic Affairs) interview Tonya Schmidt (Director) and Jen Van Roy (Student Conduct Coordinator) about Academic Misconduct process and prevention.


How to avoid academic misconduct

Person typing on a computer

  • Use the Writing Center for help with citations. They are experts in APA, MLA and other citation styles.
  • Avoid copying and pasting directly into your paper from the internet.
  • Understand the expectations and limitations when working in groups (i.e., Is collaboration allowed on the project? Is collaboration allowed on homework?)
  • If you aren’t sure, always ask your instructor.

Review the policies, procedures, and resources, both on campus and online, that can help you avoid plagiarism, cheating, and other forms of academic misconduct.

Explore student resources


Student Conduct and Community Standards Contacts

How can we help?

Email us at:



Line art image of Bascom Hall at the University of Wisconsin–Madison

Office of Student Conduct and Community Standards
724 W. Johnson Street
Madison, WI 53715

Office Hours
Monday-Friday: 8:00am - 4:30pm

After Hours Contacts

Crisis response:
Call Mental Health Services
608-265-5600 (option 9)
Dial 911 for immediate help from the
UW Police Department
UWPD Non-emergency line: 608-264-2677