Honor Codes Across the Country

The honor code is a major part of life at colleges and universities across the United States. Although each college has its own way of preventing and dealing with cheating whether it be judicial committees, fundamental standards, or peer juries, most incorporate some sort of honor system.

What is an Honor Code?

The honor code is a statement addressing issues such as cheating, stealing, and misrepresentation, made by a school or other institution in which its participants pledge to adhere to. Honor codes are self-regulating because under an honor code, students are required to turn in other students in violation of the code. Some issues addressed in honor codes are the following:

Most college honor code violations are cheating and plagiarism, therefore, some Honor Codes also include guidelines or points of emphasis to help keep misunderstanding and problems to a minimum. Many of the honor codes write that students should distinguish what is truly their work from other people’s ideas. The honor codes also recommend that students should know exactly what their professors expect and want on a particular assignment.

In traditional "honor code schools", there are honor pledges, student-organized honor systems, unproctored exams, and the requirement to turn in suspected cheating incidents. Some schools do not have a traditional honor code, but they usually have a set of rules or some writing that articulates the fundamental rights and responsibilities of all students. These fundamentals cover not only academic work and integrity, but also campus life. These rights include respecting all students, faculty, and staff, respecting other people’s property. Regardless of the type of honor code it employs, all colleges and universities are trying to insure an ethical and fair environment for all students.

Links to honor codes and fundamental standards of different universities:






What Happens When Violations of the Honor Code Occur?

According to most college websites discussing the Honor Code, the most frequent violations occur when a student submits another person’s work as his own, or when a student gives or receives unpermitted aid. Examples of these types of violations are anywhere from copying another students problem set or handing in a paper that was bought of the web.

Almost all the colleges have a judicial system that either student or faculty run. In most cases, once a violation is reported, the accused student must go before a panel of their peers or faculty members. Once a student is found or pleads guilty, they usually receive a suspension from the university and community service hours. The harshness of the punishment depends on the severity of the violation committed, the truthfulness of the accused student, and the level of premeditation. In most cases the student still receives a grade in the course where the violation occurred.

Site that deals with honor code violations: