Academic Integrity

Academic Integrity and You

All UBC students are expected to behave as honest and responsible members of an academic community (Okanagan Academic Calendar 2020/2021)

UBC and the Irving K. Barber Faculty of Science take Academic Integrity very seriously – in fact, it’s what all members of UBC’s community, from first-year undergraduates to publishing professors, aspire to when they do research, and is the foundation of what makes your education one of the finest in the world.

It has come to our attention that there are a small number of students who have attempted to exploit the current online learning situation in dishonest ways. These students have engaged in a variety of unethical behaviours, including stealing quiz and exam answers, working together on independent assignments/quizzes/tests, and using tutors and tutoring websites to complete their work.

Would you know cheating if you saw it or were worried that you were doing it? It’s not always the old-fashioned example of looking at another student’s test; in this online world, cheating can happen in many forms, as outlined in the Academic Honesty and Standards and Academic Misconduct policies in the UBC Okanagan Academic Calendar.

What is cheating?

Cheating includes, but is not limited to:​

  • Receiving or giving assistance for an individual assessment activity – e.g. if a friend asks you for your help on their final exam (and you help), this meets the criteria for cheating and implicates both of you in academic misconduct;
  • Use or possession in an examination of any materials (including devices) other than those permitted by the examiner;
  • Use of or participation in unauthorized collaborative work – e.g. taking part in a group chat with classmates during an exam to share answers;
  • Use of shared study notes during an open book test or exam;
  • Falsifying or submitting false documents, transcripts, or other academic credentials;
  • Submitting false records or information, orally or in writing, or failing to provide relevant information when requested;
  • Impersonating a student to write or submit an assignment/exam;
  • Submitting the same, or substantially the same, essay, presentation, or assignment more than once; submitting or presenting the oral or written work of another person as your own – e.g. having a friend or “tutor” complete your exam/assignment for you;
  • Posting exam questions to “homework help” websites in an effort to have others provide a solution;
  • Other actions as listed in the University’s Academic Misconduct

Whether you’re taking a final exam in a gymnasium with 100 people or you’re behind your laptop in your bedroom, the rules for ethical behaviour during exams don’t change.

You can face tough consequences if you violate any of the rules listed in the Student Conduct during Examinations policy.

I cheated, so what?

The consequences for cheating and unethical behaviour are significant and wide-ranging. Ultimately, cheating and academic dishonesty can derail your academic career and career ambitions, including getting into a post-baccalaureate professional program, or a graduate program, or receiving your UBC degree.

Academic misconduct often results in a one-year suspension from the University, a notation of academic discipline on your record and a grade of zero for the course in which the academic misconduct occurred. However, disciplinary measures which may be imposed, singly or in combination, for academic misconduct include, but are not limited to the following:

  • A letter of reprimand;
  • Revocation of a degree dishonestly or improperly obtained;
  • A notation of academic discipline on the student’s Transcript of Academic Record;
  • Denial of admission or re-admission to the University for a specified or indefinite period of time;
  • Expulsion from the University;
  • Suspension from the University for a specified period of time;
  • Suspension, cancellation, or forfeiture of any scholarships, bursaries or prizes
  • A failing grade or mark of zero on the assignment or in the course in which the academic misconduct occurred.

How to maintain Academic Integrity

Maintaining academic honesty is the easiest way to succeed at UBC and is at the crux of what you came here to do – learn. Don’t share your work with classmates or help each other take tests. Don’t be tempted by websites that promise you solutions to your assignments – there are examples where these sites have provided user information to UBC. Don’t participate in a study group that demonstrates unethical behaviours, such as obtaining exam answers, collaborative test taking, creating a common set of notes or script among group members or copying assignments (among others). Do use the resources provided by your instructor, like office hours, and do form study groups with classmates to help each other learn the course material before the exams while maintaining academic integrity. If you’ve read this article you should be well-informed about academic integrity, but if you’re still not sure about what’s right or wrong, ask your instructor and take part in Academic Integrity Matters (AIM) offered through the Student Learning Hub.

How UBC is tracking people who cheat

The Irving K. Barber Faculty of Science is committed to identifying all cases of academic misconduct and will take the necessary disciplinary action as appropriate. We are currently using all of the means at our disposal, including a variety of software tools to identify cases of plagiarism, cheating and “contract test taking.”

You are encouraged to report any instances of academic misconduct by emailing Any information about potential academic misconduct will be treated as confidential and shared only with course instructors and relevant parties. For more information about UBC’s official policies, view the Academic Honesty and Standards and Academic Misconduct policies.