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Harvard Kennedy School prides itself in the honesty and integrity of its graduates. Although violation of our academic standards is not common, every year a handful of students fail to graduate because they plagiarize in papers or take-home exams or are involved in other forms of academic dishonesty, including inappropriate collaboration on assignments or other forms of cheating.
This information is intended to help students understand what is and is not allowed.
An academic code sets forth policies to ensure that all members of an academic community adhere to its high standards of honesty, scholarship, and academic integrity.
In accordance with its mission to prepare individuals for public leadership, Harvard Kennedy School has a commitment and obligation to produce graduates who are ethical professionals. Integral to this training is the value of academic honesty. High standards reflect the school’s academic integrity, foster a respectful environment for work and study, and provide an example of academic excellence for others. The Harvard Kennedy School Academic Code is an integral part of the School's Code of Conduct.
Download the complete Academic Code(link to PDF).
View Harvard Kennedy School's policy on Students' Ethical Responsibilities(link to PDF).
The HKS Academic Code explains the policies on academic integrity in detail. All students are required to read and adhere to those policies. The basic ideas behind these policies are summed up by University of Chicago professor, Charles Lipson, as the “bedrock” principles of academic honesty:
Remember to seek help from the faculty member, course assistant, or your program director if you have a problem with completing assignments. It’s better to receive a grade of Incomplete than to submit work that is not your own.
At HKS, you may be asked to write policy memos as part of your coursework. Whereas academic papers, such as you may write for publication require thorough citation, in your professional careers whether you are distilling the issues and making recommendations for a policymaker or a president, the rules for citation vary.
It is required (unless your professor indicates otherwise) that you attach a page of sources and acknowledgement to any policy memo assignment. However, even though a policy memo does not require footnotes, you are required to use quotation marks around words that are not your own.
Please review the Sample Policy Memo(link to PDF).