fbpx Academic Code | Harvard Kennedy School

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 HKS Code of Conduct.

Principles of the HKS Academic Code

All students must be committed to:

  1. Doing their own work.
  2. Citing ideas and words that are not their own in all assignments, e.g., any fact, phrase, or sentence from any source, including, for example, the Internet.
  3. Strictly following collaboration guidelines as set forth by instructors for each assignment.
  4. Not doing another student’s work or providing answers to another student.

All faculty members are committed to clarity for all work products with regard to:

  1. Collaboration guidelines.
  2. Requirements for citation in all written work.
  3. Not changing assignments (numbers or due dates) previously stated in the course syllabus.

Academic Dishonesty and Plagiarism

Members of the HKS community commit themselves to producing work that adheres to the scholarly and intellectual standards of accurate attribution of sources, appropriate collection and use of data, and transparent acknowledgement of the contribution of others to our ideas, discoveries, interpretations, and conclusions. Cheating on assignments or exams, plagiarizing or misrepresenting the ideas or language of someone else as one’s own, falsifying data, or any other instance of academic dishonesty violates the standards of our community, as well as the standards of the wider world of learning and affairs. Using someone else’s words or concepts without attribution is a serious violation of the Academic Code. It is the student’s responsibility to learn and use the proper forms of citation. If students submit work either not their own or without clear attribution to the original source, including but not limited to the Internet, they will be subject to discipline by the HKS Administrative Board, ranging from a warning to required withdrawal or expulsion from Harvard Kennedy School.

It is expected that all work product submitted at HKS, including drafts of papers, presentations and memos, must be researched and written by the student whose name appears on the document. Students may obtain feedback from faculty members, course assistant/teaching fellows (CA/TFs), and/or preceptors, who may give students direction for improving their writing and, using examples from the work itself, specifics for revisions, but students should not expect instructors to provide extensive editing or to correct errors.

Students may solicit feedback from classmates only in the form of asking for general responses to the ideas expressed and/or the clarity of presentation. Classmates may make general suggestions about how to improve the assignment, but must not make specific revisions or corrections.

It is not acceptable for students to ask someone, either paid or unpaid, to:

  1. Rewrite an assignment.
  2. Extensively edit or correct a written assignment to improve either the contents or the presentation.
  3. Translate any part of a written assignment.

It is the expectation of every course that all work submitted will have been done solely for that course. If the same or similar work is submitted to any other course, the prior written permission of all instructors involved must be obtained. Submitting work used professionally or for another school also requires prior written permission from the HKS instructor. Failure to adhere to these rules is a violation of the Academic Code.

Collaborative Work

Harvard Kennedy School students must also recognize the ethical obligations that arise out of collaborative work assignments in some HKS courses. Work of this sort is frequently an integral part of the teaching process; the school expects students to further the learning and competence of their colleagues. Students should be careful to meet the conditions specified in a collaborative assignment.

Permission to collaborate on one assignment does not mean collaboration is permitted on any other assignment. If students are uncertain about those conditions, they should obtain clarification from the instructor. When collaboration is permitted within a course students must acknowledge any collaboration and its extent in all submitted work. Failure to comply carries an academic penalty and may result in disciplinary action against the students involved. If at any time students have a question about these procedures, they should consult their instructor or program director.

Timing of Academic Misconduct

If an allegation of academic dishonesty arises after a student has received a degree, the case will be referred to the HKS Administrative Board. A finding of academic dishonesty in such a case may result in rescission of the degree.

HKS Diversity Statement >