Academic Integrity and the Role of the Instructor

The University of Toronto is committed to the values of independent inquiry and to the free and open exchange of ideas. Visit U of T’s Academic Integrity website for further resources and the university’s Code of Behaviour.

It is an offence for a student to knowingly commit:

  • Forgery: forging or in any other way altering or falsifying any document or evidence required by the University, or making use of any such forged, altered or falsified document, whether in print or electronic form.
  • Use or Possession of Unauthorized Aid(s): using or possessing an unauthorized aid or aids or obtaining unauthorized assistance in any academic examination or term test or in connection with any other form of academic work. (Note: This includes situations such as possession or use of unauthorized electronic devices such as cell phones or calculators, use of unauthorized notes during a test, and receiving unauthorized assistance from another student, e.g. in sharing assignments or sharing information during tests.)
  • Impersonation: personating another person, or having another person personate, at any academic examination or term test or in connection with any other form of academic work.
  • Plagiarism: representing as one’s own any idea or expression of an idea or work of another in any academic examination or term test or in connection with any other form of academic work.
  • Resubmission of Work: submitting, without the knowledge and approval of the instructor to whom it is submitted, any academic work for which credit has previously been obtained or is being sought in another course or program of study in the University or elsewhere. (Note: that if the course instructor grants permission for the student to resubmit the work in question, it is not considered an offence.)
  • False or Concocted References: submitting any academic work containing a purported statement of fact or reference to a source which has been concocted.

It is an offence if a faculty member and student alike knowingly:

  • Forges or in any other way alter or falsify any academic record, or to utter or make use of any such forged, altered or falsified record
  • Engages in any other form of misconduct not otherwise described, in order to obtain academic credit or other academic advantage of any kind.

It is an offence if a faculty member knowingly:

  • Approves any of the above offences
  • Evaluates an application for admission or transfer to a course or program of study by reference to any criterion that is not academically justified
  • Evaluates academic work by a student by reference to any criterion that does not relate to its merit, to the time within which it is to be submitted or to the manner in which it is to be performed

It is also an offence for any student and instructor to be a party to any of the above offences, and for an instructor to ignore an offence when it occurs.



  • A common form of plagiarism manifests as incomplete paraphrasing or “tracing”, where a passage is copied from another source and a handful of words have been changed to synonyms but the structure and majority of text from the original passage remains intact.
  • Plagiarism also occurs when a student obtains an assignment from a friend and attempts to rewrite or “edit” the paper to reduce the amount of exact text matches. This is often detected by, or when similarities become evident during grading.
  • While more difficult to detect, purchased papers are often identified by the presence of:
  • Elevated language and quality of writing compared with student’s previous work
  • Topic/sources are dated or do not reflect assignment
  • While grading, look for any of the following signals:
  • Changes in quality and level of writing within the paper
  • Strange syntax, e.g. an abundance of fragmented sentences and frequent typos
  • Strange structure, such as lack of formal introduction or conclusion, or repetitive paragraphs
  • Abrupt changes in font, style, and formatting
  • A feeling that some of the text is familiar to you
  • Mixed citation methods (e.g. parenthetical citations and footnotes in same paper)