Academic Rules, Rights and Responsibilities

General Standards of Conduct for Engineering Students

In establishing a standard of student conduct, the University of Michigan is committed to the basic principles of entrusting all students with a high degree of freedom to govern their lives and conduct while enrolled at the University.

Being a successful member of the College of Engineering community involves intense, spirited and innovative collaboration with groups of people from diverse backgrounds. Therefore, the College of Engineering embraces a spirit of acceptance and understanding so that our community enjoys a high quality educational and work experience that contributes not only to our technical expertise and accomplishments, but to our ability to interact effectively as a team across disciplines, perspectives, cultures and around the globe. Our goal is a welcoming environment of respect and courtesy for all members of our campus community. This goal depends on  the active involvement of all of our community members to create an environment that values diversity and fosters intercultural skills.

The College of Engineering encourages its students to protect and use this freedom with wisdom and good judgment, and to accept and discharge the responsibility inherent to such freedom.

Students are expected to respect the rights and property of others and to comply with University regulations and public laws.

The College of Engineering welcomes the participation of students in decision making relevant to their affairs and provides channels of communication, both at the College and department level, for that purpose. To benefit from such activity, each student should recognize the responsibility to fellow students and to the faculty and staff, and should discharge all duties with the standards that make such student-college relationships effective and valuable.

The College of Engineering reserves the right to discipline, exclude from participation in relevant activities, or dismiss any student whose conduct or performance it considers in violation of its standards. Such a decision will be made only after review by the appropriate student and faculty committees. During this review, the student will have full opportunity to present his/her/their position. A student also has the right of appeal to the Executive Committee of the College.

The Honor Code of the College of Engineering (below) bears witness to the deep trust that characterizes student-faculty relationships in one of the most important aspects of student conduct.

Honor Code

The engineering profession has a long-standing record of fostering high standards of integrity in the performance of professional services. Not until the 1930s, however, was the first Canon of Ethics for Engineers developed and adopted by national professional engineering societies. The Fundamental Canons, as they appear on the National Society of Professional Engineers website ( states “Engineers, in the fulfillment of their professional duties, shall:

Fundamental Canons

  1. Hold paramount the safety, health and welfare of the public.
  2. Perform services only in areas of their competence.
  3. Issue public statements only in an objective and truthful manner.
  4. Act for each employer or client as faithful agents or trustees.
  5. Avoid deceptive acts.
  6. Conduct themselves honorably, responsibly, ethically and lawfully so as to enhance the honor, reputation and usefulness of the profession.”

In 1915, the students of the College of Engineering proposed an Honor Code. This was approved by the faculty in 1916 and has been in effect since its inception. The Honor Code is a distinguishing feature of the College of Engineering.

Applications of the Honor Code

The Honor Code holds that students are honorable, trustworthy people and encourages them to behave with integrity in all phases of University life. By conforming to the Code, students do their work in an environment conducive to establishing high standards of personal integrity, professional ethic, and mutual respect.

As a basic feature of the Code, students are placed upon their honor during all examinations, written quizzes, computer questions, homework, laboratory reports and any other work turned in for credit, as required by the instructor. During examinations, the instructor is available for questions, but the examination is not proctored. As a reminder of the Honor Code, the student is asked to write and sign the following pledge on the examination paper:

“I have neither given nor received aid on this examination, nor have I concealed a violation of the Honor Code.”

The Honor Code remains in force whether or not the student signs the pledge, but an instructor is not obligated to grade an examination without a signature.

With regard to assignments made in class, each class/professor may have a different policy regarding what constitutes an Honor Code violation and this policy should be clearly outlined in the syllabus for the course. If a student is in doubt, the professor responsible for the course should be asked for clarification. In particular, be aware that some professors allow and/or encourage group work, while others may not even allow discussion of homework problems.

In general, the principles of the Honor Code also apply to homework when the instructor requires that the material be turned in for grading. While independent study is recognized as a primary method of effective learning, some students may find that they benefit from studying together and discussing homework assignments and laboratory experiments. When any material is turned in for inspection and grading, the students should clearly understand whether, and to what degree, collaboration among students is permitted by the instructor. In some courses, full collaboration is allowed, while in other courses each student must work completely independently. The instructor may require the signing of the pledge on homework assignments and expect the same high standards of integrity as during examinations.

It is always required that ideas and materials obtained from another student or from any other source be acknowledged in one’s work. The latter is particularly important, because material is so freely available on the Internet. According to Merriam-Webster online dictionary, to plagiarize is “To steal and pass off (the ideas or words of another) as one’s own.” To avoid plagiarism, it is necessary to cite all sources of both ideas and direct quotations, including those found on the Internet. The Department of English web site and the University Library handout provide thorough discussions of plagiarism:

The Honor Code Process

Either a student or the instructor may report a suspected Honor Code violation by contacting the Honor Code Representative to the Associate Dean for Undergraduate Education: Tomika White, Office of Retention and Academic Support Services, 273 Chrysler Center 2029, Suspected Honor code violations must be reported no later than two months after the term in which the violation occurred.

The accusation is then investigated by the Engineering Honor Council, and if wrongdoing is found, a recommendation is sent to the Faculty Committee on Discipline (FCD). The FCD holds a hearing at which the student is asked to appear and testify on his/her/their own behalf. After the hearing (whether or not the student attends), the FCD reviews the recommendation made by the Honor Council, decides if an Honor Code violation has occurred and determines an appropriate sanction, if so. The Honor Code Representative to the Associate Dean for Undergraduate Education then notifies the student of the FCD’s decision.

Typical sanctions for a first violation may include a zero on the assignment, a reduction in grade for the course and community service. For especially serious or repeated violations of the Honor Code, the sanctions may also include suspension or expulsion from the College of Engineering. The student may appeal the FCD’s decision to the Executive Committee of the College of Engineering.

A student wishing to admit responsibility may elect to participate in an expedited process:

  1. A respondent with no previous Honor Code violations that resulted in a finding of responsibility, who also accepts responsibility for the alleged violation, may elect an expedited hearing process.
  2. This process is available to any student in a College of Engineering course who has not already been found responsible for an Honor Code violation.
  3. A student electing to participate in the expedited hearing process is accepting responsibility formally for the alleged violation.
  4. A standard punitive sanctioning policy will be used in developing restorative action plans for student respondents. (Typically a 0 on the assignment(s) in question and 1/3 letter grade reduction.)
  5. All decisions and action plans are subject to the review for final approval by the Faculty Committee on Discipline.
  6. In an expedited hearing meeting facilitated by a member of the Office of Retention and Academic Support Services, a respondent will provide details about their alleged violation.
  7. A finding of “responsible” as a result of the expedited or non-expedited (Honor Code Formalized) adjudication process will count as a first violation and will make a respondent ineligible for an expedited process as the result of any future.
  8. Expedited review of potentially “Not Responsible” respondents as the result of expedited hearing information collected.
  9. In a case with multiple students, the respondent may identify those students they believe to be potentially not responsible.  
  10. In a case with multiple students, if at such time it becomes likely that a student is not responsible for an alleged Honor Code violation as the result of testimony and evidence collected in expedited hearings, those individuals may be eligible for their case to be considered for an expedited Honor Council review of their potential violation.
  11. This expedited review is conducted by an approved investigator as designated by the Honor Council, and a staff member of the Office of Retention and Academic Support Services. These reviews will be conducted weekly as needed.
  12. A determination of not responsible can be made at this time similar to the investigation phase of the current Honor Council review process.

Any finding other than “not responsible” will result in the case being processed through the full Honor Code process, with this meeting serving as an investigation whereas a formal hearing will be scheduled at a later non-expedited date.

The Honor Council has prepared a booklet that explains the principles and operation of the Honor Code. The Honor Code booklet is available in the Office of Retention and Academic Support Services, 273 Chrysler Center and on the College of Engineering website: Honor Code Pamphlet

Statement of Student Rights and Responsibilities


The University of Michigan-Ann Arbor (the University) is dedicated to supporting and maintaining a scholarly community. As its central purpose, this community promotes intellectual inquiry through vigorous discourse. Values which undergird this purpose include civility, dignity, diversity, education, equality, freedom, honesty and safety.

When students choose to accept admission to the University, they accept the rights and responsibilities of membership in the University’s academic and social community. As members of the University community, students are expected to uphold its previously stated values by maintaining a high standard of conduct. Because the University establishes high standards for membership, its standards of conduct, while falling within the limits of the law, may exceed federal, state or local requirements.

Within the University, entities (such as schools and colleges; campus, professional, and student organizations) have developed policies that outline standards of conduct governing their constituents and that sometimes provide procedures for sanctioning violations of those standards. This Statement of Student Rights and Responsibilities (the Statement) does not replace those standards; nor does it constrain the procedures or sanctions provided by those policies. This Statement describes possible behaviors which are inconsistent with the values of the University community; it outlines procedures to respond to such behaviors; and it suggests possible sanctions which are intended to educate and to safeguard members of the University community.

Student Rights

Students at the University have the same rights and protections under the constitutions of the United States and the State of Michigan as other citizens. These rights include freedom of expression, press, religion and assembly. The University has a long tradition of student activism and values freedom of expression, which includes voicing unpopular views and dissent. As members of the University community, students have the right to express their own views, but must also take responsibility for according the same right to others.

Students have the right to be treated fairly and with dignity regardless of age, color, creed, disability, marital status, national origin or ancestry, race, religion, sex (including gender identity and gender expression), sexual orientation or veteran status. The University has a long-standing tradition of commitment to pluralistic education. Accordingly, the University, through this Statement, will not discriminate on the basis of group status.

Students have the right to be protected from capricious decision making by the University and to have access to University policies which affect them. The University has an enduring commitment to provide students with a balanced and fair system of dispute resolution. Accordingly, this Statement will not deprive students of the appropriate due process protections to which they are entitled. This Statement is one of the University’s administrative procedures and should not be equated with procedures used in civil or criminal court.

Students also have a right to be educated about this Statement, and the University has a responsibility to provide education to students about the contents of this Statement. Students shall be made aware of their rights as outlined in this Statement, in addition to their responsibilities. Specifically, beginning in Winter 2017, the Division of Student Life must inform new students of the violations of this Statement and potential sanctions/interventions they may face if found responsible for violating this Statement.

The University’s commitment to providing students appropriate dispute resolution avenues means that in addition to formal conflict resolution processes the University also provides informal, Adaptable Conflict Resolution pathways.

Student Responsibilities

Along with rights come certain responsibilities. Students at the University are expected to act consistently with the values of the University community and to obey local, state and federal laws.

For complete information on Students Rights and Responsibilities see the Office of Student Conflict Resolution, Division of Student Affairs at: