What are the Consequences

The consequences for cheating, plagiarism, unauthorized collaboration, and other forms of academic dishonesty can be very serious, possibly including suspension or expulsion from the Institute. Any violation of the rules outlined in this handbook, established by the instructor of the class, or deviating from responsible conduct of research, may be considered violations of academic integrity. The MIT Policy on Student Academic Dishonesty is outlined in MIT’s Policies and Procedures 10.2.

Instructors, research or thesis supervisors decide how to handle violations of academic integrity on a case-by-case basis, and three options exist. Questions about these options should be directed to the Office of Student Citizenship (citizenship@mit.edu).


Academic consequences within a class or research project

Within a class, the instructor determines what action is appropriate to take. Such action may include:

  • requiring the student to redo the assignment for a reduced grade.

  • assigning the student a failing grade for the assignment.

  • assigning the student a failing grade for the class.

For a research project, the supervisor determines what action is appropriate to take. Such action may include:

  • terminating the student's participation in the research project.

The instructor or supervisor may also submit documentation to the Office of Student Citizenship in the form of a letter to file or a formal complaint. These options are outlined below.


Letter to file

The instructor or supervisor writes a letter describing the nature of the academic integrity violation, which is placed in the student’s discipline file. The student’s discipline file is maintained by the Office of Student Citizenship (OSC) and is not associated with the student’s academic record.

  • A letter may be filed with the OSC in addition to the action already taken in the class or research project.

  • If a student receives a letter to file, s/he has the right to:

    • submit a reply, that is added to the student’s file.

    • appeal the letter to the Committee on Discipline (COD) for a full hearing.

  • In resolving the violation described in the letter, the OSC reviews any previous violations which are documented in the student’s discipline file.


Committee on Discipline (COD) complaint

The instructor or supervisor submits a formal complaint to the COD, which resolves cases of alleged student misconduct.

  • This complaint may be filed with the OSC in addition to the action already taken in the class or research project.

  • A COD complaint is reviewed by the COD Chair and considered for a hearing. Any previous violations documented in the student’s discipline file are reviewed as part of this process.

  • Cases resulting in a hearing are subject to a full range of sanctions, including probation, suspension, dismissal, or other educational sanctions.