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Academic Integrity at SFU

Most students do not cheat. However, it is important for students to take a full and active role in protecting the academic honesty of the university community, of their discipline and department, and of their own individual academic integrity.

The Students Speak Out on Academic Integrity (PDF) is a quick and straightforward guide to keeping your work on the right side of the line. Additionally, if you ever find yourself in a questionable or difficult situation, the resources section can show you where to find help to resolve issues surrounding academic integrity. 

Plagiarism and Academic Dishonesty

Academic dishonesty in all forms violates the basic principles of integrity and thus impedes learning.  More specifically, academic dishonesty is a form of misconduct that is subject to disciplinary action and includes the following:  cheating, fabrication, fraud, facilitating academic dishonesty, and plagiarism.  For more information on academic dishonesty and student conduct, please visit the following website: If a student is found guilty of plagiarism or other form of academic dishonesty on a class paper, an exam or an assignment, an academic dishonesty report will be written for that student, and this report will be filed in the department. The student gets zero for the paper, the exam or the assignment. If more than one academic dishonesty report has been filed for a student, the case can be presented to the University Board on Student Discipline.

If a student has a tutor help him/her with his/her paper, s/he must provide the following: (i) the name, telephone number, and e-mail address of the tutor; (ii) a copy of the draft(s) that s/he submitted to the tutor; (iii) a copy of the changes suggested by the tutor.  A tutor cannot edit or co-write the student's paper. A tutor can only identify issues that the student should improve in his/her paper. A tutor is not permitted to correct the student's paper using word processing software that highlights changes that s/he simply accepts.

Examination Procedures

  1. Students are not permitted to leave to use the washroom during the exam (unless s/he turns in the exam).
  2. Books and bags must be on the floor. Study notes must be stored in a closed bag.
  3. Turn off cell phones, pagers, etc.
  4. Students must bring their student ID, and have it ready during the exam.
  5. Hats must be taken off or baseball cap turned backwards.
  6. No talking.
  7. Use a pen to write the exam; pencil if it is a scantron exam.
  8. There is no scratch paper allowed - if required the professor will hand it out.
  9. Students may be asked to change seats during the exam for any reason.

Missed exams due to illness

If a student must miss an exam because of illness or extenuating circumstances, s/he is required to contact the instructor prior to the exam. S/he may notify the instructor by e-mail or leave a message at the office. When the student returns to class, s/he will need to bring a note from his/her medical doctor specifying and justifying the date of his/her absence.

Extenuating circumstances are defined as unusual circumstances beyond the student's control.

Make-up exams

The instructor has the right to not provide make-up exams for midterms. In such cases, if a student misses a midterm exam because of illness or extenuating circumstances, the weight of the midterm will be added to the final exam.  In case a course has no final exam, the percentage of a missed midterm will be added to another course requirement that the instructor has designated or spread through other course requirements.

Reviewing exams and assignments

Midterm exams and assignments can be discussed with the instructor within 10 days after they have been returned to the class.  Requests for grade change after the 10 days will not be accepted.

If a student wishes to review his/her final exam, s/he may make an appointment with the instructor to review it.  Most appointments take place during the first week of classes in the following semester.

Grade appeals

If the student wishes to contest the marking of an exam, the instructor can agree to remark his/her entire exam at the instructor's convenience and not in front of the student. A grade reconsideration may raise the grade, or lower the grade or leave the grade unchanged, as stated in Policy T20.01, clause IV.2.

The only reason a grade change will be made is if there is an arithmetic error or if it has been determined that the exam deserves a lower grade or a higher grade after it has been remarked.

Reasons not related to performance will not be considered. For example:

  • the student is on probation
  • the student wants to get into another program
  • the student worked hard and thinks that should be a factor
  • the student doesn't like the grade scale
  • the student's score is X% below the next grade and would like the instructor to ignore the difference
  • the student needs to graduate.

Grade scale

There is no university-wide standard grade scale. An instructor adopts a grade scale appropriate to the level and the content of the course.

Course requirements

Course requirements apply to all students enrolled in the class, with no exception. In particular, a student may not ask the instructor to redistribute the worth of the requirements or change the grade scale, because s/he has received poor marks on one of them.


If a student has not taken or has failed the prerequisite(s) for a course, s/he may be asked to withdraw from the course.  The student won't be able to graduate unless he has passed all prerequisites.

E-mail policy

  1. Instructors can only respond to questions that can be answered in a sentence or two.  Questions requiring longer replies should be asked in class or brought to the instructor during office hours.
  2. The subject header must contain the name of the course, and the e-mail must be signed. If your message does not clearly address the content of the course or the Subject line is simply `hi', there is a good chance that it will be classified as spam, and discarded automatically.
  3. Instructors are not expected to respond to messages late in the evening or on weekends. If a message is sent late on Friday afternoon or during the weekend, students should not expect to receive a response until the following week. 
  4. Instructors expect students to proof-read their e-mail messages so that their questions are clear. Also, students should word their e-mails in an appropriately polite manner.
  5. Students should understand that it may be several days before an instructor can reply to their messages because of the large number of e-mail messages instructors receive.

In-class behaviour

  1. Students are expected to attend all classes and arrive on time.
  2. Students will be respectful of other students and the instructor.  In particular, students will not talk while the instructor or another student is talking.
  3. A student who fails to behave respectfully in class may be asked to leave.

Religious accommodations

All student requests for accommodations for their religious practices must be made in writing by the end of the first week of classes or no later than one week after a student adds a course.