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Professional Ethics and Regulations

Professional Ethics

The Graduate School of Arts and Sciences is a community of scholars engaged in research, scholarship, and teaching. As members of this community, we share a responsibility to cultivate an environment in which our academic endeavors may thrive. Within such an environment both academic integrity and personal conduct grounded in mutual respect and trust are core institutional values.

To foster these values, the Graduate School requires students to complete an online learning module during their first year of study. We hope that this module will help to strengthen everyone's awareness of the ethical issues that underlie our scholarship and collegial interaction. In addition, students are expected to familiarize themselves with the Graduate School’s code of conduct.

Academic Integrity

Academic integrity is a core institutional value at Yale. It includes honesty and fairness in our scholarship and research, respect for each other, and responsibility for our conduct. Indeed, these are the ethical values that govern us as a community working to advance knowledge and education. Excellent scholarship must rest on honest originality, and this honesty takes many forms. It means, among other things, truth in presentation, diligence and precision in citing works and ideas we have used, and acknowledging our collaborations with others.

Academic dishonesty has not been a substantial problem in the Graduate School, but any incidence at all is regrettable. It is no help that in recent years, prominent researchers in several disciplines have been accused of academic dishonesty of one kind or another. In the hope of fostering excellence in scholarship and research, the Graduate School has undertaken a variety of educational activities designed to foster an environment in which academic integrity imbues all that we do.


Academic dishonesty may take a number of forms. The most basic definition of it is any claim within or about your research and scholarship that is not true. Some of the most prevalent forms of academic dishonesty are plagiarism and unauthorized collaboration. Other forms of academic dishonesty include falsifying or misusing data from experiments, submitting the same paper for two classes without permission, copying from another student on exams or assignments, and the use of unauthorized materials during exams.


The failure, whether intentional or not, to cite one's sources properly is referred to as plagiarism. Webster's Ninth New Collegiate Dictionary defines the act of plagiarizing as follows:

Plagiarize vb: to steal and pass off (the ideas or words of another) as one’s own : use (a created production) without crediting the source ~ vi : to commit literary theft : present as new and original an idea or product derived from an existing source.

We are required to cite any instance in which we have either directly quoted or indirectly drawn upon and benefited from the works and ideas of others. This requirement applies equally to all of the work that we do, whether a paper or an exam for a course, a presentation in class or at a conference, a manuscript for publication, or any other scholarly work. Failing to credit the influence of existing research and scholarship on one's own work is tantamount to theft. It is particularly important to note that the Internet is subject to the same rules that govern other sources. It is not somehow free or different from any other source that must be cited if used.

Plagiarism, whether deliberate or through negligence or ignorance, is a serious violation of conduct at both the College and the Graduate School, and, indeed, in any environment that values integrity, respect and fairness. Our commitment to creative scholarly work carries with it explicit and implicit commitments to documenting the sources of existing ideas and statements that appear in our own work. By planning ahead, being honest, and exercising patience, plagiarism is easy to avoid.

It is imperative that all of us learn and apply the standards for citation in our disciplines because the written form for noting citations varies from one field of study to the next. In short, while the obligation to cite all sources we have used is universal, the forms of citation vary widely. In addition to the resources available through the Graduate School, Yale faculty members can help you determine the current protocols governing scholarly references in each discipline.

Unauthorized Collaboration

Collaboration refers to work that we do with others to complete graded course work. All parties involved are responsible for the collaboration. It may include but is not limited to discussion of home work problems or take-home exam questions, work on a lab report, discussion or editing of a paper you are writing.

Only the instructor of a course may authorize collaboration and the degree to which it is appropriate in that course and in a given situation. If an instructor permits you to collaborate on one assignment, it does not mean you may collaborate on other assignments. You must follow all of the guidelines set by the instructor. If the instructor has not authorized you to work together with others and you do so, you have collaborated without authorization. If you are at all uncertain about whether or not you are allowed to collaborate on a particular piece of work or in a particular way, you should ask the instructor.

Prevention of Sexual Misconduct

Yale University is committed to maintaining and strengthening an educational, working, and living environment founded on civility and mutual respect. Sexual misconduct is antithetical to the standards and ideals of our community and will not be tolerated. Yale aims to eradicate sexual misconduct through education, training, clear policies, and serious consequences for violations of these policies. Sexual misconduct incorporates a range of behaviors including rape, sexual assault (which includes any kind of nonconsensual sexual contact), sexual harassment, intimate partner violence, stalking, and any other conduct of a sexual nature that is nonconsensual, or has the purpose or effect of threatening, intimidating, or coercing a person or persons. When there is a lack of mutual consent about sexual activity, or there is ambiguity about whether consent has been given, a student can be charged with, and found guilty of, committing a sexual assault or another form of sexual misconduct.

All members of the Yale community are asked to familiarize themselves with the definitions of sexual misconduct, sexual consent and sexual harassment and Yale’s policy regarding teacher-student consensual relations.