Pre-Health Post-Bac: Honor Code

The Hippocratic oath underscores the relationship between honor and the step you’re about to take with the help of this program: joining the ranks of the medical and other health professions. Entrusting someone with lives demands the highest standards. Living up to these standards is a professional skill we expect students to begin developing in the SF State Pre-Health Professions program.

The community of our program is founded on principles of excellenceintegrity and leadership, upheld by academic staff and learners. We take a broad view of the importance of these principles throughout all dimensions of academic life. Excellence requires justice and personal responsibility. Integrity requires respect and trust. And leadership requires teamwork and community. We graduate students well-positioned to enter health professional programs based on their achievements in biomedical sciences, their honor and integrity and the reputation of this program. We also participate in the broader community of San Francisco State University, sharing its mission:

“...the diversity of our community that includes many first-generation college students and the courage of an academic community that strives to break down traditional boundaries… With unwavering commitment to social justice that is central to the work of the university, SF State prepares its students to become productive, ethical, active citizens”

This honor code is a living document, invested in, endorsed and upheld by the students and staff of our program. It explicates our principles, clarifies the nature of academic honesty and misconduct, outlines consequences and remediation for incidents that fall short of our standards, refers readers to further resources supporting high standards of academic integrity, and discusses the ongoing process for the endorsement and review of this honor code by the members of our program.



Academic Integrity and Misconduct

There are approaches that students can follow to better uphold our honor code. These rules always apply unless specified otherwise:

  • Assessments should be completed in your own words and reflect your personal thinking.
  • Never copy another student’s work (complete or in parts), and always use your own words when working on assignments, even when working in groups.
  • If studying in groups in preparation for upcoming individual assessment, consider that each group member’s answers must appear unique, or they will be indistinguishable from cheating to the instructor.
  • Do not copy solutions from the internet or others, buy answers, have someone else complete your assignment, fabricate grades, or alter graded work for resubmission.
  • Do not deceive instructors about your circumstances, including in making requests for special consideration or extensions.

Academic misconduct or dishonesty refers to any inappropriate behaviour that occurs in a formal academic exercise such as assignments, quizzes, or exams. Here are some examples of Academic misconduct or dishonesty.



Cheating refers to an act of providing or receiving academic assistance without prior permission. This includes modern forms of cheating such as obtaining answers, lab reports, or other assessable material from services such as Chegg, Quizlet, Coursehero, etc. Some examples of cheating are:

  • using unauthorized cheat sheets during a quiz or an exam
  • asking someone for answers on work assigned for individual completion
  • obtaining answers on the internet when instructed not to



Plagiarism refers to an act using others' work as one's own without providing proper citations. This includes self-plagiarism where an assignment is re-submitted to multiple courses without authorization from the instructor. Some examples of plagiarism are:

  • submitting another individual’s work (complete or in parts) as one’s own without proper acknowledgements or authorizations
  • using someone else’s ideas without citation
  • inadequate or improper use of citations for an assignment
  • copying solutions from Wikipedia, Chegg, Quizlet, Coursehero, etc.



Falsification refers to the fabrication of data, information, or citations. Some examples of falsification are:

  • altering a grade after submission
  • using someone else’s assignment as one’s own
  • fabricating experimental data
  • citing fictitious articles
  • altering records



Deception refers to an act of providing false information to an instructor or fellow student. Some examples of deception are:

  • lying about having submitted work or about why work was late
  • sabotaging another students’ work
  • falsely reporting someone for academic dishonesty
  • creating malicious rumors


Misuse of Academic Materials

Some examples of misuse of academic materials are:

  • forgery
  • selling or gifting unauthorized academic materials online or in-person
  • destroying public intellectual property (e.g. library books)


When facing a situation where you are not sure if it will violate academic integrity, a helpful rule of thumb is to always produce your own work unless you are told otherwise, and ask the instructor to clarify any confusion.

Accountability: Consequences and Remedy for Incidents of Misconduct

  • When an instructor or student sees evidence of academic dishonesty, they should report it to the student and to the program director (and academic integrity committee, if applicable).
  • If the student knowingly cheated, they should disclose the incident to the instructor.
  • If a student witnesses another student being academically dishonest, the witness should report the violation. Every attempt to preserve the anonymity of the student reporting will be made. Students may report violations using the Academic Integrity Violation Form or reporting the incident to a faculty member.
  • A report needs to contain evidence:
    • Observing a student copy another’s answer during an exam
    • Observing students submit the same work on an exam
    • Observing students copy homework answers from an online resource
    • Receiving a request to take part in cheating
  • The student who has been accused of cheating will be informed that a report has been made and shown the evidence for the report, preserving the anonymity of the reporter, when possible.
  • Academic misconduct, as listed above (Academic Integrity and Misconduct) will have consequences:

    • On an exam, misconduct will result in a grade of zero on the exam.
    • On an assignment, misconduct will result in a grade of zero on either a specific part of the assignment up to the whole assignment.
  • The instructor or program will consider lighter penalties for students who self-surrender.
  • If an accused student disagrees with the evidence of cheating, they may appeal to the academic integrity committee. The committee will consider the evidence and make a determination. Or should this be turned over to the Academic Integrity Committee or SF State Office of Student Conduct?
  • If a student involved in academic dishonesty requests a committee letter, the letter will likely include discussion of the incident.

SF State Academic Integrity Resources

Academic dishonesty often results from lack of effective time management. Students are more prone to cheating when pressed for time and under stress. By planning time appropriately, students may be less likely to cheat and, thereby, uphold the SF State PHPCP’s honor code. Effective time management includes awareness of assignment deadlines and exam schedules as well as setting up a personal study schedule to ensure adequate time to learn material in courses. Procrastination increases the likelihood of academic dishonesty. The SF State Health Promotion and Wellness Center (HPW) has informational online resources about healthy life and balanced life management.

Along with proper time management, developing good study habits will reduce the strain of work and foster more effective learning — thereby reducing the likelihood of cheating. Tutoring and Academic Support Center (TASC) usually has drop-in tutoring opportunities for students throughout the semester for more help in certain subjects.


Tips on developing good study habits

  • Have a study schedule. Make studying part of your daily routine. Leave some time for review in your schedule.
  • Take breaks and practice self-care. Eat healthy, drink water, get exercise,and get plenty of sleep.
  • Avoid distractions. Avoid your phone, email and social media when you are studying. Wear ear plugs if you are easily distracted. Certain types of music may also help improve focus.
  • Know how you learn best. Some students do best studying alone, while others do better in study groups. Pick the right time of day to study.
  • Find a good study spot. Be sure to find a space in your home for studying.
  • Get organized. Organize your lecture notes as well as your study area. This will save time in the long run.
  • Ask questions. If you are struggling in a course be sure to ask questions. Attend class meetings, attend office hours and find a tutor.

Never hesitate to ask a question. Asking questions to gain clarity on an assignment shows the instructor that you are striving to do your best. It will also lead to more effective learning and help you avoid honor code violations. If you are struggling to understand course material or need clarity about the course in general try to reach out for help with the instructor before or after class or during office hours.

Should you have personal matters that may disturb your studies or your ability to keep course deadlines, do not be afraid to discuss them with your instructors. More often than not, you will be able to find a solution to your academic problems by discussing things with your instructors. This may even remain true after the point where you fear it is too late or after you have already made matters worse.

Plagiarism is a form of cheating (ethical misconduct) that is performed by improperly citing others’ work without providing sufficient credits to the authors. Plagiarism also occurs when a student submits an assignment, a part of an assignment, or a creative work as their own when it was originally created by someone else. Using someone else’s written work as one’s own is not the only form of plagiarism. The other form, called self-plagiarism, occurs when a student recycles their own work. This occurs when a student submits their own work or parts of their own work to more than one class without the prior permission of the instructor. Plagiarism is one of the most common types of dishonest conduct that occurs in the campus community. To avoid plagiarism, it is important to always remember to paraphrase and give proper credits when the work is not one's own. 


Resources related to plagiarism

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