The UMBC community - faculty, administration, and students - are committed to creating an academic environment in which teaching, learning, and research are conducted according to the principles of academic integrity. Our website summarizes the many initiatives undertaken to assure this commitment. Both UMBC's President and Provost are resolved to have academic integrity be integral to our campus culture.
UMBC's general academic policies may be found on the Provost's website. Please review the list of policies so that you will be aware of their existence and web location.
Students arriving at UMBC to begin graduate study come from very different places and backgrounds. Some have had little undergraduate instruction on topics such as plagiarism and the proper citation of sources. Others have come from countries where norms of academic integrity are very different from those in the United States. Because of this, we have developed a tutorial that is required of all entering graduate students.
Academic Integrity is a very complex set of ethical policies and principles, and this tutorial provides only a basic, elementary overview. It is, in effect, "Academic Integrity 101." Each academic discipline has its own variations to the policies, definitions, and examples presented here. Students are encouraged to delve more deeply into the topics outlined in this tutorial by reading some of the references presented in the final chapter, Bibliography and Additional Reading. You are also encouraged to consult with faculty in your department for exceptions, modifications, and additional requirements demanded by your particular discipline.
If you need to report an instance of academic misconduct, speak to the appropriate faculty member. The university policy states that, "Each faculty member is responsible for maintaining academic integrity in his or her courses and has the authority to determine whether a student has engaged in academic misconduct." 1
Throughout your studies at UMBC, the faculty and staff are available to assist in assuring that you adhere to the concepts of academic integrity. Please contact the faculty and staff in your department and/or the Graduate School if you have questions or are unsure of how to adhere to these policies.
This web document will be continually updated and modified to better represent the wide range of topics and disciplines covered.
Taking the Tutorial
Each new degree-seeking graduate student entering UMBC is required to pass the test by September 15 (Fall) or February 15 (Spring). Failure to complete the tutorial and pass the test with a score of 80% or above will result in your registration being blocked for future terms.
You must be enrolled in the tutorial to gain access.
When you are ready to begin the tutorial:
- Login to Blackboard at blackboard.umbc.edu.
- After you login, click on Organizations. This should list the organizations and courses in which you participate.
- Click on the Graduate School Academic Integrity Tutorial tab and this screen should appear; Welcome to the Graduate School's tutorial on Academic Integrity! The column on the left has the tabs for each module.
- You should read the definitions, examples, and explanations within the various tutorial "chapters."
- When you are ready to be tested on your knowledge of this material, click the "click to launch" at the end of each module, and take the test. You may save and leave the tutorial as often as you wish, so that it need not be completed in one sitting. You will be able to see as you proceed through the material what your cumulative score is. Each of 20 questions has a score of 5, and a passing score is a total of 80 or higher; therefore, only a maximum of 4 of the 20 questions may be answered incorrectly.
- When you have completed the tutorial, make sure to click on the submit tab, so that your scores will be tabulated.
- You must have a score of 80% or above to successfully complete the tutorial.
If you are a continuing student or UMBC faculty, and do not have access to the tutorial on Blackboard, but wish to be enrolled, please send an e-mail request to Lisa Portis Morgan. Include your name and UMBC email address.
This tutorial was developed in 2003 for UMBC by Dr. Barbara E. Lovitts, a national authority on issues of higher education, who was at the time affiliated with the University of Maryland, College Park. Technical support was provided by Mr. Tom Armstrong, doctoral student in Computer Sciences in 2003-2006, and Mr. Robert Armstrong, UMBC Office of Information Technology. Ms. Elizabeth B. Douglass, UMBC's Director of Graduate Enrollment (1997-2006), edited the tutorial based on recommendations and test questions provided by numerous graduate faculty. UMBC gratefully acknowledges the materials on academic integrity obtained from the websites of the following universities: California State University at Los Angeles, Cornell University, Johns Hopkins University, Northwestern University, Princeton University, Purdue University, Rutgers University, Texas A&M University, University of Pennsylvania, University of Phoenix, University of Texas, University of Toronto.
1 UMBC, April 1995, Policy and Procedures for Student Academic Misconduct, http://www.umbc.edu/gradschool/docs/01append4.pdf, p. 257, (February 3, 2005).
Requirement for Master's Students, Doctoral Students and Postdoctoral Fellows The Office for Research Protections and Compliance (ORPC) at UMBC has stated that institutions receiving funding from the National Science Foundation (NSF) and National Institutes of Health (NIH) must have a set of established training requirements in Responsible Conduct of Research (RCR). For example, NSF expects UMBC to be able to verify that graduate and post-doctoral students receiving NSF funds, either in salary support or stipends to conduct research, receive RCR training. NIH requires the submission of an instructional plan addressing the responsible conduct of research for any NIH student training, career development award (individual or institutional), research education grant, and dissertation research grant. In either case, faculty mentors or advisers are encouraged to be familiar with the RCR training that their students and postdoctoral researchers have taken to enhance the discussion of RCR. In the interest of maintaining a documented code of ethics, professionalism, and research integrity, The Graduate School at UMBC and the Office of Postdoctoral Affairs will be extending the RCR training requirement according to one of the options below to all graduate students and postdoctoral fellows, in all disciplines.
For Post-Doctoral fellows, PhD students, and Master's Thesis students, documented training can take either of the following forms:
- Collaborative Institutional Training Initiative (CITI) web-based materials. RCR training can be completed using the CITI modules, which include comprehensive web-based course materials, a series of short content exams, and a completion certificate. Detailed instructions are available on the ORPC website: It is highly recommended that departments supplement these modules with in-person discussions that address the nuances within the disciplines.
- A training course that is related to responsible research. The course may be offered by the academic department, or other entity, so long as the training culminates with an acknowledgement of completion. The completion of training may result in either a designation on the transcript or by written acknowledgment of the training filed with the Graduate School. This alternative training must also be documented within the department and accessible for review by ORPC. Each department can recommend or require that students take the training earlier, but the Graduate School will conduct a compliance check at the candidacy stage for doctoral students and prior to the thesis submission for Master's students. The Graduate School has added an "RCR certification checkbox" to the "Application for Admission to Candidacy for the Degree of Doctor of Philosophy" form for doctoral students. For Master's students, compliance will be documented when the Master's thesis committee nomination form is completed and submitted to the Graduate School. Optional training for Master's students who are not completing a thesis:
- Training that is related to responsible professional conduct and ethics. Master's students who are not completing a thesis may be required by their respective department/program to provide proof of training in the area of professional conduct, ethics, or related area depending of the student's course of study. In many cases, a course in Professional Ethics is an appropriate substitute for this requirement. For those master's students who do not have access to an actual course (which will be designated on the transcript), an acknowledgement of completion should be filed with the department/program. An electronic copy of the certification of completion is sufficient for tracking purposes. Other Compliance Training Other compliance training for research activities involving animals, human subjects, biohazardous materials use or situations involving conflicts of interest or export controlled items are required by regulations specific to the research activity. This training is separate from RCR training. Information on compliance training at UMBC can be found here: http://research.umbc.edu/education-training/
View Policy Here Student Academic Misconduct
View Policy Here Procedural Guidelines for Handling of Allegations of Arbitrary and Capricious Grading
View Policy Here Graduate Student Mediation
View Policy Here Appeal of Academic Dismissal