Graduate Student Handbook

Student Code of Ethics

School of Engineering and Applied Science
University of Pennsylvania September, 2001 (Effective as of 1/02)


The mission of the Engineering School's (SEAS) Code of Ethics ("Code") is to promote the growth of ethically responsible students and future professionals in engineering and other fields through adherence to the highest standards of academic integrity and overall ethical conduct, to develop a sense of individual responsibility on the part of each member of the SEAS community to participate actively in maintaining such standards, to foster an environment of honor and trust within the SEAS community, and to engender respect for the ethical standards of the engineering graduate. Fulfilling this mission is a collective responsibility of the members of the SEAS community. Striving for adherence to high standards of ethics will enhance the quality of the SEAS experience, will enrich the image of SEAS and strengthen the equity associated with the SEAS degree, and will reinforce the societal norms of moral responsibility.

While representing himself or herself as a member of the SEAS community, the SEAS student will maintain the highest standards of honesty and integrity. The student will strive for these standards in his or her representations, academic pursuits, and respect for the property and individual rights of others; will uphold the specific principles described in the Code; and will actively support the Code. Standing in the SEAS community will be subject to adherence to these basic principles of ethics.

In addition to this Code, all students are expected to know fully the University's Code of Conduct and Code of Academic Integrity. Likewise, the SEAS student is expected to read and understand the following professional codes of ethics:

The Code will be administered and maintained by the SEAS Office of Academic Programs, in consultation with the SEAS Undergraduate and Graduate Affairs Committees, and in close collaboration with the University's Office of Student Conduct. If a student fails to adhere to the Code, the student may be referred to the University's Office of Student Conduct for adjudication.

Specific Standards

A. Representations

The SEAS student is expected to represent himself or herself honestly in all oral or written statements. The student will not knowingly misrepresent any material fact to other students, faculty, staff, prospective employer, or anyone else while representing himself or herself as a member of the SEAS community, especially through, but not limited to:

  1. Lying to prospective employers, either directly through oral or written statements or indirectly through misrepresentation of background in resume;
  2. Misrepresenting any material fact on a SEAS application, financial aid form, or other official document;
  3. Lying to a fellow student, a faculty member, or an administrator in order to gain preferential treatment.

B. Academic Pursuits

The SEAS student is expected to represent his or her academic product honestly and fairly. The student will not knowingly use any dishonest method to gain an unfair advantage over other students in academic pursuits, especially through, but not limited to:

  1. Giving or receiving any unauthorized aid on an assignment or exam, including working in groups on any assignment that has been designated as individual by the professor;
  2. Misrepresenting the originality of one's work (plagiarism), particularly through failing to footnote the contributions of another, except as permitted by the instructor;
  3. Continuing to write after time has been called on an exam; or
  4. Submitting substantially the same work for credit in more than one class, except with prior approval of the instructor.

C. Property

The SEAS student is expected to respect the materials, data, and property of other members of the SEAS community. The student will not misuse or misappropriate the materials, data, or other property of another, especially through, but not limited to:

  1. Accessing, removing, or destroying any information, materials, or other property from another student's or student organization's premises, locker, computer files, or mail folder without prior permission;
  2. Accessing or removing without prior permission, or hiding or destroying any corporate records, files, job postings, or academic materials from the library, the career planning office, or any other administrative office;
  3. Divulging proprietary or confidentially-provided information obtained for class assignments; or
  4. Utilizing for commercial gain any material, systems, websites, or software provided to or by SEAS specifically and restrictively for educational purposes without prior permission of the provider.

D. Individual Rights

The SEAS student is expected to respect the individual rights of others. Specifically, SEAS students will observe the University of Pennsylvania policies against harassment and discrimination. Any complaint of a violation of these policies brought to the attention of the Office of Academic Programs will be referred to the appropriate body of original jurisdiction within the University.

Grievance Procedures Guidelines
In general, a Graduate student with a grievance should first discuss the matter with the immediate supervisor of the individual involved. In case of conflicts of interest, then the next non-conflicted level should be engaged. For academic matters the normal hierarchy is (as applicable):    

a) relevant course teaching assistant;
b) relevant course faculty instructor;    
c) Graduate Program Director;    
d) Graduate Group Chair;    
e) Department Chair;    
f) Associate Dean;   
g) Ombudsman.  

At any point the student may wish to circumvent steps a-f and contact the Ombudsman.

If a graduate student has a grievance concerning a non-academic matter, the suggested procedural steps should be discussion with (as applicable):

a) Graduate Program Director;    
b) Graduate Group Chair;    
c) Department Chair;    
d) Associate Dean;   
e) Ombudsman.   

At any point the student may wish to circumvent steps a-d and contact the Ombudsman.

Information about University grievance procedures policy can be found here.