Student Honor Code and Professional Guidelines

As part of the preparation of students for careers in public health, the Columbia Mailman School of Public Health promotes the highest academic and professional standards. To clarify the school’s expectation of professional and ethical conduct, including honesty, accuracy, and integrity in academic and professional activities, the administration, faculty, and students have adopted the following Honor Code and Professional Guidelines to complement University policy. It is the responsibility of all members of the Columbia Public Health (CPH) community to maintain a conducive learning environment and to encourage academic integrity and to deter, confront, and report all acts of academic dishonesty. As representatives of Columbia University, the Columbia Mailman School, and the public health profession, students will review and agree to the following pledge.

“I will demonstrate good judgment, responsibility, sensitivity, and compassion; qualities that are fundamental characteristics of ethical and professional public health practitioners and researchers.”

“I will interact with members of the Mailman School community in a manner which is appropriate, professional, and ethical.”

“I will conduct myself with honesty, integrity, fairness, and respect for others; contributing to a community capable of the free exchange of ideas and where excellence in public health can be fostered.” 

“I will fully participate in the academic life of the school by understanding degree and course requirements and putting forth my best efforts in completing all assignments and exams according to the guidelines and procedures established by faculty, instructors, and teaching assistants.”

“I will dedicate adequate time to my studies by effectively managing conflicts between my academic responsibilities and other commitments. I will communicate responsibly with faculty, administrative staff, and the Office of Student Affairs about matters that affect my ability to participate as expected in my classes and other school activities.”

“I will recognize the diversity of CPH and understand that professional and civil conduct is expected to guide interactions between all constituents of the school: including employees, students, faculty, administrative staff, and student staff. CPH students are ambassadors for the school and should behave accordingly in professional and academic settings.”

“I will undertake my academic work with honesty and integrity. I will submit original work and will properly attribute any ideas that are not my own according to established academic procedures. If I am unsure about what constitutes proper academic procedure in a particular instance, it is my responsibility to consult with a professor or appropriate staff member. I will not give or receive unauthorized aid on any assignment or exam. I will not cheat or plagiarize or condone such conduct in others in any academic or professional undertaking while enrolled at CPH.”

“I understand that cheating comprises the giving or receiving of unauthorized and/or unfair aid in academic work. This may include, but is not limited to: lying, deceiving, stealing, talking, signaling, copying from other students, and unauthorized usage of books, data (both in hard copy and electronic formats), study aids, or other sources in a manner inconsistent with the expectations established by CPH and my classroom instructors. I understand that cheating also includes falsifying data in support of laboratory, field placement, thesis, or capstone work.”

“I understand that plagiarism includes but is not limited to:

  • Submitting written work of any kind (e.g., reports, essays, exercises, papers), or portions of such written work that is not my own, but rather the written work of another author;
  • Failing to acknowledge, through proper footnotes and bibliographic entries, the source of ideas not my own;
  • Failing to indicate through proper use of quotations and footnotes whenever my work includes paraphrases of ideas or verbatim expressions not my own;
  • Submitting written work prepared for one course to meet the requirements of a second course without having received in writing prior permission from both instructors;
  • Collaborating with other students or outside sources on an assignment or examination without specific permission from the faculty member to do so;
  • Using another person’s or institution’s research or data without attribution.”

“If graded together with other students in study groups, I pledge to contribute to my fullest capacity. I will not seek unauthorized help outside my study group, unless specifically authorized by the faculty member.”

As a professional community of faculty, staff, and students conducting research in the public health arena, we at CPH must be mindful of the need for accuracy and consistency in citing the sources of our research findings. CPH’s reputation and yours are one and the same, and we must all work together to ensure the integrity of academic work conducted here.

In addition, many CPH students come from universities and academic systems with different practices and traditions in regard to citing sources. It is therefore imperative that we all share a common understanding of prevailing standards and practices at U.S. institutions of higher learning.

In order to provide you with ample information for ascertaining the proper style of attribution in presenting your research, we have compiled a few resources that we think will be very helpful to you. You should make a point of consulting them before your first assignment, as inaccuracy and imprecision in citing resources can lead to the charge of plagiarism, a violation of the Honor Code and Professional Guidelines and University policy, when proven, may result in dismissal from Columbia University. Please take the time to review these useful programs and important resources.

Students must agree to the Honor Code and Professional Guidelines and acknowledge that they are responsible for reading and understanding the materials listed above, in addition to other applicable University policies for students. If a student is uncertain of the academic procedures for documenting and citing sources, they must consult these resources and seek assistance from faculty or Office of Student Affairs staff in making sure academic work conforms to these standards.