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Carnegie Mellon Department of Chemistry

Guide to Graduate Studies

Academic and Research Policies

Academic Integrity

The Department of Chemistry requires all graduate students to maintain the highest standards of academic integrity as described in Carnegie Mellon’s Policy on Academic Integrity. Graduate education and research require building upon the ideas and findings of others to create reliable new knowledge, so giving appropriate credit for other’s work is critical for any student or researcher. When done well, appropriate citations facilitate progress in science by directing readers to highly relevant, related work as described in the ACS Style Guide. If done poorly, a published work may contain plagiarized elements that would lead to retraction of the article, which in turn can negatively impact all coauthor’s reputations and careers. As a graduate student, you need to meet the university’s and the chemical profession’s standards and take on this professional responsibility.

Graduate students are expected to learn the university standards during Orientation (e.g. by reading the related university policies, participating in TA training), to be familiar with the standards in the ACS Style Guide, and to continue to ask questions of their instructors and advisors if they have doubts about how to handle a specific situation. The burden is on the student to ensure special care is taken to avoid even the suspicion of an infraction. Please review the University expectations of academic integrity and the Policy on Academic Integrity.

Departmental procedures.

Suspected violations of academic integrity by graduate students will be handled following the Academic Disciplinary Actions Overview for Graduate Students. Generally, the faculty member who discovers a suspected violation determines the penalty at the initial review and action level, in consultation with the GPC Co-Chairs and/or department head. The consultation should include:

  1. discussion of penalties under consideration,
  2. the nature of the suspected violations, and
  3. the nature of the evidence of those violations.

The department head has the option to appoint an ad hoc committee which will convene a departmental disciplinary hearing to hear from the involved parties, review the matter, and recommend to the department head a penalty where warranted. Upon the final decision, the student will be informed in writing immediately of the decision, the basis for this decision and (when applicable) the penalty imposed, along with information about their right to appeal. The letter outlining the decision will be directed to those indicated in the Academic Disciplinary Actions Overview for Graduate Students.


Below are examples of academic integrity infractions and potential penalties. The penalties listed are examples of the range, not a comprehensive list, and the severity of the penalties may vary depending on whether there are any mitigating factors in a specific situation:

Departmental appeals process.

A student may appeal an academic integrity penalty in writing to the department head within 7 (calendar) days of receiving a written decision and penalty for an academic integrity infraction. The department head may refer the matter to a small ad hoc committee for review or decide to review the evidence himself/herself, hear from the involved parties, and determine whether the penalty was appropriate or should be altered. Every effort will be made to resolve the appeal within 30 days, or as soon thereafter as is practical. Further appeals will be handled according to the Academic Disciplinary Actions Overview for Graduate Students