The culture of the U.S. places a strong focus on individualism, meaning that Americans value independent scholarship and original thought. Therefore, we have a conception of the "ownership" of academic thoughts that is very different from other cultures. In U.S. academic writing, it must be clear with whom an idea originated. References to other people’s work require citations within the assignment and on a reference sheet. No matter how small or casual the assignment, submitting written work that is not properly cited or is directly copied from another source is a violation of academic integrity and is referred to as plagiarism in the United States. Each instructor has different expectations regarding citations, so students should make sure to understand the expectations of their individual instructors.

Academic Culture in the U.S.

Learning about academic integrity

Snell Library provides information on proper resources and citations, and the librarians are available by email, online chat, text and in person to help with any further questions. Global Student Success also has tutors who can provide guidance on how to use citations property in written work. Professors and teaching assistants also welcome students asking questions. Wherever you turn for guidance, ensure that you are confident with the state of your work before submitting drafts or final versions.

Plagiarism and its consequences

Having someone else write your papers or take your exams, giving or receiving answers during an exam, and/or submitting someone else’s work as your own is unacceptable according to Northeastern’s academic integrity policy. Using English language translation services to edit your work is also dishonest since your language proficiency is a requirement of your studies.

Infractions of the standards of academic integrity, no matter how minor, carry serious consequences ranging from a failing grade on a paper or exam to suspension or expulsion from the university. Northeastern University’s Office of Student Conduct and Conflict Resolution (OSCCR) publishes the university’s academic integrity policy and presents examples of plagiarism and cheating. It is your responsibility to familiarize yourself with this policy.

If you have questions about Academic Integrity at Northeastern, please consult with your instructors, academic advisors, administrators within your college, the Snell Librarians, tutors at Global Student Success, or staff in the Office of Student Conduct and Conflict Resolution.