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Jurisdiction over Undergraduates for Violations of Academic Rules and Regulations

Jurisdiction over violations of academic rules and regulations rests with two distinct committees at Princeton. All written examinations, tests, and quizzes that take place in class are conducted under the honor system. All violations of the honor system are the concern of the Undergraduate Honor Committee. Violations of rules and regulations pertaining to all other academic work, including essays, term papers, and laboratory reports, fall under the jurisdiction of the Faculty/Student Committee on Discipline. Should there be any uncertainty regarding which body is responsible for the adjudication of a particular case, clarification should be requested from the Office of the Dean of Undergraduate Students and the chair of the Honor Committee.


Princeton's honor system was established by the undergraduates in 1893 and has been in effect without interruption since that time. It has been successful because generations of undergraduates have respected it, and by common agreement have given it highest place among their obligations as Princeton students.

Student obligation to the Honor Code

At Princeton all in-class written examinations, tests, and quizzes are conducted under the honor system. Its constitution is printed in full below.  A letter from the chair of the Honor Committee explaining the honor system is included in the online matriculation website. Newly admitted students signify by submitting the Honor Code statement that they understand and will abide by the conditions under which the honor system is conducted.  Final entrance to the University is contingent upon the committee's receipt of this submission. Status as a student "in good standing'' and graduation from the University are contingent upon continued participation in the honor system.

All students acknowledge the obligation to report any suspected violation of the honor system that they have observed. It is the common understanding among Princeton students that, where the honor system is concerned, an individual's obligation to the undergraduate student body as a whole transcends any reluctance to report another student. Thus, under the honor system, students have a twofold obligation: individually, they must not violate the code, and as a community, they are responsible to see that suspected violations are reported.

Examination procedures set by faculty

Procedures during the course of an examination are determined by the faculty member present. Students may not leave the examination room without the specific permission of the faculty member. Such permission must be granted uniformly; that is, if one student is allowed to leave the room, no other may be denied such permission upon request. Students may not take their examinations with them outside of the examination room. Students are advised to sit one seat apart from other students, to refrain from bringing notes and books into the examination room, and if possible, to avoid sitting near those with whom they have studied. Laptop computers as well as handheld electronic communication devices (e.g., cell phones, BlackBerry devices, etc.) are forbidden in final examination rooms.  Additionally, students may not wear headphones attached to audio devices during examinations. The faculty member, who is present only briefly to answer questions and to pick up the completed examinations, has the responsibility to make sure the examinations are turned in by students at the appropriate time.

Under the honor system, the students assume full responsibility for honesty in written examinations. Examinations are not supervised. The instructor in charge distributes the examination papers, waits for a short time for any questions, and then leaves the room, returning at the end of the stated period to collect the answer books. On each examination paper, the student writes out and signs the following statement: "I pledge my honor that I have not violated the Honor Code during this examination.''

Role of Honor Committee

The Honor Committee consists of one member of glass government from the sophomore, junior, and senior classes and undergraduates selected by application from the student body at large. Violations of the honor system are the concern of the Undergraduate Honor Committee. When a report of a suspected violation of the honor system is received, the Honor Committee immediately conducts an investigation. If the investigation indicates that it is warranted, a quorum of the Honor Committee is convened and a confidential hearing is held. If the student in question is acquitted, all records of the hearing are destroyed. If a student is found responsible, the committee recommends an appropriate penalty to the dean of undergraduate students. A student found responsible for violating the Honor Code can be given a reprimand, placed on disciplinary probation for a set period of time, or suspended from the University for one semester or one, two, or three years. A second offense can result in expulsion.  Censure may be added to all penalties to underscore the seriousness of the violation.