Student Conduct

Medical students must behave with paramount concern for patients' welfare and respect for the rights of patients.  In addition, they must adhere to the highest standards of intellectual integrity and honesty in their interactions with patients, colleagues, faculty and administrators.  Students are expected to adhere to the standards set forth in the Codes of Student Conduct, Academic Integrity and Professional Conduct and the Perelman School of Medicine Honor Code.

Code of Student Conduct

Accepting membership into the University of Pennsylvania community as a student entails an obligation to promote its welfare by assuming the rights and responsibilities listed below. Each individual member of this community is responsible for his or her own actions and is expected to respect the rights of others.

Rights of Student Citizenship

Membership in the University of Pennsylvania community affords every student certain rights that are essential to the University's educational mission and its character as a community:

(a) The right to have access to and participate in the academic and non-academic opportunities afforded by the University, subject to applicable standards or requirements.

(b) The right to freedom of thought and expression.

(c) The right to be free from discrimination on the basis of race, color, gender, sexual orientation, religion, national or ethnic origin, age, disability, or status as a disabled or Vietnam Era veteran.

(d) The right to fair University judicial process in the determination of accountability for conduct.

Responsibilities of Student Citizenship

Students are expected to exhibit responsible behavior regardless of time or place. Failure to do so may result in disciplinary action by the University. Responsible behavior is a standard of conduct which reflects higher expectations than may be prevalent outside the University community. Responsible behavior includes but is not limited to the following obligations:

  • To respect the health and safety of others. This precludes acts or threats of physical violence against another person (including sexual violence) and disorderly conduct. This also precludes the possession of dangerous articles (such as firearms, explosive materials, etc.) on University property or at University events without University authorization.
  • To respect the right of fellow students to participate in university organizations and in relationships with other students without fear, threat, or act of hazing.
  • To refrain from conduct towards other students that infringes upon the Rights of Student Citizenship. The University condemns hate speech, epithets, and racial, ethnic, sexual and religious slurs. However, the content of student speech or expression is not by itself a basis for disciplinary action. Student speech may be subject to discipline when it violates applicable laws or University regulations or policies.
  • To refrain from stealing, damaging, defacing, or misusing the property or facilities of the University or of others. This also precludes the disruption of University computing services or interference with the rights of others to use computer resources.
  • To be honest and truthful in dealings with the University, about one's own identity (e.g., name or Social Security number), and in the use of University and other identification.
  • To cooperate fully and honestly in the Student Judicial System of the University, including the obligation to comply with all judicial sanctions.
  • To comply with all contracts made with the University, such as Residential Living Occupancy Agreements and Dining Services contracts.
  • To comply with policies and regulations of the University and its departments (e.g., the University's Guidelines on Open Expression, Anti-Hazing Regulations, Drug and Alcohol Policies, Sexual Harassment Policy, etc.).
  • To comply with federal, state and local laws.

Code of Academic Integrity

Since the most fundamental value of any academic community is intellectual honesty, all academic communities rely upon the integrity of each and every member.  Students are responsible not only for adhering to the highest standards of truth and honesty, but also for upholding the principles and spirit of the following code.

Activities that have the effect or intention of interfering with education, pursuit of knowledge, or fair evaluation of a student’s performance are prohibited. Examples of such activities include but are not limited to the following definitions:

  • Cheating: using or attempting to use unauthorized assistance, material, or study aids in examinations or other academic work or preventing, or attempting to prevent, another from using authorized assistance, material, or study aids. Example: using a cheat sheet in a quiz or exam, altering a graded exam and resubmitting it for a better grade, etc.
  • Plagiarism: using the ideas, data, or language of another without specific or proper acknowledgment. Example: copying another person’s paper, article, or computer work and submitting it for an assignment, cloning someone else’s ideas without attribution, failing to use quotation marks where appropriate, etc.
  • Fabrication: submitting contrived or altered information in any academic exercise. Example: making up data for an experiment, fudging data, citing nonexistent articles, contriving sources, etc.
  • Multiple submissions: submitting, without prior permission, any work submitted to fulfill another academic requirement.
  • Misrepresentation of academic records: misrepresenting or tampering with or attempting to tamper with any portion of a student’s transcripts or academic record, either before or after coming to the University of Pennsylvania. Example: forging a change of grade slip, tampering with computer records, falsifying academic information on one’s resume, etc.
  • Facilitating academic dishonesty: knowingly helping or attempting to help another violate any provision of the Code. Example: working together on a take-home exam, etc.
  • Unfair advantage: attempting to gain unauthorized advantage over fellow students in an academic exercise. Example: gaining or providing unauthorized access to examination materials, obstructing or interfering with another student’s efforts in an academic exercise, lying about a need for an extension for an exam or paper, continuing to write even when time is up during an exam, destroying or keeping library materials for one’s own use., etc.

* If a student is unsure whether his action(s) constitute a violation of the Code of Academic Integrity, then it is that student’s responsibility to consult with the instructor to clarify any ambiguities.

Perelman School of Medicine Honor Code

All students who matriculate in the Perelman School of Medicine are required to sign and abide by the following Honor Code.

Academic Honor Code for the University of Pennsylvania Perelman School of Medicine*

I will conduct myself in the highest standards of honesty and integrity in the classroom and in my clinical work as defined below:

I will neither give nor receive aid in examinations or assignments unless expressly permitted by the instructor.

I will report accurately all data regarding history and physical findings, laboratory results, and other information relevant to patient care.

Any research I conduct will be done in an unbiased manner, with results reported truthfully and with credit given for ideas developed and work done by others.

I will not engage in any forms of plagiarism in any manuscript, presentation, or course paper. I understand that plagiarism involves using the exact language of someone else without the use of quotation marks and without giving proper credit to the author, presenting the sequence of ideas or arranging the material of someone else, even though such is expressed in my own words, without giving appropriate acknowledgement, or submitting a document written by someone else but representing it as my own.

I understand that I may be brought before the Student Standards Committee if I violate this honor code.




*Derived from a number of sources including the University of California- San Francisco School of Medicine and Purdue University.

Code of Professional Conduct

The Student Standards Committee (the Committee) has developed policies and procedures which address professional conduct.  Professional conduct includes but is not limited to:

  • Adherence to appropriate standards of behavior (demeanor, use of language,  appearance and timely response) with patients students,  faculty, colleagues, staff and all individuals encountered during a student’s tenure at the University of Pennsylvania Perelman School of Medicine
  • Adherence to appropriate standards of confidentiality with respect to information about patients
  • Treatment of patients and their families with dignity and respect both in their presence and in discussions with other members of the health care team
  • Honesty in interactions with clinical and research colleagues and in record keeping
  • Respect for the limits of responsibility and activity set forth by supervisors
  • Adherence to all hospital policies related to drug and alcohol use and abuse