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Academic Integrity

Social Work Code of Ethics

In professional programs such as social work professional behaviour and scholastic performance comprise academic standards. All schools of social work in Canada are expected to have policies requiring student compliance with the social work code of ethics. Students are advised in their letter of admission that they are expected to adhere to the Code of Ethics, both in the Faculty and in the field practicum.

Learn more about the Code of Ethics and the Guidelines for Ethical Practice.

Standards of Professional Practice for All Health Professional Students

Please see the University of Toronto Governing Council document.


University of Toronto Governing Council Code of Student Conduct

Please reference the University of Toronto Governing Council Code of Student Conduct document.

Please reference the Student’s Companion to the Code of Student Conduct document.


Code of Behaviour in Academic Matters

In order to protect the integrity of the teaching, learning, and evaluation processes of the University, the Code of Behaviour on Academic Matters is concerned with offences which faculty members and students may intentionally commit. See the School of Graduate Studies (SGS) web site for Academic Integrity Resources.


Plagiarism and Cheating

Students in graduate studies are expected to commit to the highest standards of integrity, and to understand the importance of protecting and acknowledging intellectual property. It is assumed that they bring to their graduate studies a clear understanding of how to cite references appropriately, thereby avoiding plagiarism. The student’s thinking must be understood as distinct from the sources upon which the student is referring. An excellent document entitled How Not to Plagiarize  is available for reference.

The University of Toronto’s understanding of plagiarism is found in the Code of Behaviour on Academic Matters (“the Code”) and includes the following statements:

It shall be an offence for a student knowingly:

(d) to represent as one’s own idea or expression of an idea or work of another in any academic examination or term test or in connection with any other form of academic work, i.e., to commit plagiarism.

Wherever in the Code an offence is described as depending on “knowing”, the offence shall likewise be deemed to have been committed if the person ought reasonably to have known.

Other academic offences include the possession and/or use of unauthorized aids in examinations, submitting the same paper for different courses, to name only a few of the most obvious violations. Please refer to the Code for detailed descriptions of offences and procedures.

Plagiarism is the taking and using as one’s own ideas, or the expression of the ideas, of another and not attributing these to their proper source. Other serious offenses under this heading include: submitting the same paper to meet the requirements for two courses without the express permission of both instructors to write a special combined paper: submitting work done by another person, etc.


Other Offences:

to submit for credit any academic work containing a purported statement of fact or reference to a source which has been concocted;

to forge or in any other way falsify any academic record of the University, or to forge or in any other way falsify an academic record of another educational institution used for the purposes of the University of Toronto, or to utter or make use of any such forged or falsified records;

to remove books or other library material from a University library without proper authorization, to willfully mutilate library material or misplace it, or in any other way willfully to deprive other members of the University of the opportunity to have access to library resources.



The following sanctions contained in the Code illustrate the penalties which may be imposed on students upon admission of or conviction of an offense. Reprimand; assignment of a mark of zero in academic work submitted for credit; withdrawal of privileges to use facilities; restitution for damages; suspension or expulsion from the University.



Reference should be made to the Code for full details in the SGS Calendar. Possible infractions in these areas are referred directly to the Dean of SGS.


Ethical Conduct in Research

The University expects of its members (which include faculty, students and anyone holding a post or office that gives university status) the highest standards of ethical conduct in every aspect of research from the proposal stage to publication.

The term “research” is broadly defined and is intended to include both scientific and non-scientific research and research whether grant-supported or not.

It is neither possible nor desirable to foresee or to define what constitutes ethical conduct in all circumstances.

This policy leaves many such matters untouched: it does not, for example apply to the question of whether a certain line of research is itself ethical.

The University considers that the highest ethical standards in research entail (although not exclusively): the accurate presentation and interpretation of data and other factual information; due acknowledgment to another’s work; the maintenance of confidentiality and appropriate use of information in accordance with scholarly practice; the appropriate use and allocation of money or other resources supplied for research purposes. Proper ethical procedures are encouraged by increasing awareness of ethical issues and by administrative measures and guidelines. The object of guidelines, in conformity with the policies and procedures of the University, is to create an atmosphere that encourages ethical conduct, without interfering with freedom of inquiry, and without causing unnecessary administrative burdens.


Fostering a Learning Environment

How do we cultivate an environment of learning? An environment that is conducive to learning must support respectful expression of ideas and opinions without threat to physical, emotional or psychological well being. It is important that both students and instructors enter the classroom with an awareness of their mutual responsibility for contributing to the learning experience of everyone there. If the classroom is to be a space for learning, sharing and development of ideas and perspectives, it cannot reinforce systems of bias and domination. This faculty will not tolerate discrimination or harassment on the basis of race, gender, age, sexual orientation, disabilities/special needs, marital or family status, creed, colour, ethnic origin or other identity differences. No student or instructor should be made to feel threatened, or marginalized, within class participation. Both instructors and students are expected to conduct themselves in a manner that demonstrates commitment to maintaining a classroom environment that is conducive to learning.

Our expectations for respectful engagement with differences among students/instructors, extends to an expectation of respectful engagement with different opinions and perspectives. We have a social and professional responsibility to treat one another with respect. We must respect others’ views even if we do not agree with their viewpoints. It must be recognized that having core values challenged, even respectfully, may be an unsettling experience, but risk-taking is an inevitable and essential aspect of learning. Therefore, we must challenge the ideas people present, rather than the person who presents the ideas. Mutual respect and consideration for each other and our ideas is essential to fostering a learning environment. We must all take responsibility for ensuring that respect for one another exists within the Faculty of Social Work.

Guidelines for Cultivating a Positive Learning Environment

At the beginning of each course, the class should address issues related to developing a positive learning environment, including a review of these guidelines with all students to determine whether these are acceptable or should be modified for the particular class.

  • Students will not be judged on the basis of their personal beliefs and valued orientations.
  • Evaluation of class participation will be based on contribution, general involvement and/or attendance.
  • The power differential between instructor and student should be recognized, including an acknowledgement that the instructor may be challenged and questioned.
  • It is expected that everyone will be accepting of differing perspectives and view the discussions as a learning experience.
  • Language is a significant issue. The use of words, phrases could be explored including their meaning to persons within the class.
  • The class should explore particular cultural or diversity groups without stereotyping group members. It should also explore how members of the class who reflect various diversities can participate without becoming spokespersons for these diversities.
  • Instructors should check in on a regular basis with the class regarding the learning environment.