Academic policies and procedures

Academic integrity

The Faculty of Science endorses the University of Waterloo’s commitment to the six basic values of academic integrity: honesty, trust, fairness, respect, responsibility and courage.

Students are responsible for knowing, understanding and following University policies. Students are expected to read and understand each course outline to know what is allowed, what constitutes excessive collaboration, what requires citing of sources, what aids are permitted, and what constitutes misconduct.

Students should ask for help if they are unsure what might constitute an academic offence.

Policy 71- Student Discipline

This Policy provides a broad list of academic and non-academic offences. It outlines:

  • student behaviour required to avoid misconduct;
  • responsibilities for reporting misconduct;
  • penalties associated with specific misconduct;
  • factors considered when imposing penalties for misconduct;
  • informal and formal procedures for reporting and investigating misconduct;  
  • steps for appealing formal penalty decisions

Informal procedure

Academic offences are eligible for informal resolution; non-academic offences are not eligible. An instructor can resolve an academic issue informally with a student if both the instructor and student agree that an offence has occurred, if both agree to the penalty imposed by the instructor, and the student’s associate dean approves the proposed resolution.

Formal procedure

Formal investigations are carried out and/or required when the student has a prior record of a Policy 71 offence, the Associate Dean, Undergraduate Studies has not accepted an informal resolution and/or an instructor refers a suspected academic integrity to the Associate Dean, Undergraduate Studies.

Responsibilities

Students are responsible for knowing, understanding and following University policies. Students are expected to read and understand each course syllabus to know what is allowed, what constitutes excessive collaboration, what requires citing of sources, what aids are permitted, and what constitutes misconduct.

Students should ask for help if they are unsure what might constitute an academic offence.

Verification of illness/Significant extenuating circumstance

If you miss a test/lab/assignment due to an illness or significant extenuating circumstance, please consult the accommodation for illness or extenuating circumstances webpage for the next steps.

Grievances and petitions

Petitions are appropriate when you are seeking exception from faculty or university regulations or policies that you accept have been fairly applied.  Petition decisions cannot be appealed.  More information about petitions can be found in the ‘Petition’ section of Policy 70 (Student Petitions and Grievances) and the Science Petitions webpage.

Grievances are appropriate when you believe that you have been negatively affected by an unfair and/or unreasonable academic decision.  The grievance process must begin informally with the person making the decision (e.g., instructor); a formal grievance is pursued only when the informal process does not result in a mutually acceptable solution. In the subsequent formal stage, you will need to submit a completed Notice of Challenge (Form 70B) or Notice of Reassessment Challenge (Form 70C), depending on the nature of your grievance. The 70B challenge is submitted to your associate dean (undergraduate studies) while the 70C challenge is submitted to the chair/director of the department/school hosting the challenged course.  The processes for these different types of grievances are described further in the ‘Grievance’ section of Policy 70 (Student Petitions and Grievances). Grievance decisions can be appealed.

Appeals

The appeal process is intended to be used in the event that you believe a decision made as part of the Policy 70 - Student Petitions and Grievances, Policy 33 – Ethical Behaviour or Policy 71 – Student Discipline is unfair in some way. More information on how a formal appeal can be made is found under Policy 72 - Student Appeals.