Student Responsibilities

All students, including those in study abroad programs, are responsible for knowing and adhering to Harvard Summer School policies and procedures outlined on this website and in the 2015 Student Handbook (available online in June).

Failure to read this information, negligence, personal factors, or contradictory information from any sources are not acceptable grounds for seeking exemption from these policies and procedures. Call Academic Services at (617) 495-0977 with questions.

On this page:

Administrative Board

The Summer School Administrative Board reviews cases involving students who are alleged to have violated Summer School policies. Cases may include breaches of academic integrity, misuse of computer facilities, submission of fraudulent information, and poor or inappropriate conduct, as well as cases of students who are inadequately prepared for their courses, neglect coursework, disrupt course progress, fail to attend or participate as a distance student, or behave irresponsibly and recklessly while on University property.

The decision of the Administrative Board will supersede any registration changes a student with pending disciplinary or administrative proceedings may make, including a course withdrawal. The student’s permanent record will be updated to reflect the board’s decision.

The Administrative Board may, after considering the seriousness of a case, take any action it deems appropriate including required withdrawal from a course or courses, from on-campus housing, or from Harvard Summer School. The cases of students who are formally sanctioned by the Administrative Board may be referred to the Extension School Administrative Board for further review and action.

Attendance, participation, and exclusion from a course

If you are registered in a course for undergraduate or graduate credit, you must attend all classes or participate online as a distance student, take all exams, and complete all coursework on time. If you are enrolled in EXPO S-C or GMAT S-1, you are also expected to attend all classes and complete all coursework. You may not use recording devices in courses without the instructor’s approval.

If you are registered or waitlisted for a course and you miss the first class meetings, you risk losing your place in the course or on the waitlist. If you are enrolled in courses as a distance student, you also are expected to begin viewing lectures and participating online when classes begin. The Summer School may prohibit or cancel registration if you do not attend all class meetings or participate via distance during the first week of classes. Late work may be submitted only with instructor approval and according to instructor policies. Registering late does not warrant an exception to this policy.

Exclusion from a course

If you are consistently not prepared for class, fail to attend class or participate online, grossly neglect coursework, lack the necessary level of English proficiency to be successful in the course, or do not have course prerequisites and your continued enrollment is disruptive to the progress of instruction, you may, after written warning by the instructor, be excluded from the course.

If it is before the withdrawal deadline, you may voluntarily withdraw from the course for a WD or WN grade as an alternative to exclusion. But you may no longer attend or participate.

If you are excluded from a course, you may no longer participate in any way, including attending classes, participating online, taking exams, and submitting work. You are assigned the permanent notation EXD (excluded from course), which is equivalent to a failing grade and earns no credit for the course. You are not eligible for a tuition refund for courses for which you are assigned an EXD notation.

Academic integrity

Harvard Summer School expects you to understand and maintain high standards of academic integrity. Breaches of academic integrity are subject to review and disciplinary action by the Administrative Board. Examples include the following:


Plagiarism is the theft of someone else’s ideas and work. It is the incorporation of facts, ideas, or specific language that are not common knowledge, are taken from another source, and are not properly cited.

Whether you copy verbatim or simply rephrase the ideas of another without properly acknowledging the source, the theft is the same. A computer program written as part of your academic work is, like a paper, expected to be your original work and subject to the same standards of representation. In the preparation of work submitted to meet course, program, or school requirements—whether a draft or a final version of a paper, project, take-home exam, computer program, placement exams, application essay, oral presentation, or other work—you must take great care to distinguish your own ideas and language from information derived from sources. Sources include published and unpublished primary and secondary materials, the Internet, and information and opinions of other people.

You are expected to follow the standards of proper citation and to avoid plagiarism. Please consult the Harvard Guide to Using Sources, prepared by the Harvard College Writing Program, for a helpful introduction to all matters related to source use: identifying and evaluating secondary sources, incorporating them into your work, documenting them correctly, and avoiding plagiarism. We also recommend that you complete our online tutorials “Using Sources, Five Scenarios” and “Using Sources, Five Examples” before you submit any written work this summer. These tutorials take 15 minutes each to complete, and they will help you learn what you don’t know about using sources responsibly.

In cases of suspected plagiarism, student papers may be submitted to a private contracted service that reviews content for originality. Results from this review may be used to inform the Dean of Students Office in its inquiry. Papers submitted to this service are retained by that company and become part of their database of materials used in future searches. No personal identifying information is submitted or retained by the service.

Inappropriate collaboration and other assistance

Collaboration on assignments is prohibited unless explicitly permitted by the instructor. When collaboration is permitted, students must acknowledge all collaboration and its extent in all submitted coursework. Collaboration includes the use of professional or expert editing or writing services, as well as statistical, coding, or other outside assistance. Because it is assumed that work submitted in a course is the student’s own unless otherwise permitted, students should be very clear about how they are working with others and what types of assistance, if any, they are receiving. In cases where assistance is approved, the student is expected to specify, upon submission of the assignment, the type and extent of assistance that was received and from whom. The goal of this oversight is to preserve the status of the work as the student’s own intellectual product. Students should remember that the Writing Center is available to assist them with assessing and editing their own work. This assistance has been sanctioned by Harvard Summer School.


You may not copy another student’s assignment, computer program or parts of a program, or exam. To avoid any suggestions of improper behavior during an exam, you should not communicate with other students during the exam. Neither should you refer to any books, papers, or use electronic devices during the exam without the permission of the instructor or proctor. All electronic devices must be turned off during an exam.

Duplicate assignments

You are expected to submit work that is done solely for each course in which you enroll. Prior written permission of all instructors is required if you wish to submit the same or similar work in more than one course.

Scientific research

You are expected to record honestly and accurately the results of your research. Falsification of research results includes misrepresentations, distortions, or serious omissions in data or reports on research, and it is considered a serious violation of academic honesty. Plagiarism or falsification of research results ordinarily results in your withdrawal from the Summer School.

The University deeply values the integrity of science with sound and safe research practices by students and faculty. Individually and collectively, student and faculty researchers are expected to safeguard and maintain the University’s policies and practices with respect to scientific misconduct. All researchers are reminded that sponsoring agencies also have such concerns, and that the University must inform the sponsors of any serious transgressions of their policies, as well as of any investigations related to sponsored research. Sponsors may take action independent of the University.

Computer and network use

Information stored on a computer system or sent electronically over a network is the private property of the individual who created it. Examination, collection, or dissemination of that information without authorization from the owner is a violation of the owner’s right to control his or her property. Computers and networks provide mechanisms for protecting private information; attempts to circumvent these mechanisms to gain unauthorized access to private information are treated as violations of privacy.

You are eligible for Harvard computer accounts for primarily educational use. When you use University computer facilities and the campus-wide communication network, you assume responsibility for their appropriate use. Computer accounts are considered to have tangible value. Attempts to circumvent the accounting system, to use the accounts of others without authorization, or to use accounts for anything other than their intended purposes are all forms of attempted theft. You should not disclose account passwords or otherwise make the account available to others. Use of Harvard’s computers and networks for commercial purposes without authorization is prohibited.

Do not interfere with the functioning of a computer, or disrupt or distract others using a computer. Use of an e-mail system to send fraudulent, annoying, or obscene messages is prohibited. Similarly, messages must not misrepresent the identity of the sender, be sent as chain letters, or broadcast indiscriminately to large numbers of people.

Harvard Summer School expects you to abide by Harvard University’s rules and responsibilities for the appropriate use of computers and networks. These rules and responsibilities may be viewed online on the Harvard University Information Technology website.

Certain computer misconduct is prohibited under Massachusetts law and is, therefore, subject to criminal penalties. Such misconduct includes knowingly gaining unauthorized access to a computer system or database, falsely obtaining electronic services or data without payment of required charges, and destroying electronically processed, stored, or in-transit data.

Library use

You may make use of most campus facilities and electronic resources that are part of the Harvard libraries. To preserve the collections and to ensure ongoing access to them, you should respect the rules and regulations for use of library materials and property and assist in the protection of library materials. You have a responsibility to safeguard the integrity of library resources; respect the restrictions on access to and the use of those resources; report the theft, destruction, or misuse of library resources by others; respect the rights of others to the quiet use of the library; and respect the authority of the librarians and staff.

The following is prohibited: the exploitation of library resources or materials for commercial purposes; printing or downloading significant portions of licensed online resources; illegal copying; unauthorized removal of materials or property from the library; destruction, defacement, or abuse of library materials or property; and use of library privileges for reasons other than academic pursuits.

Students, staff, faculty members, researchers, visitors, and other users who fail to comply with library rules and regulations are subject to revocation of library privileges, disciplinary action, and legal prosecution. You are subject to the fines and penalties of the University, as well as the laws of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts governing crimes against property.


You are expected to conduct yourself responsibly, honestly, and with due consideration for others while enrolled in Harvard Summer School, as well as in all your interactions and communications with members of the Harvard community. This includes distance courses and study abroad programs. The Administrative Board reviews the actions of students charged with harassment; fraud; infringing on the rights of others; violating the rules and regulations of any University department; behaving inappropriately toward University faculty, staff, or fellow students; the unauthorized use of University facilities or equipment, including computer resources; the alteration or falsification of University records; the unauthorized recording, sale, or purchase of lectures or other instructional materials; destroying or defacing University property; misrepresenting themselves or their University affiliation; or disturbing orderly academic functions and processes.

Administrative withdrawal

You may be administratively withdrawn by the dean of the Summer School in the following circumstances:

  1. You have been arrested on allegations of serious criminal behavior, or have been formally charged by law enforcement authorities with such behavior.
  2. In the school’s judgment, your prior conduct indicates that your continued presence would pose a significant risk to yourself or others or a serious disruption to the educational environment of the community.
  3. You have not provided medical documentation as proof of required immunizations.
  4. Your behavior or threatening state is determined to be the result of a medical condition, or you refuse to cooperate or are noncompliant with the efforts deemed by the University Health Services to evaluate your behavior or threatening state.

Before administratively withdrawing a student, the dean of the Summer School ordinarily will consult with the Administrative Board or other officers of the University. With respect to students enrolled in study abroad programs, the Summer School’s judgment as to when administrative withdrawal is appropriate may take into account the remoteness of the program, any particular circumstances or risks associated with the international location in question, and the limitations on resources or staffing capabilities of the program.

If you are administratively withdrawn, you will be informed of the decision in writing, and you may request reconsideration. You will be assigned an interim or permanent grade of WA (administrative withdrawal). Administrative withdrawal is not a disciplinary action; however, an incident that gives rise to an administrative withdrawal may subsequently result in disciplinary action. In the circumstance of administrative withdrawal, you must remain away from the Harvard campus and properties if so instructed by the Summer School.

Sexual harassment

Sexual harassment is discriminatory and unlawful. Harvard Summer School does not tolerate any form of sexual harassment. Students, instructors, or staff who engage in sexual harassment face disciplinary action. See the Summer School sexual harassment policy in Regulations.

Dean of Students Office

The Dean of Students Office serves the Summer School community as a resource for information and guidance in the areas of student life, school policies and procedures, and academic and nonacademic student conduct. See Student and Alumni Affairs Office for more information.