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Plagiarism is copying the work of others and claiming it as your own.

What is Plagiarism?

Plagiarism is copying the work of others and claiming it as your own. Intentional plagiarism is cheating.

According to the Council of Writing Program Administrators:

"In an instructional setting, plagiarism occurs when a writer deliberately uses someone else’s language, ideas, or other original (not common-knowledge) material without acknowledging its source. This definition applies to texts published in print or on-line, to manuscripts, and to the work of other student writers."

At Sac State, it may result in a lowered grade, a failed grade for the course, suspension, or even expulsion.

Often, the writer does not intend to plagiarize but has failed to cite sources properly. It is important to avoid plagiarism by understanding what needs to be cited and how to properly cite all sources used.

Sacramento State's Academic Honesty Policy


"As stipulated in the California Code of Regulations, Section 41301, cheating or plagiarism in connection with an academic program at a campus may warrant expulsion, suspension, probation or a lesser sanction. Administrative action involving academic dishonesty at Sacramento State is the responsibility of the Student Conduct Officer in the Office of the Vice President for Student Affairs."

Student Rights:

"Nothing in this policy is intended to deny students who come within its scope appropriate due process, including the right to be informed of the charges, the nature of the evidence supporting the charges, and the right to have a meeting with the faculty member, the Student Conduct Officer, or other decision-maker, at which time statements and evidence on behalf of the student may be submitted."

See the entire policy for more detail.

Sources for Students

Tips for Students

  • Use quotation marks every time you use someone else's words.
  • Cite all work that isn't your own or that isn't common knowledge. If you aren't sure if something is common knowledge - cite it. It is better to cite something than to not cite it.
  • Be careful about paraphrasing. Paraphrasing can include the words or ideas of others or it may also be a restatement, in your own words, of the words or ideas of others. In each case, the original work/ideas/words must be cited. If you aren't sure then cite it.
  • Learn the proper format for citing your sources. The CSUS Library has short guides for APA, MLA, and Chicago style. These guide do not contain examples for all sources. You may have to use the complete manual for the appropriate style. The style manuals are also available in the Library.

Sources for Educators

Last Updated: May 16, 2024 2:23 PM