Informal Resolution

As an instructor, if you suspect that a graduate student has engaged in academic misconduct that you would like to resolve, please read this section carefully. 

Graduate level academic misconduct is generally considered to be egregious within higher education given that students are expected to have completed their bachelors with an understanding of ethics and integrity that they carry to their graduate level education. Therefore, it is recommended that faculty members first consult with their chair or dean and the director of Graduate Academic Conduct and Climate before resolving a suspected academic misconduct case. This consultation will determine whether the student has been found previously to be responsible for academic misconduct. 

That said, when an instructor suspects academic misconduct, it is imperative that they move through the resolution process with the presumption that the student is not responsible. During this process, it is crucial to inform the student about their available options. Successful informal resolution relies on clear communication channels, allowing the graduate student to provide a thorough response to the suspected academic integrity violation(s). Other faculty responsibilities are listed here

In the informal resolution process, academic sanctions (e.g. reduction of the assessment value of the submitted work that demonstrates academic misconduct) should only be imposed on the graduate student only after a student has accepted responsibility for the violation and the sanction that is recommended by the instructor. This must be documented with the Graduate Division through a Faculty Resolution Form (FRF), which must also be signed by the graduate student. If a graduate student does not agree with the allegation brought forward by the instructor or does not consent to the sanction(s) proposed by the instructor, they should not sign the FRF. If the instructor wants to pursue the charge, a formal hearing process must be initiated. 

During an informal resolution process, the Academic Unit may not direct any actions that may affect the student’s status.

No further actions are required if a graduate student is found to not have engaged in academic misconduct during the informal resolution process.

Formal resolution resources for faculty and staff

Please email [email protected] to receive a Faculty Resolution Form. 

Detecting Similarity in Graduate Coursework, Research and Writing

UC Berkeley utilizes the services of a third-party company, ​​Turnitin, for plagiarism detection in student coursework. Turnitin is currently utilized as an opt-in tool enabled through bCourses. The way the service is set up allows students to self-assess their work. Submitted assignments can also be checked by course instructors and TAs for originality. For how to enable Turnitin detection through BCourses, follow the instructions here

If you are a graduate student or a faculty member who advises a graduate student and would like to assess drafts of research papers and/or theses please follow the instructions provided by the Center For Teaching and Learning.


Faculty who agree to serve on a committee must complete a 1-hour training that goes over the policy and procedures. Please fill out this form to receive access for the training materials. 

Faculty & Staff Forms

Faculty, staff and students can email [email protected] for relevant forms. 


  • If you suspect a case, report it to your chair or dean and the Graduate Division to make sure the student does not have a prior record. 
  • Presume the student to be not responsible for the misconduct until they admit responsibility and withhold on giving academic sanctions. 
  • Notify the student of your suspicion.
  • Make sure the student shares their side of the story. 
  • Make sure to ask for documentation that clarifies the student’s actions and give them a deadline to submit the documents.
  • Refer the student to this website.

The Graduate Division and the Center for Student Conduct will both oversee allegations of graduate student academic misconduct matters, in collaboration with the relevant academic unit during the 2023-24 academic year. From the 2024-25 academic year onwards, the Graduate Division will oversee all allegations of cases related to graduate and professional student academic misconduct. 

Matters concerning student conduct (i.e., alleged violations of University Policies and/or campus regulations regarding the activity of students) are handled by the Center for Student Conduct at 203 Sproul Hall, 510.643.9069. Additional questions concerning student conduct can be answered by calling this number.

The Berkeley Campus Code of Student Conduct administered by the Center for Student Conduct is more attuned to adjudicating cases of academic misconduct by undergraduate students. Academic and professional graduate students have different pedagogical norms and expectations, and this policy is intended to provide greater nuance to the investigation and adjudication process.

The policy outlines two different phases in the approach to the resolution of suspected graduate academic misconduct — an informal phase and a formal phase — where the Graduate Division is a consultant throughout the process. When an instructor suspects that a graduate student has committed academic misconduct, they must first discuss the allegations with their chair or dean and with the Graduate Division to confirm that the student does not have a prior record of academic misconduct. If the student does not have a prior record, then the faculty member may attempt to resolve the suspected academic misconduct by discussing it with the student. This is considered the informal phase. If the student has a prior academic misconduct record, if the student and faculty member do not agree on whether misconduct occurred, or if the student or department chair/dean disagrees with the sanction, then a formal investigation is initiated. During the formal phase, a committee of at least three faculty will conduct a hearing to investigate the allegation (the student may challenge the membership of this committee) and, if the student is determined by a preponderance of evidence to be responsible, decide upon the appropriate sanction(s).

Academic units will decide whether they want to adjudicate cases themselves or refer them to the Graduate Division. Cases may be adjudicated by an academic unit or centrally by the Graduate Division. If an allegation made under this policy has a connection to federal funding, or the alleged misconduct occurs in connection to research intended for publication or dissemination outside the University (e.g. a doctoral dissertation or a journal article) it is considered Research Misconduct and is addressed by the Berkeley Research Misconduct Policies and Procedures.

Anyone may file a complaint. Go to Graduate Academic Integrity and select, “Report a Case”, email [email protected] or phone (510) 643-0851. All graduate academic misconduct cases are reported to the Graduate Division.

A student may be notified informally by email or in person by the individual filing a complaint, which would initiate the beginning of an informal resolution process. Cases that need to be resolved through the formal resolution process are notified to the student with an Alleged Violation Letter (AVL) sent via email to the most recent email address in file with the University.

An AVL will include a statement about when and where the alleged violation occurred and what allegedly happened. It will also include members of the committee responsible for investigating and conducting the hearing, a specific statement of the sanction(s) that may be applied, and a proposed timeline for the completion of the academic misconduct process.

We recommend graduate students contact the Graduate Division via email [[email protected]] to schedule an appointment if they have questions about the process. Those who receive an AVL will have a date set on the letter to respond to the allegations. Students can schedule a meeting with the Graduate Division prior to responding to the AVL. Students can additionally seek advice from Ombuds Services (510) 642-5754 and/or the ASUC Student Advocate’s Office (510) 642-6912.

If a student admits to violating University policies and/or campus regulations, or is determined to be responsible in a hearing, they should expect to be sanctioned. Sanctions range from a warning to dismissal from the University. The Graduate Division strives to ensure that imposed sanctions are appropriate to the violation.

If a student is able to provide a plausible explanation for the circumstances that led to the allegation and if there is evidence to support that claim, the matter will likely be dropped. However, if the student denies the allegation, and in the judgment in their case, there is evidence indicating that the student is responsible, their case will be investigated by a hearing committee (the Committee).

The Committee consists of an odd number of faculty members (min. 3, one external to the department/unit if the Committee is appointed by the chair/dean) who is responsible for the investigation and hearing. The hearing process is generally conducted in the form of an investigation. The Committee is responsible for collecting testimony, documents and other information regarding the alleged academic misconduct. The Committee is not required to conduct the hearing at a specific time (except when the resolution of the allegations depends upon the credibility of a witness or witnesses, and the appropriate sanction for the academic misconduct could include suspension or dismissal); in fact, the hearing will generally take place as a series of interviews and the collection of relevant documents.

The Graduate Academic Misconduct policy stipulates that a graduate student alleged to have engaged in academic misconduct is not responsible for such violations unless the student admits responsibility or it is determined through the process and procedures set forth by the policy by a preponderance of evidence to have engaged in academic misconduct.

The process will continue with or without the student’s involvement and a decision will be reached based on the information that is provided to the hearing committee. The student may not use a refusal to participate as a later ground for appealing a decision.

The standard of proof for all hearings is a preponderance of evidence. A preponderance of evidence is defined as “more likely to be true than not.”

The Graduate Academic Misconduct Policy stipulates that a graduate student may have an advisor (anyone who is not involved in the complaint) with them at any stage of the process. The advisor may not represent or speak for the graduate student. The graduate student must participate on their own behalf. The advisor may provide assistance to the graduate student in preparing for and participating in meetings. 

Records are confidential and are typically kept for five (5) years from the completion of the incident. At the end of the five years or after a student has graduated, records concerning most cases are destroyed. Cases that resulted in an outcome of dismissal are kept indefinitely.

In compliance with the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974 (FERPA), all conduct records are considered confidential records, with exceptions noted in FERPA. Only those persons authorized by the student or by the Graduate Division may have access to these records.

If you have further questions please contact [email protected].