Student Policies

The university is committed to maintaining a safe and healthy living and learning environment for students, faculty, and staff. Each campus community member should choose behaviors that contribute toward this end. Therefore, students are expected to be good citizens and to engage in responsible behaviors that reflect well upon their university, be civil to one another and others in the campus community, and contribute positively to student and university life.

  • CS Department strictly enforces prerequisites for all courses.
  • Prerequisites are checked by CS faculty at the beginning of each course.
  • A grade of C or better is required to be accepted as a prerequisite.
  • The final decision about whether a student is ready to take a course is made by the instructor who teaches the course.

By academic cheating and plagiarism we mean presenting, as your own work, material produced by or in collaboration with others, or permitting or assisting others to present your work as their own without proper acknowledgment.

The policies of San Francisco State University, with respect to cheating and plagiarism, are stated in SF State's Bulletin. Courses involving computer programming require special consideration because use of the computer permits easy copying and trivial modification of programs. In addition, our polices also address availability of content and services on the Internet which can be used for plagiarism and cheating. The following guidelines are provided to help in determining if an incident of cheating or plagiarism has occurred.

The instructor may suspect a student of program plagiarism if the student submits a program that is so similar to the program submitted by a present or past student in the course that the solutions may be converted to one another by a simple mechanical transformation.

The instructor may suspect a student of cheating, whether on a program or an examination, if the student cannot explain both the intricacies of his or her solution and the techniques and principles used to generate that solution.

It should be clear that there is latitude for difference among individual instructors, particularly on the matter of when working with other students or adapting material from a textbook is permissible. The following general policy on cooperation on homework assignments holds:

In all circumstances it is acceptable to discuss the meaning of assignments and general approaches and strategies for handling those assignments with other members of the Academic Community. Any cooperation beyond that point, including shared pseudocode or flowcharts, shared code, or shared documentation, is only acceptable if specifically so permitted by the class instructor in written guidelines distributed to the entire class.

The Penalty

In cases of academic cheating or plagiarism, no credit will be given for the assignment in question and a record will be kept in the Computer Science department office. If a second or further incident is reported for an individual, or if the circumstances of a first incident so warrant, a letter describing the incident(s) will be forwarded to the Student Discipline Officer for possible disciplinary action, which may include expulsion, suspension, or probation; as well as lesser sanctions. Please refer to the Supplemental Regulations and Procedures section of SF State's Bulletin for details.

Any student using Rentacoder or similar WWW service in any relation to schoolwork will be dealt with most seriously, including possible expulsion from the university.



  • When a student turns in the work of another student and represents it as his or her own work.
  • When a student knowingly permits another to turn in his or her work.
  • When a student copies code from the work of another student.
  • When a student deliberately transforms borrowed sections of code in order to disguise their origin.
  • When several students collaborate on a project and fail to inform the instructor of this.
  • When a student steals or obtains examinations, answer keys, or program samples from the instructors files or computer directories.
  • When a student modifies or deletes another student's or an instructor's computer files.
  • When a student uses content from other sources like Internet and includes it in his/her work or projects without proper attribution.
  • When a student uses Internet or other services to post assignments and seek solutions.
  • When Internet resources are used verbatim and/or "cut and pasted" into students work regardless whether they are acknowledged or not.


When Does It Not Occur?

  • When students have permission to collaborate on a project, and list all collaborators.
  • When students receive advice from instructors, teaching assistants, or staff members involved in the course.
  • When students share knowledge about syntax errors, coding tricks, or other language-specific information that makes programming easier.
  • When students engage in a general discussion of the nature of an assignment, the requirements for an assignment, or general implementation strategies.
  • When students compare independent solutions to an assignment in order to better understand the nature of the assignment.
  • When students engage in discussion of course concepts or programming strategies in preparation for an assignment or examination.
  • When students copy code and cite its source on assignments for which the instructor allows inclusion of code other than the student's own.


How to Check for Plagiarism

Please consult with your course instructor if you have any questions regarding whether or not your work with other students and/or materials prepared for submission are appropriate. The following examples illustrate situations when Academic Cheating and/or Plagiarism has and has not occurred. Please note these lists are not comprehensive!

See also the reference materials posted by SF State's Center for Teaching and Faculty Development on Academic Integrity & Plagiarism: (SF State's Plagirarism Policy Page)


Distribution of this Policy

Copies of this policy will be available in the department office and posted on bulletin boards within the department. The policy will also be attached to, or included, in the undergraduate and graduate information bulletins.

An announcement of the existence of the policy will be made by the instructor at the first meeting each semester of every Computer Science class, at which time any course specific guidelines on cooperation and use of published programs can also be stated. For lower division courses, reference to this policy and statement of any course specific guidelines will be included in the course syllabus distributed to all students.

  • The San Francisco State University faculty shall make reasonable accommodations for students to observe religious holidays when such observances require students to be absent from class activities.
  • It is the responsibility of the student to inform the instructor, in writing, about such holidays during the first two weeks of the class each semester. If such holidays occur during the first two weeks of the semester, the student must notify the instructor, in writing, at least three days before the date that they will be absent.
  • It is the instructor's responsibility to make every reasonable effort to honor the student's request without penalty and for the student to make up the work missed.

SF State fosters a campus free of sexual violence including sexual harassment, domestic violence, dating violence, stalking, and/or any form of sex or gender discrimination.

If you disclose a personal experience as an SF State student, the course instructor is required to notify the Dean of Students.
To disclose any such violence confidentially, please contact:

The SAFE Place:
(415) 338-2208

Counseling and Psychological Services Center:
(415) 338-2208

For more information on your rights and available resources:

Students with disabilities who need reasonable accommodations are encouraged to contact the instructor.

The Disability Programs and Resource Center (DPRC) is available to facilitate the reasonable accommodations process. The DPRC is located in the Student Services Building and can be reached by telephone (voice/TTY 415-338-2472) or by email

For more information, please visit their homepage: