The MBA Program at HBS educates leaders through a learning model in which students and faculty teach and learn from one another. This process of active participation and shared learning – crucial in any academic community, and the very foundation on which the HBS MBA Program rests – depends on:

  • Individual preparation of all materials.
  • Small-group discussions to explore and expand on this initial work.
  • Consistent class attendance.
  • Full engagement in class discussions.
  • Post-class reflection.

The Honor Code supplements the School’s Community Values Statement and reflects the commitment students and faculty make as members of the community to participate in, foster, and uphold this learning model.

Any activity that violates the spirit or letter of this learning model is a violation of the Honor Code and HBS Community Values.

The Honor Code is a commitment of the students, individually and collectively, to:

  • Prepare for and participate fully in classroom and academic activities.
  • Refrain from giving or receiving unauthorized aid in class preparation or classwork, during exams, or in any other work to be used by an instructor as part of a course or as a basis of grading.
  • Act as stewards of the Honor Code in upholding its spirit and letter, and encouraging others to do so as well.

The Honor Code is a commitment of the faculty, individually and collectively, to:

  • Demonstrate confidence in the honor of their students.
  • Act as stewards of the Honor Code in upholding its spirit and letter, while encouraging others to do so as well.

Additionally, while the faculty alone has the right and obligation to set academic requirements, students and faculty will work together to establish optimal conditions for honorable academic work.

Examples of Honor Code Violations

While some activities – copying from another’s exam, for example – are enduring illustrations of violations of the Honor Code, advances in technology and innovation in the curriculum may create new or ambiguous scenarios. The following list highlights current situations and scenarios that are not permissible under the Honor Code; it is meant to be illustrative rather than comprehensive:

  • Unauthorized aid in preparing for class. Notes or write-ups are appropriate for personal use during face-to-face small-group discussions and during class. However, inappropriate use of notes includes:
    • Distribution or use of notes by students other than as the basis for their own small-group discussion.
    • Sharing or receiving notes or write-ups from students who have participated in the relevant class discussion earlier in the day or in a previous term.
    • Participating in virtual study groups where students divide up case preparation responsibility and then share notes electronically.
    • Note: In terms of a student’s individual preparation, widely-available tools that help with writing (such as grammar and spelling), not ideas or content, are allowed. Faculty also may authorize use of additional technology or tools that inspire ideas and content for specific courses or assignments, but with certain limitations and with citations required; see Section 2.1.1 for more information.
  • Misrepresenting an absence from class or missing class for a reason that demonstrates lack of commitment to the learning model.
  • Engaging in behaviors or activities that detract from the in-class learning environment, including the use of technology in non-class-enhancing ways. Unless authorized by a faculty member, mobile phones, tablets, and laptops should not be used in class.
  • Plagiarizing, copying (or allowing another to copy), or in any way giving or receiving unpermitted aid on an exercise or examination. Students should not share prior exam questions or responses with other students, nor should they use past exam materials to prepare for their own exams unless provided by the faculty member teaching the course.


Any activity that violates the spirit or letter of the HBS Learning Model is a violation of the Honor Code and HBS Community Values. Offenses may result in sanctions ranging from suspension from non-class activities and community service to separation from the School. Additionally, students who are found to have violated the Honor Code may be deemed ineligible for academic honors (first- and second- year honors and the distinction and high distinction designation upon graduation), the Dean’s Award, fellowships, and other privileges and forms of recognition and support at the School.