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Master of Liberal Arts Program
811 Anderson Hall
Temple University
Philadelphia, PA 19122
215-204-1644 (phone)
215-204-9611 (fax)

Michael Szekely
Director, MLA Program
215-204-6479 (phone)

Stephanie Morawski
215-204-8516 (phone)

Student Resources

MLA Statement of Academic and Scholarly Expectations

Please consult this handbook for important and useful information pertaining to graduate-level study and culture in general, as well as issues concerning academic rights and responsibilities, academic honesty, plagiarism, citation, etc. Includes links for resources.

The following web sites may be useful to Master of Liberal Arts students.

Temple University Links

Writing and Reference Guides Online

Plagiarism and Issues of Academic Honesty and Integrity

As graduate students, candidates in the Master of Liberal Arts program at Temple University are held to the level of academic and scholarly rigor, dedication, and ethics befitting graduate study.  These standards entail high expectations on behalf of the University regarding both the student’s capacity to engage in well-informed critical analysis and the production of new knowledge, and the framework with which to research and apply that knowledge appropriately and ethically.

Academic honesty and integrity constitute the root of the educational process at Temple University. Intellectual growth relies on the development of independent thought and respect for the thoughts of others. To foster this independence and respect, plagiarism and academic cheating are prohibited.

Plagiarism is the unacknowledged use of another individual's ideas, words, labor, or assistance. All coursework submitted by a student, including papers, examinations, laboratory reports, and oral presentations, is expected to be the individual effort of the student presenting the work. When it is not, that assistance must be acknowledged and reported to the instructor. If the work involves consulting outside resources such as journals, books, or other media, those resources must be cited in the appropriate style. All other borrowed material, such as suggestions for organization, ideas, or actual language, must also be cited. Failure to cite any borrowed material, including information from the internet, constitutes plagiarism.

Academic cheating results when the general rules of academic work or the specific rules of individual courses are broken. It includes falsifying data; submitting, without the instructor's knowledge or approval, work in one course that was done for another; helping others to plagiarize or cheat from one's own or another's work; or undertaking the work of another person.

The penalty for academic dishonesty results in a failing grade for a particular assignment and a failing grade in the course.  It may also result in suspension or expulsion from the University. Students who plagiarize their MLA Qualifying Papers can expect to have their case heard before the University Disciplinary Committee (UDC). 

Students who believe that they have been unfairly accused may appeal their cases to the College of Liberal Arts’ Graduate Committee through the established academic grievance procedure and, ultimately, to the Graduate Board if academic dismissal has occurred. 

This statement on Academic Honesty can be found online at:


Citing Sources

You need to include a citation anytime you include someone else’s words or idea(s) in your own work. According to the Ready Reference Handbook, “Frequent, fair, and accurate documentation gives credibility and authority to your writing” (Dodds 332).

Citing does not apply only to quotes.

You do not need to cite information that can be considered common knowledge; if an average person is probably aware of the fact in question, you don’t need a citation. If your information could be easily found in at least three different reliable sources, it is probably common knowledge. When in doubt, cite anyway to be on the safe side.


You are paraphrasing when you take someone else’s idea and completely rephrase it using your own words. It does NOT mean taking the original quote and replacing a few words here and there, which is considered plagiarism.

A paraphrased passage must be cited.

If you think you will be tempted to “borrow” too much from a source, try paraphrasing with the book closed.

Sample paraphrase:

Original text: Land, then, is not merely soil; it is the fountain of energy flowing through a circuit of soils, plants, and animals. Food chains are the living channels which conduct energy upward; death and decay return it to the soil. The circuit is not closed; some energy is dissipated in decay, some is added by absorption from the air, some is stored in soils, peats, and long-lived forests; but it is a sustained circuit, like a slowly augmented, revolving fund of life.
Aldo Leopold, A Sand County Almanac, p. 212

Plagiarism: Land is not simply soil; it is a waterfall of energy moving through a circuit of soil, plants, and animals. Food chains are the channels that move energy upward; dying and decay return it to the ground. The circle is not closed; some energy is lost in decay, some is added to the air, some is saved in soil, peat, and forests; but it is a continuing circle, like a mutual fund of life.

Acceptable Paraphrase: More than “merely soil,” land is a “fountain of energy.” It generates the life cycle, lifting energy upward through plants and animals, receiving it returned through death and decay, absorbing extra energy from outside itself, and storing it to maintain the life cycle (Leopold 212).

For additional handouts on conducting research, using source materials effectively, and avoiding plagiarism, visit:


For information on different citation styles and guides (e.g. APA, Chicago, MLA), visit:


Academic Rights and Responsibilities

Temple University students who believe that instructors are introducing extraneous material into class discussions or that their grades are being affected by their opinions or views that are unrelated to a course’s subject matter can file a complaint under the University’s policy on academic rights and responsibilities. The full policy can be found at:


The policy encourages students to first discuss their concerns with their instructor. If a student is uncomfortable doing so, or if discussions with the instructor do not resolve the student’s concerns, an informal complaint can be made to the Student Ombudsperson for the student’s school or college. Unresolved complaints may be referred to the dean for handling in accordance with the school or college’s established grievance procedure. Final appeals will be determined by the Provost.