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Academic Integrity: Reusing Existing Content: Overview

Re-using Your Own Work For More Than One Class

It seems apparent that one of the fundamental guidelines of doing academic work in a college setting is that the assignments you submit for your classes are your original work, but are there times where even this is not clear. There is a myth around “creating your own original work” in academia. As you learn and build your own base of knowledge, you are expanding on the work of others, including, sometimes, yourself. The key here is how you use that earlier work, your own or that of others, to create something new, something transformed. There will be times when your work in another class will seem appropriate to hand-in for another, however this may not be permissible.

Due to your own interests it is more than likely you will find yourself writing about the same topic for more than one class. You will also be given research assignments in multiple classes that are similar in nature to one another. When either, or both, of these two instances happen it may be tempting to re-use all or part of a previous assignment to submit for one of your current classes. If this is the case then you should make sure both professors (the one for the previous class and the one for the current class) are made aware of your intentions. Some professors are comfortable with an assignment being re-used, at least in part, while others are not. Some professors might have different policies depending on the assignment. Always make sure you have approval.

Reusing Previous Students' Work

In terms of giving credit and re-stating the work of another person, you should treat the work of other students the same as any other piece of scholarship you may reference. If another students' work is being used as part of yours then a reference should be provided.

Case Studies

Informal Case Studies:
Macalester Students Tell Their Stories...

Case studies are a great way to better understand an issue. A group of Mac students who were found to have violated the College's academic integrity policy agreed to share their experience through brief essays. These 'informal case studies' ask the students to discuss their violation, what led up to it, as well as identify lessons learned.


        Copying Computer Code from a Friend