The aim of this document is to provide a framework for a model code of practice for ethical conduct by students in higher education institutions. The recommendations in this model code should be reflected in the internal statutes, rules and procedures of the respective institution.  They are based on the outcomes of the Council of Europe project ‘Strengthening Integrity and Combating Corruption in Higher Education in Higher Education’.


Students admitted to higher education institutions according to the provisions of the Law on Higher Education are expected to conduct themselves in accordance with the following general principles derived from international sources:

ü  Integrity;

ü  Honesty;

ü  Truth;

ü  Transparency;

ü  Respect for Others;

ü  Trust;

ü  Accountability;

ü  Fairness; Equity,

ü  Justice and Social Justice;

ü  Selflessness;

ü  Objectivity;

ü  Openness;

ü  Academic Freedom.

These apply to their relations with (i) the governing body, management, academic and support staff and other organs of the institution,(ii) other students. In addition, persons who seek to be admitted to study are entitled to expect that the management and staff of the institution act fairly in the admissions procedure according to the legislation in force, the Rules of the institution, and ethical principles defined in other related Codes.  Also, the standard of ethical behaviour expected of students is also to be expected of any persons acting on their behalf, including parents and persons with similar status.

Model Code and main Rules

In pursuance of these general principles, each higher education institution must adopt and publish Rules governing (i) conduct including discipline, academic integrity and sanctions; (ii) admissions, study programmes, examinations and assessment; (iii) complaints procedures. As a minimum these Rules should expressly incorporate the above principles and provide sanctions for non-compliance in accordance with the legislation in force. In particular, students:

·      in relation to any person or group within or external to the institution, must not offer or accept any bribe or other unlawful financial consideration, or seek or accept any other personal favour, which may influence them in their studies, or influence others in their work, and must immediately report any attempt to seek bribes or personal favours to the relevant authority defined in the Rules of the institution;

·      must not misuse the resources of the institution, or personal or commercial information held by it, including intellectual property, for personal gain or that of any other person or group;

·      must behave towards the governing board, managers, academic and support staff and fellow students in a respectful way, upholding the principles stated above, and contribute positively and constructively to the academic work of the institution;

·      when participating in study or research activities, must not engage in plagiarism as defined in the Rules of the institution, fail to cite or attribute the work of others, pass off others’ work as their own work, or falsify results, and must abide by ethical principles in relation to protection of personal data, and other specific principles in defined subject areas according to the Rules of the institution (for example in medical and veterinary sciences, and sociological research);

·      when participating in an examination or other form of assessment, must not cheat, copy others’ work, either individually or as part of a group, or attempt to gain any advantage by offering any form of inducement, or knowingly permitting any other person to offer any form of inducement on their behalf;  

·      have the right to report any alleged non-compliance with the legislation in force or the ethical principles to the relevant authority in confidence without adverse personal consequences.

Related Rules

In addition to the main Rules already noted, other Rules should be adopted or existing rules adapted according to the ethical principles stated above, in accordance with the legislation in force and the institution’s statute.

[1]* This designation wherever it appears in this Report is without prejudice to positions on status and is in line with UNSCR 1244 and the ICJ opinion on the Kosovo Declaration of Independence.