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Honor Code of the UCSF School of Dentistry


All students in the University of California system are held to standards of conduct described in University of California Policies Applying to Campus Activities, Organizations. and Students (Revised 8/15/94) .
In addition, students in the UCSF School of Dentistry are held to high standards of professionalism, recognizing the special responsibilities inherent in patient care and clinical activities.

Professional Responsibilities, Ethical Principles, and Unacceptable Student Conduct

This statement of professional responsibilities and ethical principles was written by and for the students in the School of Dentistry, UCSF. Its intent is to promote the highest standards of scholarship and patient care. The statements of ethical principles express student consensus about basic precepts of behavior as scholars, as care providers, as members of an educational community, and as members of the University and the dental profession. The examples of unacceptable behavior, while not comprehensive or all-inclusive, express student consensus about minimal standards of behavior and give fair notice to all that departures from these minimal standards may incur disciplinary proceedings.


Ethical Principles. As scholars, the students’ role is one of pride, determination, and integrity. In the classroom, we are responsible and respectful, encouraging learning by all. We understand that failure to prepare in a thorough, timely manner reduces the potential of our educational experience. We believe that the student who cheats loses more than potential; that student also cheats the public, creates publicity detrimental to the stature of UCSF, and invites future malpractice suits. For these reasons, we, as scholars, will not tolerate educational dishonesty. We place the value of our education paramount.

Types of Unacceptable Behavior

  1. Misrepresenting the work of others as your own, such as cheating, plagiarism, or failure to credit the contributions made by others;
  2. Repeated inexcusable absences from classes or clinical activities;
  3. Repeated failure to adhere to assignment or examination schedules;
  4. Loud or disruptive entrances when tardy.

Professional Responsibilities to Patients

Ethical Principles. As health care providers, the students’ primary obligation of service to patients includes delivery of competent, timely, and supervised care within the bounds of clinical circumstances presented by the patients and the dental school. Our conduct regarding scheduling, quality and sequence of treatment, faculty signatures, finances, and control of infectious diseases will follow the policies of the School of Dentistry, the principles of ethics and code of conduct of the American Dental Association, and the Dental Practice Act of the State of California. We recognize our own limitations and seek the advice of those whose knowledge and experience exceed our own. In doing so, we not only improve the quality of care for our patients, but also expand our own knowledge. We understand that our education does not end with graduation but continues throughout our professional lives. The quality of care for our patients is our primary concern.

Types of Unacceptable Behavior

  1. Misuse of any documents related to student academic progress or to patient care, such as failure to verify adequate supervision by obtaining proper signatures, failure to maintain confidentiality of patient records, removal of dental records from the clinic facilities, or failure to promptly return records to central record storage areas;
  2. Refusal to comply with clinic protocol regarding patient appointment or financial arrangements;
  3. Failure to comply with policies for controlling infectious diseases;
  4. Failure to obtain adequate faculty supervision for all phases of patient care;
  5. Refusal to treat any assigned patient because of race, color, creed, gender, national origin, sexual preference, economic status, or handicap;
  6. Failure to make arrangements for emergency care of assigned patients and to act as the primary source of emergency care during clinic sessions, except when excused by conflicting classes such as rotations or off-campus clinical assignments;
  7. Failure to seek assistance when the welfare of the patient would be safeguarded or advanced by others with special skills, knowledge, or experience;
  8. Failure to report to the appropriate agency instances of gross and continual faulty treatment by other practitioners or students and to exercise care that such criticism is justified.

The University

Ethical Principles. As members of the educational community, we understand and support the goals of our peers, of the faculty, and of the staff to participate fully in the learning experience. We share our failures and successes for the gain of all in the spirit of collegiality. We listen to the opinions of others with respect. We strive to reach the highest levels of scholarly and technical excellence, and we willingly assist others in similar efforts. In sum, as students, we treat all members of the University community as we ourselves would like to be treated.

Types of Unacceptable Behavior

  1. Failure to recognize the authority of members of the faculty or of University officials, such as campus security officers;
  2. Failure to present proof of current registration (identity card) upon request by University officials when using University facilities, equipment, or resources;
  3. Use of patient care areas and their fixtures without faculty supervision;
  4. Failure to turn in any found property to the appropriate Lost and Found Office.

University and Professional Communities

Ethical Principles. As members of the University and the dental profession, we understand that our words and actions in daily life may be attributed to all members of the University and the professional communities. We therefore conduct ourselves to maintain the esteem of the University of California and the dental profession.

Types of Unacceptable Behavior

  1. Indiscriminate use of obscene language or gestures in the University’s facilities;
  2. Failure to maintain a superior standard of personal hygiene and of cleanliness and neatness of one’s self and one’s surroundings whenever contact with patients is likely, such as failing to comply with policies regarding clinic attire or failing to thoroughly clean up one’s clinical cubicle after each use;
  3. Keeping a University fee paid by a patient for any dental service or procedure;
  4. Requesting or encouraging in any manner gifts from patients;
  5. Misuse of UCSF affiliation, such as attributing personal opinions to the School or the University;
  6. Misrepresenting professional status, such as using unearned professional titles while still a student.
  7. Unethical behavior when taking any licensing examination. 

Updated: January 1, 2004