Honor System at St. Olaf

“I pledge my honor that during this examination
I have neither given nor received assistance

not explicitly approved by the professor,
and that I have seen no dishonest work.”

-The St. Olaf Honor Pledge-

Students new to St. Olaf may be surprised in their first exam or quiz when the professor hands out the test, reminds them to sign The Pledge, and then leaves the room. This is likely quite different from your high school experience! Part of the St. Olaf Experience is learning from your first day here that you are considered to be an individual of integrity, and that you are trusted. Central to this belief is the Honor Code of St. Olaf described below:


The Honor System has been in effect at St. Olaf since 1911. We at St. Olaf are proud of this system. It is the responsibility of each student and faculty member to keep this system working and effective.

  • All tests, quizzes, or examinations of any kind are taken under the honor system. If the nature of the test is such that the professor must remain in the classroom, each student is still on his/her honor and the honor system is still in effect.
  • The honor system is considered violated when information which results in or could result in an unfair advantage for one or more students is given or received before, during or after a test.

Code of Test Etiquette
The purpose of the Code of Test Etiquette is to create the best possible atmosphere for testing and avoid all possible suspicion.
During an examination, students:

  • are required to leave all books and other aids in an inaccessible spot (exception: open-book tests)
  • may not leave the room and return to the test without express permission
  • are not allowed to talk to each other
  • should try to ensure that their line of sight does not cause someone to suspect them of cheating
  • are required to leave all electronic devices not explicitly approved by the professor in an inaccessible spot

Failure to abide by the Code of Test Etiquette can result in disciplinary action through the St. Olaf Honor Council.

The Honor Council is the body of ten students that oversees the Honor Code and holds hearings on possible violations of the Honor Code or the Code of Test Etiquette.  If you are interested in serving on the Honor Council, elections for first-year students will be held in November. Look for an email announcing the fall elections.