Is it considered an academic misconduct to skip listing a university's name in the graduate application, in which somebody got admission but never attended any class/lab/test/exam whatsoever and as a result his transcript is shown failed in all courses in one semester?

  • So, you "never attended," but you registered for classes and then blew them off? In other words, you registered for classes and failed all of them through doing nothing?
    – Bob Brown
    Jan 24, 2017 at 18:33

2 Answers 2


Whether someone has performed "academic misconduct" is something that a specific body of people must decide upon using both general principles of academic ethics and the specific rules of the academic body in question. It depends at least a bit on who is doing the considering. So it seems better to think in terms of whether certain actions could reasonably or likely be construed as academic misconduct by certain parties.

When it comes to graduate admission, the relevant academic parties are the admissions committee and the authorities (faculty, administration...) of the institution. It depends a bit on what the application asks for. If you are asked to supply all college/university level transcripts (a common request) and intentionally omit some, then certainly you are behaving dishonestly in the usual sense. Whether the dishonesty will be construed as academic misconduct if discovered is up to the relevant academic parties to decide, but: yes, there is a real risk of that happening.

You make it sound like "somebody" got a bit of a raw deal by getting failing grades for classes that were never attended whatsoever. If somebody never showed up at all, then it seems like there is a good case that the enrollment was some kind of misunderstanding and that grades should not have been given. Somebody should seek to fix that with the institution that issued the failing transcript. It will probably be at least a certain amount of fuss -- e.g. contacting every instructor to get them to confirm that the student was a pure no-show. If somebody's best efforts do not suffice to resolve the question, the ethical thing to do -- and the path which nullifies any claims of academic misconduct -- is to include the transcript together with an explanation of what happened, possibly along with parties to contact for additional corroboration.

  • 2
    It is also relevant whether Somebody received financial aid for those classes, especially if any of it was paid in cash rather than e.g. as tuition reduction.
    – Bob Brown
    Jan 24, 2017 at 18:48

The question you need to answer here is: is this event relevant to your graduate application? There are several reasons why it might be:

  1. The graduate admission process might for example somewhere in the fine print explicitly ask for all previous universities you attended. In that case, they decided it is relevant and you must mention it.
  2. You might only be able to talk about what you did with your life that time period if you mention this university. Can you honestly talk about what you did that semester without mentioning this university? Did the admission to this university play a role in any academic and/or life choices you made during or after that time? If it is part of your (academic) life story, you need to talk about it.

One thing to keep in mind is that there might be records of your enrollment at this institution. If the admission committee finds you were enrolled there, but failed to mention it, that would be a major red flag. It might be worth mentioning this university and give your story, just to prevent taking this risk.

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