Office of International Services

Academic Expectations

Most universities in the US have explicit standards regarding student academic behavior and personal behavior (Student Conduct). It is very important that international students familiarize themselves with the standards for academic integrity and student conduct. Often, international students may not be aware that the standards are so strict and can affect their immigration status.

While international students are generally very serious and hard-working, they are also more likely to face difficulties with academic integrity issues as a result of their unfamiliarity with the US educational system and the academic and cultural expectations assigned to students in the US. While how we teach, learn, and conduct research around the world is very much defined along cultural lines, it is essential that international students learn and adjust to the cultural standards of NC State, especially with regard to academic integrity and student conduct. Unfamiliarity, misunderstanding and even legitimate cultural differences will not excuse an international student from adhering to the University’s policies on academic integrity and student conduct. For many international students, adjusting to the rigorous educational and cultural standards of an American university is among the greatest and most rewarding challenges of studying in the US. It is these very standards for original research and giving and receiving proper credit which make US institutions of higher education among the best and most rigorous in the world.
In addition to the written material on this web site, OIS has partnered with NC State faculty and students to prepare brief presentations that provide an overview of topics related to academic expectations and success.

Media Links

Academic integrity refers to upholding prescribed ethical standards while you perform research, write papers, take tests, etc. The guiding principles are honesty and individuality to ensure that your ideas are your own and that you understand the material being taught. At NC State University, it is expected that all students will do their own work. Unless specifically stated on the syllabus or in writing by the professor of your course, you should not work on class work in groups or with a friend. It is also expected that you will properly cite sources of information that you use. For example, if you use a statement, idea or information from any other source you must credit that source in your work or you may be accused of plagiarism. Plagiarism is defined as using someone else’s words or ideas and presenting them as your own. Plagiarism often includes intentional actions such as copying someone’s words in your own work without crediting the source. Plagiarism also includes less intentional and even unintentional actions such as forgetting to place quotations around a statement used from another source. Unintentional actions are regarded the same as an intentional action and saying “I didn’t know” will not be considered as a valid excuse. Whether your actions are intentional or unintentional, a charge of plagiarism is an academic integrity violation and has severe consequences to your student status with the University and subsequently with your immigration status. If you are unsure about your assignment always seek advice directly from your professor. Below is a list of resources on campus to help guide you:

Student Conduct

The Office of Student Conduct implements policies designed to avoid behaviors that can disrupt the University and its community. As students of NC State University, you should remember that you are always representing the University wherever you are. It is very important that you do not engage in conduct or behaviors that could violate the Code of Student Conduct, whether you are on or off campus. A lot of students are not aware that even your behavior off campus can affect your student standing at the University. If you are officially charged with a crime or just engaging in unacceptable behavior, you could lose your good standing with the University, and subsequently, your legal F-1 or J-1 status.

Academic Standing

All students are required to maintain a minimum Grade Point Average (GPA). At NC State University Graduate students must maintain at least a 3.0 and undergraduate students are required to maintain at GPA of at least 2.0 to be in good academic standing. If you fail to meet the required GPA you could lose your academic standing which will affect your immigration status. There are resources available on campus to help you achieve academic success such as the Counseling Center, Tutorial Center and the University's Student Success Inventory.


As an international student in F-1 or J-1 student status, your priority is full-time study. All students in F-1 or J-1 student status are required to not only be enrolled full-time but also to make sufficient progress in their degree programs. It is very important that you familiarize yourself with the Code of Student Conduct as well as the policies within your department for maintaining your academic status.

There are exceptions to the full-time enrollment requirement. Students in their first semester experiencing academic difficulty or students who are experiencing health issues have the option to reduce their course load to help provide some relief.

It is very important for students to take action to remain in good academic status during a semester of difficulty in order to maintain their immigration status. OIS is not aware if you are having an issue that is affecting your academic performance unless/until you tell us. Please do not hesitate to seek assistance from OIS, the Counseling Center or your academic advisor -- we are here to help you. While there are measures in place that can help you during the semester, there are very few options and resources available to help you after the semester is already over – if you’re struggling, get help as early as possible!