The Honor System

The Honor System

Established in 1842, the University of Virginia 's Honor System is one of the school's most venerated traditions. Administered solely by students, the Honor System requires that an individual act honorably in all relations and phases of student life. More specifically, the system rests on the premise that lying, cheating, and stealing are breaches of the spirit of honor and mutual trust and are not to be tolerated within the University community.

UVA Honor Committee Website

Email Updates

Students can receive twice-per-semester updates from the Honor Committee by signing up here.

What does Honor mean to you? 

Cordel FaulkCordel Faulk '01

Assistant Dean and Chief Admissions Officer
Vice Chair for Services, Honor Committee

"One of the main reasons I decided to come to the University of Virginia for law school was the tradition of Honor. It’s not just a cute club or some amorphous entity that exists in name only at UVA. At this university, Honor is treated as the real, concrete life lesson it should be — which is especially important for those entering a field like the law. My feeling as a student never was we don’t lie, cheat or steal out of fear for being thrown out of school. Actually, because of the long tradition of Honor at the UVA we don’t lie, cheat, or steal because that is not how a student at this university should comport him- or herself. Based on the alums I know, such a sentiment carries over after graduation, too." 

Blaire HawkinsBlaire Hawkins '12

Former Vice Chair for Investigations, Honor Committee

"I attended the University of Virginia as an undergraduate, and was involved with the management of the Honor System throughout those four years. My decision to come back to UVA for law school — in fact, my decision to attend law school at all — was profoundly informed by my experience with Honor. The Honor System affords students a unique opportunity to define the standards of conduct to which they will hold themselves, and to promote and enforce those standards with the goal of creating a better community for all. I believe that our legal system, at its best, serves this same function. The presence of Honor at UVA Law exceptionally positions the school to prepare its students for legal careers defined by integrity and in the service of the public good." 

Isaac McBride '16

Former Honor Senior Support Officer, Honor Committee

"Honor at the University of Virginia School of Law is not really some code or unattainable goal. It is an experiment: Can students, while under mountains of stress, govern themselves in a way that comports with the rigors of academia and respects their peers? Like all experiments, Honor has its error rates and its share of unforeseen consequences. But like the few truly worthwhile experiments, Honor advances its subject, the student. No one leaves here without knowing personal accountability and honesty." 

Micah SchwartzmanMicah Schwartzman '05

Former Counsel Coordinator, Honor Committee

"As an undergraduate in the College of Arts & Sciences, I participated in the Honor System as counsel and later as a coordinator of the counsel pool. I worked with students who had been accused of Honor offenses and with those who had filed charges. I thought at the time — and I still think — that the Honor System is the foundation of student self-governance at the University, and that it is the responsibility of each new generation of students to maintain the integrity of our system."