An honor code is an academic regulation at a university, college, professional school, or sometimes even primary schools, which deals with the administration of the punishment of academic dishonesty, such as cheating, as well as social ills such as lying or stealing.
The basic concept of the "Honor Code," universally, is that students must pre-commit to it upon entering the academic institution.
Often students themselves are called upon to enforce the code by a student-run "Honor Council." The goal of this is to invest students in their fellow students' integrity. Where successful, a student-administered honor code creates a feedback loop where the value of the code to the student's sense of academic integrity steadily increases. While a successful system is difficult to set up, once active, it is almost always self-perpetuating.
History and Examples
Historically, the student-policed honor code system originated at the College of William and Mary, and expanded to the University of Virginia, and beyond. The United States Academies have adopted similar codes, often of the form, "A Cadet will not lie, cheat, or steal, nor tolerate those who do."