Office of the University Registrar

Academic Falsification

Academic fraud is a serious issue, which the University of Washington is having to address on an increasing basis. Academic fraud includes, but is not limited to, cheating, plagiarism, fraud in research, and academic falsification. The Office of the University Registrar (OUR) is not charged with addressing all forms of academic fraud, but it should be informed of instances or suspicions of academic falsification.

What is Academic Falsification?

Academic falsification occurs when:

  1. Someone falsely represents to the University of Washington having an academic credential, including, but not limited to, degrees, certificates, grades, and credits, that the person never received or earned;
  2. Someone falsely represents to anyone that he or she attended and/or received credits, grades, a degree, certificate, or other credential from the University of Washington; or
  3. Someone provides anyone a University of Washington transcript, diploma, or other credential (or copy thereof) that has been altered or otherwise falsified.

Pursuant to RCW 9A.60.070, in the State of Washington, it is a felony to issue a false academic credential and a gross misdemeanor to knowingly use a false academic credential.

When Academic Falsification is Suspected

Contact the Office of the University Registrar

The OUR should always be contacted with regard to any concerns about academic falsification. The OUR wants to know when academic falsification occurs and can assist with the University’s response.

Verify UW Degree

Verify whether a former student received a degree from the University on the UW Degree Validation webpage. However, verification can only be obtained for students who;

  1. Received a degree after 1983, and;
  2. Who did not restrict the release of their directory information.

To verify the degree of someone who graduated before 1983 or who could not be found via the Degree Validation webpage, please email the Office of the University Registrar.

Possible Consequences of Academic Falsification

The University may take action against someone who has committed academic falsification. This includes, but is not limited to the following:

  1. Contacting the police for possible criminal action;
  2. Academic and/or disciplinary action, which could include dismissal from a program and/or the University;
  3. Revocation of a degree.

Additional Information

Book on the topic of academic falsification:
Degree Mills: The Billion-dollar Industry That Has Sold Over A Million Fake Diplomas by Allen Ezell and John Bear.

For additional information, please email the Office of the University Registrar.


The information on this webpage is intended as information for University staff, faculty, and students and is not intended as legal advice.