To Permit or To Prohibit? Sample Syllabus Statements for Generative AI

I’ve been approached by faculty members in multiple departments who are wrestling with syllabus language that addresses generative artificial intelligence (AI) such as DALL-E, ChatGPT, and Bard.

My personal opinion is that we have an ethical obligation to teach our students how to use these tools effectively and responsibly. It’s part of providing a career-oriented professional education. Of course, this may be easier said than done. As a way to dip your toes in the water, I refer you to an article by Ethan Mollick and Lilach Mollick (2023) that shares five evidence-based teaching strategies that are amplified by use of AI.

At New York Tech, as at many other institutions, we don’t have a single policy regarding AI. Different disciplines, and even different courses within disciplines, may have different policies depending on the nature of the assignments and the comfort level of the instructor.

It’s therefore critical that you be as clear as possible in your syllabus – about what the policy is, and why. Here, you’ll find some samples you can modify and use, and links to additional resources.

Option 1: Permit Use

If you choose to permit students to use AI, you will want to be very clear about what is and is not acceptable.

ChatGPT and similar technologies are rapidly becoming part of our professional lives. As such, I expect that you will incorporate these technologies into your work in this class as appropriate, and will treat the work you produce as demonstration of your abilities to engage with these new tools. I expect you to cite the technologies used as part of your submission so that we’re all engaging in a dialogue around the role and efficacy of these tools.

Use with Attribution

An example for a computer science course:

In principle you may submit AI-generated code, or code that is based on or derived from AI-generated code, as long as this use is properly documented in the comments: you need to include the prompt and the significant parts of the response. AI tools may help you avoid syntax errors, but there is no guarantee that the generated code is correct. It is your responsibility to identify errors in program logic through comprehensive, documented testing. Moreover, generated code, even if syntactically correct, may have significant scope for improvement, in particular regarding separation of concerns and avoiding repetitions. The submission itself should meet our standards of attribution and validation.

A more general example:

Learning how to use AI functions such as ChatGPT is important for all of us. Used properly, ChatGPT can enhance our work; used improperly, it can border on plagiarism. If you have used ChatGPT on anything you submit for CLASS NAME, please include an explanation as to (1) what your original prompt was to the chatbot; (2) some examples of incorrect data that the chatbot provided to you; and, (3) how you reworked and revised so that your final document was both factually accurate and reflected your own writing voice and style.

Remember to include guidance for proper citations! Here are links to the MLA ( and APA ( style guides.

Use for Specific Tasks

A general example:

Generally speaking, you are not authorized to use artificial intelligence engines, software, or artwork generating programs (or similar) to produce work for this class EXCEPT on assignments that I have identified and for which you will have received significant guidance on appropriate use of such technologies. I will provide more information about the specific assignment when the time is appropriate in the course. You may not, however, construe this limited use as permission to use these technologies in any other facet of this course.

An example in which specific types of tasks are identified:

The use of generative AI tools (e.g. ChatGPT, Dall-e, etc.) is permitted in this course for the following activities:

  • Brainstorming and refining your ideas;
  • Fine tuning your research questions;
  • Finding information on your topic;
  • Drafting an outline to organize your thoughts; and
  • Checking grammar and style.

The use of generative AI tools is not permitted in this course for the following activities:

  • Impersonating you in classroom contexts, such as by using the tool to compose discussion board prompts assigned to you or content that you put into a Zoom chat;
  • Completing group work that your group has assigned to you, unless it is mutually agreed upon that you may utilize the tool;
  • Writing a draft of a writing assignment; and
  • Writing entire sentences, paragraphs or papers to complete class assignments.


If you do allow use of AI, be sure to familiarize your students with their limitations. Generative AI models are “trained” on already existing content. As a result, AI is retrospective, not forward-looking. It is as accurate as the information on which it was trained, and incorporates any biases that may have been present in the training materials. AI also fabricates responses.

You may therefore also want to include a statement like this one:

You are responsible for the information you submit based on an AI query (for instance, that it does not violate intellectual property laws, or contain misinformation or unethical content). Your use of AI tools must be properly documented and cited in order to stay within New York Tech’s Academic Integrity Policy.

Option 2: Prohibit all Use

This option is the simpler of the two, and there are fewer choices to make. Do, however, explain your reasoning to your students. Here are two examples.

Example 1:

This class is specifically a space for learning and practicing invaluable writing and researching processes that cannot be replicated by generative artificial intelligence (AI). While the ever-changing (and exciting!) new developments with AI will find their place in our workforces and personal lives, in the realm of education, this kind of technology can counteract learning. This is because the use of AI diminishes opportunities to learn from our experiences and from each other, to play with our creative freedoms, to problem-solve, and to contribute our ideas in authentic ways. In a nutshell, college is a place for learning, and this AI simply cannot do that learning for us.

Example 2:

In this course, we’ll be developing skills that are important to practice on your own, such as ... ADD SPECIFIC SKILLS HERE. Because use of generative AI may inhibit the development of those skills, I ask that you refrain from employing AI tools in this course. Using such tools for any purposes, or attempting to pass off AI-generated work as your own, will be reported as a violation of our Academic Integrity Policy.

Being transparent about the skills they will develop activates the metacognitive aspect of learning and enhances the development of those skills. You might even consider assigning a short essay at the end of the semester, asking them to reflect on how this course helped them develop those skills.