The UC Davis Honor Code preceded the Code of Academic Conduct and the Office of Student Judicial Affairs. In the simple form it read as "I shall not cheat on, or knowingly give or receive assistance on, examinations, and I shall not condone cheating by other persons". When the student body numbered in the mere thousands, it served as a self policing code that allowed students to wander out around campus with blue books and take their tests without a proctor.

Infractions of the code were handled by the Welfare Council, a group composed of students that met in private, listened to the testimony of the accuser, the accused and any witnesses. They then passed a judgment to the administration, including a recommendation for discipline that could include expulsion. Members of the Welfare Council were appointed by the student government. The Honor Code was originally proposed by Professor Charles Titus (namesake of the former Titus Hall) in January of 1912.

After 65 years, the Welfare Council and Honor Code were disbanded at the request of both students and faculty in 1976, possibly due to the growing student body, or possibly as part of a national shift away from similar Honor Codes and trusting educational environments at other institutions of higher learning. Questions on how effective the Honor Code were asked as early as the 1930s; however, UCD was the last school in the UC System to use the honor code, using it for more than twenty years after the other schools abandoned it.