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Academic misconduct

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What is academic misconduct?

academic misconduct wordcloud


Academic misconduct is defined by the University as:

"Any activity or attempted activity which gives an unfair advantage to one or more students over their peers"

(Taken from the Essential information for students on University regulations for academic year 2020/2021, p.1)

It is treated very seriously by the University.

If you are found to have acted in this way you may receive a penalty, the most serious being exclusion from the University. Therefore it is best to take steps to avoid it in the first place.

We are here to help and support you and develop your skills to avoid accusations of academic misconduct.

Remember these rules are also there to protect your rights as well as providing sanctions for misconduct.

Make sure you are aware of all the student regulations

To see the full set of student regulations go to:



There are many different types of academic misconduct, including collusion and plagiarism.  See below for some examples (taken from the Academic Misconduct Regulations).


Collusion and Plagiarism

Group work is a legitimate form of study that you may be asked to engage with for an assignment.

For more advice on group work see


Collusion is where two or more students collaborate (or work together) to produce a piece of work. They then submit this piece of work as their own work. 

The original creator of the work may also be liable to the charge of academic misconduct if it is shown that they knowingly allowed their work to be used or shared.

In group work where the originator cannot be established the entire group may be deemed responsible to the charge of academic misconduct.

Tips for avoiding collusion:

  • Don't loan your work to other students.
  • Don't borrow work from current or previous students.

Plagiarism is the incorporation of someone else's work into your own work without proper acknowledgement of that source  in your work.

Academic work must be well-researched and evidence based. This evidence should be from academic / expert sources.

This includes not only text from articles and books or web-pages, but also lecture notes, images, programming codes, diagrams, tables etc. 

It is the 'idea' that counts and which you need to acknowledge or credit.

If you paraphrase from a source (that is put someones' ideas into your own words) you still need to acknowledge that source.

It is also important when paraphrasing that you do not change the meaning of the original.


Self-plagiarism is duplicating and submitting work which is the same (or partly) identical to work you have submitted in the past.

Tips for avoiding plagiarism

  • Make sure you know how to reference properly for your subject area. 
  • Avoid copying and pasting text especially from electronic sources. It is not good practice to copy and paste sections of information, even if it is correctly referenced. This could result in you not having enough word count left in your assignment for your own analysis and commentary.
  • Keep a record of where you have taken notes or quotations from.
  • Get advice from your tutor or academic librarian to make sure you are referencing correctly.
  • Don't submit the same work for different assessments.

Other examples of academic misconduct

Bribery or blackmail is offering money or any other incentives to somebody or coercing another to gain an unfair advanage. 

This is engaging in actions with the intention of gaining an unfair advantage over others taking the same examination, or knowingly assisting others to do this. 

Presenting false data that you have claimed to have carried out, or to deliberately mislead others. This includes manipulating and omission of genuine data or tampering with or adding to data.

This is falsely submitting a case for an extension, deferred submission of for extenuating circumstances in order to gain an unfair advantage.

Interfering with recorded marks to gain an unfair advantage.

This is the submission of work, originally by another person but which has been deliberately modified to make it look like your own piece of work.

Assuming the identity of another person with the intention to deceive or gain an unfair advantage. This can exist where a person assumes the identity with the intention of gaining an advantage for that student or that student is knowingly and willingly impersonated by another.

This is purchasing or commissioning a piece of work from another party which you then pass off as your own work. This includes work purchased from commercial internet assignment writing sites, other organisations or individuals. Please note that offering this service is now considered an illegal practice. (

Also please note that completing work for someone else who then submits this as their own work (even if it is at a different institution) is also considered an offence.

Sabotage is the act of deliberately destroying, damaging or obstructing the work of others.

This also includes deliberately stalling the progress of another's work to gain a personal advantage.

This is the stealing of another student's work.

This is the possession of confidential staff material relating to an assessment which has been obtained without their consent and would give you an unfair advantage.

This involves conduct which deviates from acceptable behaviour.

The  full-list is available in Appendix 1 of the Academic Misconduct Regulations.

Penalties for academic misconduct

There are various stages to the discipline procedures:

Stages for disciplining for academic misconduct
Stage Example Penalties (taught provision)
Informal Occurring in a formative assessment and where there was no intent to deceive. Informal warning with support.
Stage 1

Minor and/or first offence

e.g small amount of reproduced work; failure to follow assessment instructions; resubmitting of work; collaboration in certain areas but could be due to lack of awareness. 

Given advice and support on how to avoid academic misconduct in the future. Mark would be awarded omitting the academic misconduct issues.

Failure with opportunity for reassessment where permissible. The mark for the relevant component will be capped at the relevant pass mark.

Failure with opportunity for reassessment where permissible. The mark for the overall module will be capped at the relevant pass mark.

Failure of the module with opportunity to restudy the module or an alternative.

Stage 2

Major case and/or second or more offence

e.g. Strong indications that intention to gain unfair advantage; collaborative work showing significant similarities with intention to gain unfair advantage; significant amount of fabricated data; work commissioned from someone else; taking work from somebody else and claiming it as own; using inducements or threats to gain advantage; behaviour in examination that is deemed gaining an unfair advantage. 


As above, plus:

Failure of the module with opportunity to restudy the module or an alternative with a capped mark.

Failure of the module and withdrawal from course (credits will be granted up to that point of study).



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