Academic malpractice

As a student, you are expected to cooperate in the learning process throughout your programme of study by completing assignments of various kinds that are the product of your own study or research. For most students this does not present a problem, but occasionally, whether unwittingly or otherwise, a student may commit what is known as plagiarism or some other form of academic malpractice when carrying out an assignment. This may come about because students have been used to different conventions in their prior educational experience or through general ignorance of what is expected of them.

This guidance is designed to help you understand what we regard as academic malpractice and hence to help you to avoid committing it. You should read it carefully, because academic malpractice is regarded as a serious offence and students found to have committed it will be penalized. Punishments can include a mark of zero (with or without loss of credits), failing the whole unit, demotion to a lower class of degree or even expulsion from the University.

Academic malpractice includes plagiarismcollusionfabrication or falsification of results and anything else intended by those committing it to achieve credit that they do not properly deserve. Please follow the above links for full definitions of these terms as well lists of “do’s” and “don’t’s”. To give you an idea of what we mean by plagiarism, collusion and fabrication or falsification of results, have a look at the following examples of misdemeanours that markers will typically look for. You may also want to refer to the following weapons against academic malpractice.

Collusion is any agreement to hide someone else’s individual input to collaborative work with the intention of securing a mark higher than either you or another student might deserve.

On the other hand, collaboration is a perfectly legitimate academic activity in which students are required to work in groups as part of their programme of research or in the preparation of projects and similar assignments.

Excerpt / SOSS definition of collusion

In addition to the advice on this page, your programme handbook may also give advice on how to avoid academic malpractice in the context of your areas of study. Your discipline areas may  also design assessments so as to help you avoid the temptation to commit academic malpractice. Please also bear in mind that work you submit may be screened electronically to check against other material on the web and in other submitted work.

Please remember that if you commit any form of academic malpractice, teaching staff will not be able to assess your individual abilities objectively or accurately. Any short-term gain you might have hoped to achieve will be cancelled out by the loss of proper feedback you might have received, and in the long run such behaviour is likely to damage your overall intellectual development, to say nothing of your self-esteem. You are the one who loses.