The University is committed to fair assessment procedures for all students. Our Plagiarism Policy is designed to help you in understanding what plagiarism is and how to avoid it in your work. 

Plagiarism is the act of presenting material, ideas and arguments of another person/persons as one’s own and can include copying, collusion and duplication. Academic Misconduct is any act of direct cheating, including the purchase or commissioning of assessments that are prepared by others.

Academic misconduct threatens fair assessment, which in itself can then disadvantage all students and challenge the quality of awards made by the University. The University is therefore committed to enabling students to avoid plagiarism through a programme of support and education. 

In addition to educating for the avoidance of plagiarism, the University is committed to detecting and acting when a case of plagiarism is suspected.


2.1 Plagiarism is the act of presenting the material, ideas, and arguments of another person/persons as one’s own. To copy sentences, phrases or even particular striking expressions without acknowledgement, in a manner which may deceive the reader as to the source, is plagiarism; to paraphrase, in a manner which may deceive the reader, is likewise plagiarism. Plagiarism is identified in the composition of the work submitted by a student for assessment.

2.2 Copying , i.e. incorporating into an assessment, material from books, journals, the web, the work of another student or any other source, without acknowledgement and submitting it in verbatim or paraphrased form as one’s own, is an act of plagiarism.

2.3 Collusion through the submission of work for assessment that purports to be the student’s own work but is in fact jointly written with another student or other students, is an act of plagiarism.

2.4 Duplication of material means the inclusion in coursework (including essays, projects, reports, dissertations and theses) of a significant amount of material that is identical or substantially similar to material which has already been submitted by the student for the same or any other programme or course at this University or elsewhere.

In order to distinguish between your own work and that of others, you should ensure that:

  • (a) phrases, sentences and passages taken verbatim from a published work are placed in quotation marks, or indented, and the source is acknowledged
  • (b) paraphrasing, ideas and arguments taken from a published work are clearly referenced
  • (c) the inclusion of any other intellectual property, for example, illustrations, diagrams, proofs, designs, computer software, in written text or project work is clearly identified and acknowledged
  • (d) the inclusion of material from electronic sources is carefully referenced and only web sites freely accessible to the marker should be used
  • (e) the use of the work of others is not of such volume or importance to the submitted work as to compromise your ownership of the work
  • (f) no significant collaboration has occurred where you are required to submit the work as an individual piece. Where work is done collaboratively and a single piece of work is submitted, the collaboration must be permitted by the programme director and it must be declared on the work
  • (g) you have not presented previously or simultaneously for assessment in this University, or elsewhere, any work, or any substantial amount of such work, that you submit.

When writing a report or an essay, it is important that each time you use someone else’s ideas from a book, article, TV programme, newspaper report or conference proceeding, you tell your readers immediately in the text. This is called a ‘citation’. The citation links to a reference usually provided as a bibliography at the end of the work. (Failure to provide a reference may expose you to charges of plagiarism).

Citations are normally used to:

  • give support for arguments used in essays or dossiers
  • acknowledge a writer who has influenced your thinking

References provide details for the reader of:

  • the source of particular ideas and models
  • the source of quotations
  • the source of statistics or other data
  • the sources of diagrams, pictures or charts

Expectations of standards of citation and referencing should conform to those agreed institutionally. The University has adopted the Harvard style of bibliographical citation and referencing. The version of Harvard defined by the University is detailed in the Cite Them Right publication (Pears and Shields, 2010).This publication is available in the library or you can purchase your own copy from the Bookshop.

The University recognises that some disciplines require alternative systems, e.g. to meet professional standards at a national level. Where this is the case you will be given clear guidance on using the alternative system equivalent to that provided for the University standard.

A variety of plagiarism detection strategies will be used by staff to monitor overall levels of plagiaristic activity and when necessary to establish individual cases where action must be taken.

Turnitin compares your work with the Internet, other students’ work and with databases of journal articles and other published work. This is referred to as ‘Originality Checking’.

Turnitin will be used for Originality Checking for all undergraduate to postgraduate (Masters) level coursework which is in a word-processed form, unless your tutor specifically tells you otherwise.

Where Turnitin is used for Originality Checking, the University’s Plagiarism Policy requires that:

  • all coursework for levels 4-7 (undergraduate to postgraduate - Masters) will be submitted to Turnitin for originality checking - where it is in a format acceptable by Turnitin and unless your tutors feel it’s not appropriate because of the nature of the assessment (this will be the exception to the rule).
  • all students taking the assessment must submit to Turnitin.
  • you will be provided with a formative experience of Turnitin before you submit any work for final assessment for the first time.
  • you will have an opportunity, and be encouraged to, submit at least one draft and view the originality report for each piece of coursework you’re asked to submit to Turnitin.
  • there will be an educational focus on the use of Turnitin early on in your programme to help you understand the meaning of originality reports and avoid plagiarism.

Specific arrangements for your programme will be communicated by your programme tutors, typically in the programme handbook.

As well as familiarising yourself with these arrangements, you should refer to thestudent information document on Copyright and Data Protection available via the Blackboard HELP tab.

Additional guidance and information on Turnitin for students is also available via the Blackboard HELP tab.

More information about the University’s approach to preventing and dealing with plagiarism. The full Plagiarism Policy can be found here.

The penalties for plagiarism can be serious. It is important that you read in full the University’s policies and procedures on plagiarism which you can find on the Quality and Standards Office website.

Students who are suspected of plagiarising have the relevant work and personal circumstances investigated according to approved University procedures (see the Assessment Procedures Manual) .

These procedures aim to be clear and unambiguous and are predicated on the principle that judgements about plagiarism offences are academic ones. The procedures set out several possible courses of action and are designed to ensure that all students in the University are treated consistently.

The procedures are also designed to ensure that all investigations into suspected plagiarism are carried out fairly, thoroughly and impartially. This is achieved by the convening of independent panels of academic staff to investigate the alleged plagiarism and, where appropriate, award a suitable penalty. It is fundamental, as part of natural justice, that students facing charges of plagiarism must (i) understand properly and fully the case being brought against them, and (ii) be allowed to meet the panel or write to them in order to put their case.