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Academic integrity and misconduct

The University is committed to fair assessment procedures for all students. Our academic integrity policy is designed to uphold the highest standards of honesty in your assessed work at all times. When the principles of academic integrity are breached, it is called academic misconduct.

The University is committed to supporting and educating its students about academic integrity to ensure that its importance to the quality of everyone’s education is widely understood.

The Student Academic Integrity Policy sets out the principles that underpin fair assessment and ensures the quality of all academic awards made by the University. It tells you what is expected of you when you submit work for assessment.

Supporting you to develop your academic integrity skills

The University’s Learning Skills Hub,developed by Learning Developers and Learning & Research Librarians, provides a wealth of knowledge, skills, guidance, and support to all students  The hub has been  with the needs of students as the focus. Students can access information on a wide range of topics including Study Skills, Writing Skills, Academic Skills, Referencing Skills, Digital Skills, Research Skills, and much more. You can learn more about academic integrity by completing the Academic Integrity and Plagiarism module .

Academic Misconduct

When the principles of academic integrity are breached, it is called academic misconduct. Academic misconduct falls broadly into two categories:

  • Plagiarism
  • Other types of misconduct such as cheating in an exam, submitting work that someone else has written (e.g. contract cheating), and falsifying research.

When there is a suspicion that academic misconduct has occurred, the University will initiate its academic misconduct process. The Academic Misconduct Procedures tell you exactly what will happen if there are grounds to suspect you have breached the student academic integrity policy.

Academic misconduct covers a number of behaviours and activities. The following is a summary only; for a full explanation, please read the Student Academic Integrity Policy and the Academic Misconduct Procedures.

  • A common form of academic misconduct is plagiarism. Plagiarism is the act of presenting the material, ideas and arguments of another person as your own, in work submitted for assessment, without acknowledgement. It is done in a way that may deceive the reader as to the source. It has a wide definition and includes incorrect referencing, collusion with other students and duplication of work for more than one assessment.
  • Other forms of misconduct include:
    • Contract cheating, which is when another person writes assessed work for you, whether or not you pay them. Sourcing essays from the internet, either pre-written or bespoke, or asking a friend or family member to write for you, is contract cheating. In research, all the data collection, results and presentation must be original and your own. You must always follow established ethical research protocols.
    • Using unauthorised material during an on-site exam, such as a textbook, mobile phone or search engine.
    • Sitting an exam for someone else, or having someone sit for you.

Everyone has a role to play in maintaining academic integrity at the University. As part of our 'whole community' approach, everyone is responsible for understanding academic integrity and role-modelling it to others.

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

  • Take responsibility for your own work.
  • Refrain from any actions that would give you an unfair advantage over other students.
  • Be honest in presenting your work for assessment and ensure it is your own. You must not get others to complete the work for you, in whole or in part.
  • Acknowledge the work of others, by including a complete reference where it contributes to your work, and following the required conventions for referencing the work of others and rules of your academic subject area when presenting your own work, as explained in your course or module handbook.
  • Follow the ethical conventions and requirements for your academic subject area as explained in your course and module handbooks.
  • Maintain the standards of conduct which are appropriate to you as a practitioner if you are on a professional course.
  • Behave with respect and courtesy when debating with others even when you disagree with them.
  • Support others to work with academic integrity; for instance, by explaining how to work with academic integrity and by encouraging others to avoid unacceptable academic practices.

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’. You should do this in all academic work including, but not limited to, essays, reports, case studies, presentations, academic posters, code and music.

The citation links to a reference list, usually provided in 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:

  • Acknowledge facts, data, phrases, arguments and ideas you use to develop your discussion in your academic work.
  • Acknowledge a writer who has influenced your thinking, even if you don’t use their words directly.

References provide the reader with details of:

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

Expectations of standards of citation and referencing should conform to those agreed institutionally or at course level. Unless your course follows a referencing system aligned to your professional field, you will use the Harvard style of bibliographical citation and referencing. The current version of Harvard defined by the University is detailed in the Cite Them Right publication (Pears and Shields, 2022). This publication covers most systems of citation and referencing, and is available in the library, or you can purchase your own copy from the Bookshop. You can also access the electronic version of the publication via your Blackboard.

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.

You can learn more about how to reference by completing the Introduction to Referencing and Advanced Referencing modules on the Learning Skills Hub.

The detection and assessment of academic misconduct is primarily a matter of academic judgement. However, Turnitin is a tool used by educational institutions worldwide to assist academic staff in their decision-making when establishing individual cases where action must be taken. 

Turnitin is a form of software that compares the work you submit with a database containing millions of other texts, including essays submitted to other institutions, journal articles, webpages, eBooks and other open access information. This is referred to as ‘similarity checking’.

Turnitin is used to similarity check all Undergraduate level and Master's level coursework, unless your tutor specifically tells you otherwise.

Where Turnitin is used for similarity checking, the University’s Student Academic Integrity Policy requires that the University will:

  • Give you information on how we use text-matching software as part of most assessments.
  • Give you an opportunity to self-check at least one draft assessment prior to each summative assessment submission, for work submitted via Turnitin. Specific submission points are set up at module level to this effect.
  • Help you understand the meaning of originality reports and how to improve your work.

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

Learn more about using Turnitin with the Introduction to Turnitin module on the Learning Skills Hub.

The penalties for academic misconduct can be serious. It is important that you read the University’s Student Academic Integrity Policy and Academic Misconduct Procedures

Students who are suspected of academic misconduct will have the relevant piece of 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 based on the principle that judgements about misconduct 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 misconduct are carried out fairly, thoroughly and impartially. This is achieved by the convening of independent panels of academic staff to investigate the alleged misconduct and, where appropriate, impose a suitable penalty.

Students facing charges of misconduct must:

  • Understand properly and fully the case being brought against them.
  • Be allowed to meet the panel or write to them in order to put their case.


If a student wishes to appeal the outcome of an academic misconduct investigation, they must submit an Academic Misconduct Appeal Form within 10 working days of notification of the written outcome of the relevant academic misconduct stage

The Academic Misconduct Procedure outlines how to request a review and the valid grounds for an appeal. If there are any questions or queries, contact the Early Resolution & Case Handling team by emailing

Support during an academic misconduct investigation

In the event of an academic misconduct investigation, students always have the opportunity to explain their position and are strongly encouraged to seek support as soon as possible from:

If you agree in writing, the Students’ Union or a Student Support Adviser can act on your behalf.

International Day of Action for Acadmci Intergirty

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Early Resolution & Case Handling Team
Students' Union