Academic integrity is central to the work and function of the University. The Student Academic Integrity Policy and Academic Misconduct Procedure are used to consider concerns raised around the integrity of work submitted for credit or award from the University. The Procedure does not consider whether or not a student intended to commit academic misconduct, but only that academic misconduct occurred. Action may be taken against current students regarding recently submitted work, or against current or former students regarding previously submitted and ratified assessment or awards.
Possible outcomes (sanctions)
Where academic misconduct is found to have occurred in a taught programme, an academic sanction must be applied. The three academic sanctions are:
- A: A mark of 0 or grade of F is awarded for the component of assessment in question;
- B: A mark of 0 or grade of F is awarded for the component in question and the module mark kept at the minimum pass mark; or
- C: A mark of 0 or grade of F is awarded for the component in question and marks for all modules at that level will be kept at the minimum pass mark. (This means all modules at the same level as the component affected will be capped at the pass mark, whether they are completed before or after the hearing.)
If the case has been referred to a University-level hearing, those Panels may also apply one of the Student Misconduct sanctions, which include removal of credit, suspension and expulsion from the University.
For students on postgraduate research degrees the normal sanction is expulsion.
The University defines a range of examples of types of academic misconduct:
Plagiarism. Plagiarism involves taking the work of another person or source and using it as if it were one’s own. The source of the original material is hidden from the marker by not referencing it properly, or by paraphrasing it without acknowledgement, or by not using quotations correctly, or by not mentioning it at all. Work includes, but is not restricted to, written work, ideas, musical compositions, computer programs, laboratory or survey results, diagrams, graphs, drawings and designs. Plagiarism may occur in all forms of assessment, including written examinations. Where one student takes the work of another (without proper acknowledgement) this is also potentially an act of collusion (see below).
Self-plagiarism (or double submission). Self-plagiarism (or double submission) is resubmitting previously submitted work on one or more occasions (without proper acknowledgement) for separate blocks of credit. This may include the re-use of text, research data, or other information, without specific reference between one assessment and another. It will not normally include work submitted for reassessment/re-take within the same assessment. It may also relate where content which has previously appears in published articles or similar where this has not been acknowledge, this is particularly relevant for students on Postgraduate Research Awards (see Code of Practice for the Conduct of Postgraduate Research Degree Programmes).
Collusion. Collusion occurs when, unless with official approval (for example in the case of some forms of group projects), two or more students collaborate in the preparation and production of work which is ultimately submitted by each in an identical, or similar, form and/or is represented by each to be the product of their individual efforts. Collusion also occurs where there is unauthorised co-operation between a student and another person in the preparation and production of work which is presented as the student’s own (see also contracting another, below). The act of one student allowing another access to their own work is considered an act of collusion by both parties, regardless of intent. Where one student takes the work of another (without proper acknowledgement), this is potentially an act of plagiarism (see above).
Falsifying experimental or other investigative results. This could involve a range of things that make it appear that information has been collected by scientific investigation, the compilation of questionnaire results, interviews etc. whereas, in reality, it has been made up or altered. Where data has been acquired from another source without acknowledgement this could also be plagiarism, self-plagiarism and/or collusion (see above).
Falsification of authorship, which includes:
a) Contracting another to write a piece of assessed work / Writing a piece of assessed work for another. This involves any means whereby work (in whole or in part) is completed on behalf of another which is then submitted for assessment. It includes assessments done for someone else in full or in part by a fellow student, a friend, or family member as well as “commercial services” (for example Essay Mills). It includes someone sitting an examination for someone else. It also covers obtaining material from internet ‘cheat sites’ or other sources of work. In cases where one student of the University undertakes work for another, the ‘commissioned’ student will be subject to referral to the Student Misconduct Procedure. Sanctions will normally apply to both students. The contracting, or seeking to contract, of another to produce work, or producing work for another, may be considered an act of misconduct under the Student Misconduct Procedure/Fitness to Practise Procedure whether or not the work is submitted for assessment.
b) Unauthorised use of AI. Using Generative ‘Artificial Intelligence’ (AI) or other computer-based process to generate work which is then submitted in whole or in part towards credit or award. This could include work which is written using AI where that use is not permitted even when subsequently edited by the student. It could include the use of paraphrasing software and technology that rewrites text even when subsequently edited by the student (these are also covered in c. below).
c) Using means to disguise or alter the content of an assessment.
This might include the use of ‘text in an image’ (that is text in an image file which may disguise it from text matching software), paraphrasing software or other means used to disguise part or all the content of assessment in any way which could give an unfair advantage. These actions are aggravating factors in other forms of academic misconduct and could be considered misconduct in their own right.
Breaching the University Examination Rules, which includes:
a) Taking unauthorised material (including electronic devices) into an examination.
This involves taking materials, notes or electronic devices of any sort, other than those specifically permitted, into any examination, whether or not they could be used to gain advantage and whether used or not. It includes any ‘smart’ devices, or devices with a ‘memory’ function, and any written material, not previously and specifically exempted, which could be used to give an unfair advantage during the examination. It is not dependent on the actual use of, or an intention to use, any material or device that may have been taken into an examination. It would also include a student having access to additional material/information within accepted material, such as notes within a permitted book in an ‘open book examination’, or accessing material that is not expressly permitted such as via a computer/laptop where one is used as either part of the examination or as part of a Reasonable Adjustment Plan.
b) Copying from, or communicating with, another examination candidate during an examination.
A student must not communicate in any way with another student during an examination, must not disturb other students, nor copy from them during an examination.
Bribery. A student must not offer or give any member of academic or professional service staff money, gifts or any other advantage which is intended to induce or reward impropriety in the marking and/or processing of the student’s examination or assessment. Bribery is morally wrong and a criminal offence. It exposes the University and its employees to the risk of prosecution, fines and imprisonment as well as endangering the University’s reputation. As such all cases will involve a non-academic misconduct element and must be considered by a Student Misconduct Panel or Fitness to Practise Procedure.
Failure to correctly obtain necessary approval. Failure to gain necessary approval before undertaking an assessment may, where such failure offers potential unfair advantage, for example starting or progressing with research for a dissertation/major project without necessary ethical approval (at any level of study).
Other. Exceptionally, other forms of academic misconduct may be considered. In such instances, the details of the concerns, and the reasons that they are considered academic misconduct, must be clearly stated in the notification of a case and in all records of formal consideration of that case.
Notification and timescales
Depending on the nature and timing of the allegation, you may be informed in different ways. For coursework it might be by the tutor who initially notices the concern via the normal assessment feedback mechanism, in an examination the invigilator, by the School Office or Academic Misconduct Officer (AMO) reviewing the concern.
Timescale for the consideration of cases
The procedure sets out a target timescale for the consideration of cases. The University will aim to review the issues as speedily as possible. However, some cases are more complex than others and an AMO may need time to work with tutors to compile the relevant evidence. Should the case be referred to a hearing, timing will depend on the scheduling of the next School or University level hearing. Should the consideration of your case exceed the expect that set out in the timeline, the University will seek to keep you informed of any delays.
Schools appoint members of academic staff to act as Academic Misconduct Officers (AMOs). Their role is to review the evidence available to see if there is a case to answer. They may liaise with the person raising the initial concern, to guide them in collating the evidence and to make an academic judgment on whether there is a case to answer. The AMO does not investigate a case and does not decide that academic misconduct has occurred.
Hearing the case
The majority of cases are considered at a School hearing. Those deemed ‘most serious’ are considered by University level panels. Decisions at School hearings are undertaken by a nominee appointed by the Dean of School. Decisions at University level are taken by panels established under the Student Misconduct Procedure.
Some students at earlier stages of undergraduate study may be offered the option to accept that the academic misconduct has occurred and to receive the minimum sanction without the case going to a hearing. If you are eligible for this option you will be informed of this following the AMO review.
Support and representation
Students attending hearings may be accompanied by one person. Normally that person would act as a ‘supporter’ however, in some circumstances, they may act as a ‘representative’ speaking on behalf of the student. See guidance available in this document.
Mitigating circumstances cannot be considered in relation to academic misconduct. A hearing held under the Academic Misconduct Procedure is not permitted to take into consideration mitigating circumstances when deciding if academic misconduct has occurred.
Reasonable adjustment and student support plans
The University has appropriate mechanisms for the consideration of Reasonable Adjustment Plans (RAPs), so a hearing held under the AMP will not take them into account in considering whether or not academic misconduct has occurred.
If the nature of the RAP is such that adjustments will need to be made to assist you through the process of being considered under the Procedure then these can be made. Due to the confidential nature of RAPs staff considering your case (for example the Academic Misconduct Officer)will not normally be automatically aware of any adjustments that need to be made and you are advised to liaise with them to ensure they are aware of any required adjustments.
Advice and guidance
You should raise your initial questions with relevant staff in your school, such as your Personal Tutor, Student Progression Adiminstrator (SPA), the relevant tutor for the assessment in questions or the School Academic Misconduct Officer (AMO). If you are unsure who to speak to, please contact your School Office.
Individual independent advice to students is available from the Students’ Union’s Advice Centre.
Further information about the Procedure, not individual cases, is available from the University’s Quality Management Office by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
Guidance on academic integrity and academic good practice
You should receive information on academic integrity and academic good practice as part of your programme, through induction, in the programme handbook, assessment briefs and course materials. You may also get further support specific sessions and from tutors on your programme, such as your personal tutor.
Students can get lots of information and guidance on academic good practice via the University Library Skills pages, including one-to-one sessions.
Unhappy with the outcome?
If you have received the outcome of a formal hearing, either at School or University level and you are unhappy with the outcome, you may be able to submit a Request for Review (appeal) against the decision that misconduct occurred and any sanction imposed of the outcome on one of the grounds below:
- That new and relevant evidence is available which, for good and reasonable cause, was not available to an earlier stage of the Procedure (as the case may be). (Exceptional circumstances are needed to explain why any evidence could not have been made available);
- That there was a relevant and significant defect, error or mistake in the conduct of the earlier stage of this Procedure which casts reasonable doubt on the decision reached by the Dean of School or Panel hearing (as the case may be) in that the decision might have been different if the defect, error or mistake had not occurred; or
- That the decision reached at the earlier stage of this Procedure is manifestly unreasonable. In this context, unreasonable will be taken to mean perverse, i.e., the decision was not one that a similar process might have reached.
There is no entitlement to further review of a case unless one or more of the grounds above are established.
You will need to complete the Request for Review form and send this via email to email@example.com. The timescale to submit your appeal is 10 working days from the date of the email confirming the outcome of your original hearing.
When we receive your Request for Review, a senior member of staff will review your request to see if it is submitted within the timescale and that it meets any of the valid grounds for further consideration. If your request is valid then the matter may be referred back to an earlier stage or you will be invited to attend a Student Misconduct Appeal Panel. If your request is not valid, we will write to you to explain why.
Impact on your progression, graduation, placement or studying abroad
If you are due to progress between levels of study but have an assessment which is subject to a case being considered under the Academic Misconduct Procedure, the Procedure allows for students to register at the previous level in order to have access to University facilities and to attend classes at the next level informally until there has been an outcome from the academic misconduct process. If you have any concerns or questions about how you can access your programme of study, in the first instance please contact your school office.
Where there has been a finding against you or an ongoing consideration of an allegation against you under a University procedure such as Academic Misconduct, Code of Conduct, Fitness to Practise or Student Misconduct, then you may not be eligible to participate in some activities, such as studying or working abroad or professional placements.
Restrictions may also be imposed by partner institutions and, as such, details of restrictions will depend on the programme of study and the proposed partner institution. If you have concerns about this, you are advised to contact your School.
- Impact of a finding of academic misconduct on completion timescales, funding and visas
A finding of academic misconduct as a minimum will mean you receive a 0 for the component in question, this may mean you need to resit the assessment, re-take the module or fail the module. All of these may mean it takes longer to complete your programme of study, this can have implications on student funding and visas.
- The University does not permit students with outstanding cases of academic misconduct to attend the Graduation ceremonies.
You will not be able to attend the ceremonies until any case has been concluded. Should an academic sanction be applied as a result of a case, you will normally need to address that prior to attending graduation . If you have any concerns, in the first instance please contact your school office.
- Withdrawal from the University.
Should you choose to withdraw partway through a case the University will normally continue to complete the case, for example to a hearing, or exceptionally pause the case putting on note on your file and should you wish to return to the University the University would reserve the right to re-open the original case before you would be able to re-join.
- Transcripts and references.
At present the University does not explicitly record academic misconduct decision on transcripts. Information on decision may be included in references (see Procedure for details). Academic misconduct may also affect your current or future Fitness to Practice or your ability to register with a Professional, Statutory and Regulating Body (PSRB) dependent on what course you are completing. For example, the Solicitors Regulating Authority may refuses applications of those who have been found to have committed academic misconduct. You will need to check with the specific PSRB for details.
- Notification of sponsors.
Where a student is sponsored to study at the University, the agreement may require that the University inform the sponsor of any decision made under the procedure.
If you have followed every stage of the AMP and you are not satisfied with the outcome, the Office of the Independent Adjudicator (OIA) which is the ombudsman for Higher Education may be able to undertake an independent review of your complaint. You will need a letter from the University which states that you have completed the University’s internal procedure (a Completion of Procedures letter).
Further information about the OIA’s scheme can be found at www.oiahe.org.uk.