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Academic misconduct


The practice of examination by essays written by candidates in their own time depends on the honesty of candidates. Plagiarism threatens to undermine this common and often most appropriate way of assessment. Thus, both the university and the department view plagiarism with the utmost seriousness. At no stage in your studies will plagiarism be tolerated. The Detection of Plagiarism is easy. All examiners are experienced in detecting plagiarism. There are also efficient electronic and internet-based tools for checking whether any part of an essay comes from the public domain.

What is plagiarism?

Plagiarism is the presentation of another person’s words or ideas as your own, usually through failing to properly acknowledge the source of these ideas. All students must complete and pass the Academic Integrity Course before submitting their first piece of assessed work counting for more than 1% of a module.

  • Both direct quotation and close paraphrase need to be acknowledged.
  • Each instance of direct quotation or close paraphrase needs to be acknowledged separately.
  • The most common form of plagiarism is plagiarism of material from the public domain, i.e. unacknowledged use of published articles or books, of papers available on the internet, or of distributed course material.
  • Using another student’s work without proper acknowledgement constitutes plagiarism from sources outside the public domain.

Plagiarism: Your responsibility

In cases of confirmed plagiarism from the public domain the principle of ‘absolute liability’ applies: “The candidate shall be considered liable for the use of plagiarised material whether or not he or she has behaved (or intended to behave) dishonestly or unethically.” If at any point you are in doubt about whether your acknowledgments are sufficient, you are advised to consult your supervisor or the course tutor. Further details can be found in section 1.4 of the booklet Academic Misconduct: Policies, Guidelines and Procedures.

Other forms of academic misconduct

Candidates must not do any of the following:

  • cheat – fail to comply with the rules governing examinations e.g. by making arrangements to have unauthorised access to information
  • collude – assist another candidate to gain an advantage by unfair means, or receive such assistance
  • fabricate – mislead the examiners by presenting work for assessment in a way which intentionally or recklessly suggests that factual information has been collected which has not in fact been collected, or falsifies factual information
  • personate – act, appear, or produce work on behalf of another candidate in order to deceive the examiners, or solicit another individual to act, appear or produce work on their own behalf.

All cases of academic misconduct are viewed as very serious offences which may result in the exclusion from the university.

What happens if academic misconduct is suspected?

Where academic misconduct is suspected, the examiner(s) concerned will bring the matter to the immediate attention of the Philosophy Chair of the Board of Examiners. The Chair, or their nominee, will determine whether there is a case of academic misconduct to be answered and the appropriate course of action. The Chair will consult, if necessary, with the Assistant Registrar for Student Progress (who may liaise with the SCA). If the Chair, or their nominee, determines that there is a case of academic misconduct to be answered, Academic Misconduct Procedures will be initiated.