Students Staff

myEssex: the student portal

New students

My course

Study resources

Exams and coursework

Health and wellbeing

Access and disability

Campus and travel info

Student experience

Student communities

Money matters


Get help and support

Academic offences and academic integrity

We expect you to:

  • behave with honesty and integrity in relation to coursework, examinations and other assessed work
  • follow our conventions for academic writing (including appropriate referencing of sources) and ethical considerations

If you don’t follow these rules you may be charged with having committed an academic offence.

What is an academic offence?

An academic offence is an attempt to gain an unfair advantage in any formal assessment, such as coursework and exams.

Examples of academic offences

  • Plagiarism (copying or using other people’s work without proper referencing).
  • Cheating in exams.
  • Purchasing a pre-written essay for assessment.
  • Falsifying data or evidence.
  • Carrying out research without any necessary ethical approval.

You can find more examples in section A of the academic offences procedures.

How to avoid committing an offence

You can commit an offence even if you have no intention of cheating, so you must be vigilant when submitting work for assessment. It's your responsibility to ensure you're familiar with the principles of academic integrity.

Academic integrity, authorship and plagiarism tutorial

Complete the tutorial so you understand academic integrity and authorship, and learn how to avoid plagiarism or self-plagiarism.

Speaking to your department

Discuss any concerns about your work with your lecturer, Personal Tutor or Supervisor. Some departments have different conventions, so if you're studying modules across different disciplines, you should seek advice from each relevant department.

Your induction

During your induction, your department or school will show you what's expected of you, particularly in relation to referencing and avoiding plagiarism. Information about academic offences is also available in your student handbook.

Talent Development Centre

Our Talent Development Centre can help you with all aspects of academic study and assignment preparation. Come along to our Student Services Hub in the Silberrad Student Centre to find out about our programme of workshops and writing clinics.

Click here to find out more about University's proofreading policy.

If you're suspected of committing an academic offence

The process followed will depend on the severity of the offence. Our leaflet explains what will happen next and what you need to do. If you have any concerns, you can contact SU Advice for free, independent advice or email

Can I appeal?

You may only appeal if you have valid grounds and must do so within 10 days of receiving written confirmation of the penalty.

You can appeal against an academic offence penalty if you have valid grounds. These are:

  • There is new evidence, which for good reason was not previously available and which might have materially affected the outcome.
  • The Academic Offences Procedures have not been followed correctly and this disadvantaged your case.
  • There is evidence of prejudice and/or bias during the procedures.
  • On the balance of probabilities, the facts of the case did not justify the decision that you have committed an academic offence.
  • The penalty imposed was unreasonable with regard to all the circumstances of the case.

If you are studying at the University of Essex, you should download and complete the Academic Offences Appeal Form below and email it to

If you are studying at a Partner Institution, you should contact your education provider or visit their website in order to obtain and submit the form.

You must provide all evidence that you have in relation to the appeal and you will not normally be permitted to submit further evidence after the submission of the Academic Offences Appeal Form.

What happens after I appeal?

Appeals are considered by a Faculty Dean that has not previously considered the case. If the Dean agrees that the appeal has grounds, then the matter will be considered by an Appeals Committee which you will be invited to attend. Once an Appeals Committee has considered the case, they may rescind or amend the penalty or may agree to uphold the original decision.