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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

The Talent Development Centre offers workshops and one-to-one adviser appointments.

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 studentprogress@essex.ac.uk.

  • 2016-17

    Academic offences guidelines

    Adobe PDF File
    (54K)

    Guidelines on what to do if you're accused of committing an academic offence and the appeals process.

Further information

Read our full policy on academic offences and the procedures involved if you're suspected of committing an academic offence.