These regulations set out what will happen if you are accused of an Academic Offence and the possible penalties that may be applied to you if you are found guilty.
What are Academic Offences?
Examples of academic offence include:
Plagiarism: you have tried to pass someone else’s work off as your own, without referencing or citing its owner.
Cheating: taking notes into exams, copying off your neighbour, using equipment not permitted in the exam, getting hold of an exam paper before the exam.
Collusion: you work with another student on an assignment and then hand it in as your own/ the other student hands it in as their own work (doesn’t apply to assessments set as group work) – if proven both students will be penalised.
Misleading material: using data which has been invented or unfairly obtained, or using work which you have had assessed previously without referencing it. Paying or asking another person to write or assist with the work.
Misconduct in research: inventing data, mispresenting data or interests or involvement (or all of them), or not following procedures set out for you. Allowing unreasonable risk or harm to research subjects or participants or the environment e.g. improper handling of personal information collected during your research.
There may be other examples not listed.
How to avoid committing an academic offence:
Any assignments not assigned as group work should be your work and yours alone.
Make sure all books, journals and internet sources are referenced and properly cited in the text. Neglecting to reference properly simply because you forgot will not find you any less guilty and you will still be penalised. So it pays to always double-check your work. If you are not sure about how to reference properly then check the guidance available on Blackboard or the Portal, or ask one of your lecturers to point you in the right direction.
Extenuating circumstances cannot be used to excuse committing an academic offence – if something has happened which is affecting your ability to do your work then you can go to your tutor and negotiate an extension or hand in the work you have done, then apply to redo the work through extenuating circumstances.
What happens if you are found guilty of committing an Academic Offence?
The University Academic Offences Committee will recommend to the Board of Examiners whether to restore the right to reassessment and you will receive one of 8 possible penalties:
- No action is taken
- You receive a warning
- A mark of zero is received for:
- The piece of work or exam for which the offence was committed
- Every assessed piece of work in the unit/module (the most common penalty for a 3rd year undergraduate).
- All work in all units/modules in the semester concerned.
- All work for the academic year concerned.
- All work for the academic year concerned and you have no opportunity to re-enrol or be re-assessed
For undergraduate students, to allow an original pass mark given for the piece of assessed work or examination (“merit mark”) to stand, and to reduce by a single class the final award to be conferred at the conclusion of the programme of study.
You will receive a stronger penalty if:
- You planned your offence
- It isn’t your first academic offence
- The offence is major (for example: if your offence is plagiarism: the entire essay is stolen from another author(s) as opposed to a small piece)
- You have stolen another student’s assessed work
- Your offence has had a negative impact on other students.
The penalty will also depend on what year of your course/type of course (e.g. undergraduate / postgraduate) you are on. Penalties for third year undergraduate students and postgraduates are more severe on the basis that by now you ought to know better.
In the majority of cases: if you are found guilty of an academic offence in your third year then you will not be able to graduate with an honours degree – that is three years of your hard work thrown away with both hands! Postgraduates will not receive the full postgraduate award.
NB As with the law, ignorance of these regulations is no defence. Therefore it is in your interests to familiarise yourself with their contents. Additional notes on originality of coursework can be found in Annex F of the appropriate award level (Undergraduate/Taught Postgraduate/etc) Regulations.
The Regulations can be found here: Part A – Regulations Governing Academic Offences 16-17