Plagiarism and Collusion

  • Plagiarism: Plagiarism is used as a general term to describe taking and using another’s thoughts and writings as one’s own.  Plagiarism can occur not only in essays and dissertations, but also in scientific experimentation, diagrams, maps, fieldwork, computer programmes, and all other forms of study where you are expected to work independently and produce original material.
  • Collusion: Collusion is the active cooperation of two or more students to deceive examiners in one of the ways set out in the Regulations governing Student Discipline. You will be guilty of collusion if you knowingly allow any of your academic work to be acquired by another person for presentation as if it were that person’s own work.  If you offer to provide work to another student to be passed off as their own you are guilty of collusion.

The University’s primary functions of teaching and research involve a search for knowledge and the truthful recording of the findings of that search.  Any action knowingly taken by a student which involves misrepresentation of the truth may be considered academic dishonesty and as such is an offence which the University believes should merit the application of very severe penalties.

Avoiding plagiarism and/or collusion

Learning Development runs a workshop on avoiding plagiarism and has study guides on the topic. Take a look at the team's online tutorial on avoiding plagiarism. Your student handbook is also a useful resource for plagiarism avoidance and will set out your department's policy about identifying plagiarism.

Departmental procedures: dealing with suspected and confirmed cases of plagiarism and/or collusion

Adobe Acrobat (PDF) Senate Regulation 11: Regulations governing Student Discipline (PDF)

Departmental investigation and consideration of allegations of plagiarism/collusion:

Your department will follow the procedures defined in the Regulations governing student discipline when investigating and considering allegations of plagiarism and/or collusion in work that is not assessed by written examination. The investigation will involve consideration of the case by the department's Plagiarism Officer.

Departmental level consideration of allegations of plagiarism/collusion may be followed by a hearing of a Student Discipline Panel if the severity of the offence or the complexity of the case deems it appropriate.

  • See regulation 11.47 to 11.57 for full details of the University's procedures for departmental investigation and consideration of allegations of plagiarism and/or collusion in assessed work (excluding written examinations)

Departmental penalties for plagiarism/collusion:

The penalties that departments are authorised to impose upon a student if he/she is found to have committed plagiarism/collusion are also defined in the regulations. A disciplinary panel has the power to impose penalties up to and including expulsion from the University.

Cheating in written examinations

Investigation and consideration of suspected cheating in written examinations is carried out at University-level by an 'Authorised Officer', rather than at departmental-level. The procedures are defined in the Regulations governing student discipline.

Further help

  • For students:
    Speak to your personal tutor, or another appropriate member of staff in your department (e.g. your Programme Director or Head of Department) without any delay if you are still unsure about what plagiarism is and how to avoid it. Don't risk a penalty. 
  • For departments:
    Contact your Plagiarism Officer or the Secretary to the Senate Student Discipline Committee ( | x2605), for advice on the operation of Senate Regulation 11.

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