Academic Misconduct.

If you've received a letter from the Academic Investigations team notifying you that you are under investigation for academic misconduct, we're here to help. You can read more about the process below, and if you send across the letter you have received from the Academic Investigations team to an advisor will get in touch to offer you some support.

If you haven’t already done so, we recommend that you read the university’s Academic Misconduct Guidance first. Their Academic Misconduct Flowchart gives a good overview of the process.


An academic misconduct investigation is when you have been accused of an assessment offence. A summary of the types of assessment offence this might include are:

  • Plagiarism - the presentation of another person’s work as your own, without proper attribution or reference. This can be intentional or unintentional.
  • Commissioning - the use of a third party to do your work.
  • Duplication - unacknowledged or unauthorised replication of your own work.
  • Falsification - unacknowledged invention or alteration of data, quotes or references.
  • Collusion – working with another student to produce work

When you submit your academic work it often goes through a program called Turnitin. This is a text matching software that indicates whether what you are submitting matches something that has already been written; whether that be by someone else or previously submitted work by yourself.

If your work comes back with a high percentage of matched text from either one or multiple sources and there is suspicion of academic misconduct, you will receive a written report which sets out the specific allegation, including relevant evidence, and you may be invited to a panel.

In some cases, usually instances where there is clear evidence of minor misconduct or poor academic practice, the chair of the Academic Misconduct Panel may decide to offer you a penalty straight away rather than arrange a panel meeting. This will be clearly stated in the letter you are sent, and you will have 10 working days to respond to let them know whether you accept the penalty or not.

It is up to you whether you accept the penalty. If you wish to present evidence for your case, or you are not happy with the penalty, you can request that a panel is convened. If you do not respond within 10 working days, the penalty will be automatically applied and the case closed. If you need help deciding whether you should accept a penalty or not, or have questions about the process, please get in touch with us at and we can advise you further.

This is a process which gives the Chair of the Department Academic Misconduct Panel the option to decide if a student’s work is a clear case of academic misconduct. If they make this decision and it is a low level offence and does not require a panel meeting, the Chair can immediately impose a penalty. If this does end up happening you will be sent lots of information and will be able to decide on how you would like to proceed.

This means that the academic investigation team is looking into your work and deciding whether academic misconduct has taken place. If they do decide that they need to investigate further, you will receive an email with a letter inviting you to respond in writing or in a meeting. You will also be sent a ‘request to investigate’ document, explaining why they have flagged up your work, along with the Turnitin report. It’s important that you respond to this email to confirm whether or not you will be attending the meeting. Make sure to keep an eye on your emails, but until you receive one from the Academic Investigations team, your grade will be withheld.

At the moment, Academic Misconduct panels are taking place over Teams. We would strongly encourage you to attend the panel if you are able, but there is the option to complete a written response form if you cannot make it. The panel will consist of a Chair, another academic member of staff, someone from Academic Investigations who will be taking minutes and yourself (along with a student or member of staff if you want to have someone with you).

The panel is your opportunity to respond to the allegation and explain how or why you think there may have been similarities in your work. The panel will ask you questions but will also give you space to say what you have prepared. Students are always given the chance to let the panel know if they have any mitigating or extenuating circumstances which could explain their actions. If they are accepted by the panel (who will need evidence) their circumstances will not excuse the misconduct but may be taken into account to reduce the level of any sanction. They will then outline the possible sanctions and next steps.

The panel meeting will last around 20 minutes. Following this, they will send you a copy of the meeting minutes and ask you to confirm if you agree that the minutes are correct. Once you have sent your response back, you will be given an outcome via email in around seven days.

Here are some of the questions that you may be asked in an academic misconduct panel:

  1. Did you receive the Request to Investigate report and all the documents related to the allegation?
  2. Have you completed the Avoiding Plagiarism Course on Moodle?
  3. Have you read the relevant section(s) on assessment offences / academic misconduct in the UG/PGT Student Handbook?
  4. Have you attended any other sessions on understanding academic misconduct? For example, those run by CeDAS or introductory programme lectures. If YES, please provide details
  5. What is your understanding of the allegation made?
  6. Why do you think your Turnitin score is so high? [if applicable]
  7. Did you write this [essay/other coursework assessment]?
  8. Did you have any help? If YES, please provide details
  9. How did you approach the research?
  10. What sources did you use?
  11. How did you find these sources?
  12. Do you have any mitigating circumstances which the panel should be made aware of? If YES, please provide details and submit supporting evidence
  13. Do you have any questions?
  14. Please let the panel know if there is any further information you would like to be taken into account.

If the panel find that misconduct has occurred, there are a range of penalties they can impose, these include:

  • Deduct 10 percentage marks from your work (i.e. 56% reduces to 46%)
  • Cap the mark at a minimum pass (40%)
  • Award a mark of zero for the assessment (component of module affected)
  • Award a mark of zero for the module overall
  • In serious cases, the decision may be referred to the Senior Vice Principal or their nominee for a decision.

The panel’s decision will depend on things like the seriousness of the misconduct, your level of study and, whether there was any obvious intention to cheat. They will take all these factors into account, as well as any individual circumstances you have disclosed. As a guide, typically a first offence of clear plagiarism or duplication will mean that you are given a zero grade for the assignment. If it is a second offence your case will be referred to a Senior Vice-Principal to make a decision.

You do have the right to appeal the outcome within a limited time frame on certain grounds. See the academic advice pages of our website for more information on what you can and can’t appeal and how you submit this. You can always contact the Advice Centre to get guidance on whether you meet the appeals criteria or checking over your appeals forms.

Go to Academic Appeals

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