What is an academic offence?

What can we help you with?

There are different academic offences but the most common one is plagiarism. Plagiarism is including or copying others’ work in your own work, intentionally or unintentionally, without properly crediting the original author(s).

Other academic offences include:

  • Collusion: when you work with another person on an individual piece of work to gain an unfair advantage
  • Falsification: when you present data, results, evidence which has been changed or isn’t true
  • Duplication: when you submit fully or parts of an old piece of work as a new piece of work
  • Essay mills: this is becoming a more frequent incident where you buy an essay online or get someone to write your essay for you and it is considered as a major offence.

All work that you submit is checked for plagiarism. Turnitin is the plagiarism software used by departments to check for any assessment offences.

What can I do to avoid an accusation of plagiarism?

Please remember that all students are automatically registered on the Moodle course for plagiarism. It would be beneficial to go through this course at least once to help solidify your understanding on this. Also, CeDAS offer workshops on plagiarism as well as one-to-one writing tutorials, proofreading scheme and self-study resources.

I’ve been accused of plagiarism, who can help?

If your work is suspected of plagiarism then you’ll receive an email and letter inviting you to attend a meeting - some departments refer to these meetings as Assessment Offence Panels. The Chair of the Academic Misconduct Panel leads the meeting with another academic member of staff and a note taker. The tutor(s) that marked your work and flagged up the assessment offence won’t be at the meeting.

Being accused of academic misconduct can be an intimidating experience, but we’re here to support you through the process. An advisor can accompany you to any panel or hearing, if you’d like them to. You can email us on advice@su.rhul.ac.uk to set up an appointment. The Advisor will be able to talk you through the process, how to prepare yourself for the meeting and what the potential outcomes can be. Please bring any paperwork you’re sent by your department to the appointment. Alternatively, you can be accompanied by another student or staff member of College to the meeting.

If there were any extenuating circumstances (ECs) you’d like the panel to consider, then you need to inform them of these either at the meeting or send an email to the email address provided in the meeting invitation letter. You’ll need to have evidence to support your claim, the type of evidence you need depends on the nature of your ECs, for example, doctor’s letter, police letter, diagnosis letter, emails etc. Speak to the SU Academic Advisor, who can help you figure out the type of evidence you’ll need.

What are the possible outcomes for me?

Potential penalties for a first offence include:

  • Reduce mark for piece of assessment by 10 percent marks
  • Cap the mark for the piece of assessment at a minimum pass
  • Award a mark of zero for the piece of assessment
  • Award a mark of zero for the module as a whole

If your work is flagged up for an assessment offence for a second time then it’s treated as a major offence and may get referred to the Vice-Principal.

If an offence happens for a third time it is likely your department will request the College to withdraw you from your course.