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Academic misconduct

Academic misconduct refers to any form of academic cheating. This includes any act which gains, attempts to gain, or helps others in gaining or attempting to gain unfair academic advantage.


Plagiarism is defined as stealing another person's ideas and presenting them as though they were your own.

For example:

  • Submitting assignments downloaded from the internet.
  • Commissioning another person to produce a piece of work without acknowledgement.
  • Cheating in examinations.
  • Copying from a text-book, journal article, thesis, essay or website without providing adequate reference to the author.
  • Copying original artwork, designs, film, sound or performance and presenting them as though they were your own.
  • Copying someone else’s essay, programme, database, web-page or multimedia presentation without acknowledging their work.

Throughout your studies, you will be encouraged to reference the work of others.

Tutors will expect to find reference to the sources of your ideas. This is an essential and valuable part of your education.

As long as the source of the ideas is acknowledged, this is not plagiarism.

How to avoid academic misconduct and plagiarism

The University of the Arts London takes all cases of cheating seriously.

The offence is likely to lead to failure of that assignment and/or unit. Serious or repeated offences may lead to failure of the whole stage of the course, suspension, or even expulsion.

A breach of copyright may lead to legal action.

Refer to Cite Them Right Online, the University’s approved online tool for Harvard referencing. This lists the correct way to reference any source, from books, journals and essays to works of art, computer programmes and web pages.

Quick guide to referencing

Always acknowledge anyone else's ideas that you use in your work by quoting the source of the information:

  • When quoting another person's words "put their words in quotation marks". Reference the author within the text and in the bibliography.
  • In computer software: show where the information has come from. You can do this in the acknowledgements or credits, for example, programme design - A Brown, or Graphics - J Smith.
  • When using an artefact, put a caption against the object, for example, "original photograph by Cartier-Bresson".
  • If presenting an original piece of work based on an existing design or work of art, quote the source, for example, "after Rodin", "after Eckersley".
  • If using a strategy of `appropriation' (i.e. the deliberate and conscious use of the style and images of another artist) - make sure you tell your tutors what you are doing and why. Acknowledge the strategy when submitting work for assessment.
  • In a group project make sure all the members of the group are listed. If individuals undertake specific work within the project, make sure that this is acknowledged.
  • In examinations do not copy another person's work. Do not quote passages from a text-book or journal without acknowledging the source.

If you're suspected of academic misconduct

Step 1

If your tutor suspects cheating in an assignment, they will make a report to your Course Leader, who will determine how serious the offence is.

If the misconduct is moderate or serious, you will be asked to meet with your Course Leader to discuss the allegation.

Step 2

You will then be invited to attend a misconduct hearing. You may take a friend along with you for support.

The panel is made up of 3-4 members of staff who have experience of dealing with Academic Misconduct cases. A representative from the Students’ Union will also be there, and a clerk will record the meeting.

The panel will ask you questions about your work and its authenticity. You will also be able to bring evidence for the panel to consider.

Step 3

The panel must come to one of 2 conclusions:

  • the panel is satisfied that misconduct has taken place.


  • the panel is not satisfied that misconduct has taken place.

If the panel is not satisfied, you will be sent a letter confirming that your case is closed. If the panel is satisfied that misconduct has taken place, the Board of Examiners will agree the level of the offence and an appropriate penalty.

Depending on the severity of the offence:

  • you may be asked to resubmit the work
  • repeat the unit or even the whole year.

All resubmissions and repeats will be capped at D-.

A repeat unit or year requires payment of full fees.