Academic Misconduct - Guidance for Students


This page features some 'frequently asked questions' about the Academic Misconduct Process, together with sources of guidance and support.


Important update regarding arrangements for Academic Misconduct Panels during COVID-19 pandemic:

In line with Government advice to limit contact as far as possible, Academic Misconduct Panels will take place via video/telephone call for the foreseeable future.  If you receive an invitation to attend a panel meeting, you will be given details of your options and the support available to you.


Quick links

Access the Regulations on Academic Misconduct:

If you have any queries, please contact the Academic Investigations Team

For support regarding a specfic case, please contact the Student's Union Advice Centre

Frequently Asked Questions:

Before the Academic Misconduct Panel Meeting:

What is Academic Misconduct?

Academic misconduct is anything which is against the rules which govern the assessment of work, and includes things like plagiarism, commissioning and collusion. There are definitions of all these words in the Regulations on Academic Misconduct which you can find on the College web-site and you will also be sent a copy or a link.  

The most common types of academic misconduct are:

Plagiarism:  This is the presentation of another's work as your own, whether intentional or otherwise.  Any work identified as coming from an unattributed source will be classified as plagiarism

Collusion:  working with another student to produce work, in order to obtain an advantage for either or both students

Commissioning:   Requesting another person to write or re-write work in order to obtain an unfair advantage.  At the most serious end of the scale this offence includes paying an individual or company to produce work for you to submit as your own.  However, payment need not be involved and it can also include the situation where you have asked someone (such as a friend, family member or former teacher) to herlp you write work which you submit for assessment.

Duplication:  You can only submit the same work for assessment once.  If you do so again, whether it is for the same or another course, this may be considered as duplication.


Why is my work being investigated?

The College has a reputation for academic integrity and we must take allegations of academic misconduct seriously. The College has to investigate when there’s a suggestion of misconduct, but there is advice, guidance and support available to you at each stage of the process.

How do I know what is being investigated?

If you haven’t already, you will soon receive a letter inviting you to an academic misconduct panel.  The letter will be sent by email only as we are not currently posting any hard copy letters.  It will explain the allegation and contain the evidence upon which the allegation is based (usually the Turnitin report).  Read this information carefully as it will show you where things may have gone wrong, which is what you will be asked about in the meeting.

When will the academic misconduct panel meeting take place?

The Academic Investigations team will arrange a date for your meeting to take place.  Don’t worry, they will take into account your timetable so you won’t miss any teaching and you will have at least seven days’ notice.  We will try to arrange the meeting to take place as soon as possible as we know that this is an anxious time for you.  However, the date of the meeting will be affected by matters beyond our control such as the panel members' availability and vacation/examination periods (which we will avoid).  

What if I can't attend the meeting?

You are expected to attend the panel meeting, and it is particularly important that you do so if the alleagtion against you is commissioning or collusion.  However, if you can’t attend, and have a good reason for this, please let the Academic Investigations team know and they will try and rearrange the meeting, although it’s not always possible.  You may be asked to provide evidence of the reason why you cannot attend.

If you can’t attend the meeting, you can write to the panel and set out any information or documents you want them to take into account.  We have produced a written response Guide which will be sent to you if necessary.

What if I have mitigating circumstances?

You should let the panel know if there were particular circumstances which affected you while you were working on the coursework in question. If the panel decide that your work shows evidence of academic misconduct, your circumstances will not excuse this but, as long as you provide satisfactory evidence, the panel can take your situation into account when deciding which penalty to apply.  

Is there any advice or support available?

The Students’ Union Advice Centre have advisors who are specially trained and, if you want them to, will attend the meeting with you.  They can’t speak on your behalf, but can help you work out what to say beforehand, and give moral support at the meeting.  Their contact details are below.

Your personal tutor and other academic staff are always available to discuss the principles of academic integrity, and how to avoid future allegations.  However, they will not be able to discuss the specific circumstances of a case while it is the subject of an academic misconduct panel.


Can anyone attend the meeting with me?

The Student Union Advisors are able to attend the meeting with you.  If you prefer, you can bring a friend or supporter with you.  They must be a member of the College (student or staff) and again they can’t speak for you, but can provide support and help you make sure you say everything that you want to at the meeting.

I’ve had a letter about academic misconduct – what happens next?

At the Academic Misconduct Panel Meeting: 

On the day of the meeting

On the day of the meeting, we suggest you arrive a few minutes early so that you can be calm and prepared when it starts.  If you have any questions beforehand, you can always email the Academic Investigations team who are happy to help, or the Students’ Union advisors if it’s about the details of your case.

What can I expect?

Although academic misconduct allegations are taken seriously, the meeting will be quite informal and the panel will try and make it as comfortable as possible for you.  Remember, you can ask a Students Union Advisor or a friend who is also a student to accompany you if you want. There will be 3 people from the College in your meeting: a senior academic from your school or department (they will chair the meeting), another academic and someone from the Academic Investigations team who will be taking notes.   The academic members of staff will be the ones asking questions and who will make the decision about whether misconduct is proven.

What is the purpose of the meeting?

The purpose of the meeting is to make sure you understand the allegation, and to give you the chance to explain what has happened.  It can also be a useful opportunity for you to understand more about what constitutes good (and bad) academic practice.  We recommend that all students undertake the Avoiding Plagiarism module on Moodle.

What will I be asked at the meeting?

At the beginning of the meeting you will be asked whether you understand the allegation, whether you have attended induction lectures about academic misconduct and completed the ‘Avoiding Plagiarism’ Moodle course. Depending on the type of allegation, you will also be asked questions about how you approached your work and whether anyone helped you. You will also be given the chance to ask any questions you have. At the end of the meeting the Chair of the panel will summarise the options and potential penalties.  

What happens next?

Once you have left, the panel has two decisions to make: firstly, is academic misconduct proven on the balance of probabilities (in other words, is it more likely than not to have occurred?); and secondly, if so, what penalty should they impose.  

What is the penalty for academic misconduct?

If the panel find that misconduct has occurred, there are a range of penalties they can impose, from a deduction of 10% from the mark, to failure of the entire module.  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 significant, clear plagiarism or duplication will mean that you are given a zero grade for the assignment.  If the panel decides that the plagiarism is not extensive and that it was unintentional, you may get a more lenient penalty of a deduction of 10%, or your mark may be capped at the pass mark.  If it is a second offence your case will be referred to a Senior Vice-Principal to make a decision.

When will I find out the outcome?

As soon as possible after the meeting, the Academic Investigations team will email you a note summarising the meeting, and you will be asked if you have any comments.  Once you have replied to this email you will receive an email with a letter explaining the panel’s decision, the reason for it and the penalty, if any.  If you have any questions about what this means for you, you can contact your school helpdesk.

What if the penalty means that I fail the course?

Even if the penalty decided in your case means that you will fail the module, try not to worry: as long as this is your first attempt at the module you will get another chance to resit the course during the summer, although your mark will be capped at the pass mark.

What happens at the academic misconduct panel meeting

Sources of support:

We appreciate that an allegation of academic misconduct can cause a lot of anxiety, and encourage you to contact any of the teams listed below for support throughout the process. 

Students Union Advice Centre

The Students Union Advice Centre can provide advice and support about your case, and can also provide support for you at the meeting,


Student Wellbeing

The College's Wellbeing service can provide emotional support throughout the process.


Disability and Dyslexia Service

The College's DDS team can provide extra support and recommendations for adjustments to the Misconduct Process for students with disabilities.



Sources of guidance:

In all cases, it is recommended that you discuss an allegation of academic misconduct with your personal tutor. In addition you may wish to look at the following for further information and guidance.  

Academic Misconduct Procedure

A flowchart showing the academic misconduct process from the request to investigate to outcome.



College Regulations

See in particular the Regulations on Academic Misconduct


'Avoiding Plagiarism'

All students are encouraged to complete this Moodle course.


CeDAS Support

CeDAS can provide support with academic skills including referencing and how to avoid plagiarism.


Library Support

The Library can provide guidance and advice on referencing and more.