Academic Integrity & Misconduct

Academic Misconduct is any action that produces an improper advantage for you in relation to your assessment(s) or deliberately and unnecessarily disadvantages other students. It can be committed intentionally or accidentally.

By upholding Academic Integrity in your work, you choose to share principles in honesty and respect which are desired qualities for future employers.

Union Advice and the University have come together to help you avoid Academic Misconduct.  We have produced a short video which will hopefully steer you on the right path for your upcoming assessments!

Top Tips For Avoiding Academic Misconduct: 


  • If you ar experiecing personal difficulties that may impact your work, please submit an Extenuating Circumstances claim or request an extension. It is better to do this rather than panicking and committing Academic Misconduct. For further information on submitting EC's please see our EC self-help guide


  • During an online exam do not communicate with any students unless your tutors have permitted you to do so. This includes not communicating via WhatsApp, text, phonecall, online chats and social media. If you respond to a group chat message during an exam, even if you did not use any of the info for your assessment you could still be accused of Academic Miscondcut in the form of collusion. It's best to just ignore the chat during the exam and message after. Keep in mind that some students get extra time during exams so try to wait a bit longer after the exam before talking about it! 


  • Remember that collusion works both ways. You may have written your assessment answer or a draft and a friend wants to see it, promising that they won’t copy.  But if they do, they aren’t the only one to have acted without integrity. The sharing of your work is also collusion and liable to be Academic Misconduct.


  • Ask for help! There are plenty of resources available to students to help you understand how to correctly reference. Ask your lecturers for guidance if you are unsure, they would rather assist you with your referencing skills than have to refer you to an Academic Miscondcut Panel. You can also check out the Library which has links to useful sources of support, and you can even book a session with a librarian for further guidance. You can also access assessment and studying support via City’s Academic Skills team who like us are impartial and confidential. 


  • When answering your assessments, do try to cite your sources as you go. Although it might be a pain to give the reference when in the flow of writing, it reduces the risk of you forgetting to put them in at a later stage, thereby better ensuring that everything is cited appropriately.


  • Give yourslf plenty of time! The majority of Academic Misconduct cases occur because student's have not left themselves enough time to complete the assessment, and are now looking for a quick short cut. Don't limit your options by leaving your work until the last minute! If you give yourself enough time to plan and prepare you will be more relaxed, and less likely to make awful quick decisions that could impact your academic future. 


  • The Skills and Post-16 Education Bill has become law. Through this act, the Government has passed changes that will transform higher education, including criminalising Essay Mills.

    As you may know, Essay Mills are online platforms that facilitate contract cheating. Contract cheating happens when someone else completes work for a student (in full or in part) which is passed off by the student as their own work.

    Essay mills are now illegal entities, and you should not engage with or respond to their advertising.

    It is no longer a moral question; you will be entangling yourself with an illegal activity and you will be providing your personal information (name, phone number, email address) to people offering a service that is now against the law.

    To find out more about how City define ‘Contract Cheating’ and what ‘Essay Mills’ are, please see the University  Academic Integrity & Misconduct Student Hub Page.

Case Study Examples 

(Whilst all cases are real cases that we advised on, a member of SU staff has done the voice over to protect student confidentiality. All students involved gave their permission to be interviewed and have their cases spread awareness to others.)

Case Study: Contract Cheating/ Plagiarism 

"I decided to find someone else to write the programming code for me. There was a website I came across which allowed users to put in a request to professionals, who would do the work for a price and stick to deadline....I was then accused of academic misconduct from my School. It turned out that this so-called professional had actually plagiarised the code I had paid them for." 

Press play and isten to the full story on the audio  or read here.



Case Study: Negligence/ Stealing from another student

" I had a particular software needed for the coursework and I let my friend come over to use my computer. After the deadline I was accused of academic misconduct.

I was so confused, but then my friend confessed to stealing my work and submitting it as their own when I had left the room. I felt so betrayed and angry".

Press play and listen to the full story on the audio or read here


Case Study: Self-Plagiarism 

"I thought I was being clever, and noticed that I had some relevant points in a previous essay that were also relevant to this current piece of work. I didn’t even bother changing bits around, I just thought ‘well it’s still my work, so why not?’. I was then accused of self-plagiarism..."

Press play and listen to the full story on the audio or read here



Case Study: Collusion

"Students in the group asked me to join a call, and I told them where to find the answers. They all then did the exam at the same time and got the same grade.At the time, I didn’t realise what I was doing was wrong or collusion. I had told myself I was just giving them directions.

Receiving the allegation of academic misconduct was very shocking and I felt humiliated".

Press play and listen to the full story on the audio or read here



Author: Christabel Carter, SU Advice Manager 

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